The Masks Are Coming Off


For years, being a conservative or — in my case — a libertarian (no step on snek) in the arts, in writing, in publishing, in any cultural enterprise was an exercise in going insane.

You knew what was going on in private, you knew how hard they could hit on what absolutely minor and ridiculous points, but the public in general was not aware of any bias, and if you complained, they thought you were paranoid.

This was particularly the case when you were small potatoes, or  when what they were doing was rejecting short stories or asking you to change your books.

Sure, I could sense the principles behind it, and how changing my books would make them say something I didn’t want to, but at the same time there was the weird feeling “um… is this true?  Or am I imagining it?  I’m a small-time writer, writing in a tiny-small-time field.  How could they possibly micromanage it to this extent?”

It was particularly hard for me because I grew up under socialist (national then international) regimes, with occasional outbreaks of outright Ocasio-Cortez er… I mean Communism.  This both allowed me to see the holes in it (no, truly, even at 13 or so, studying Marxism in five high school courses will cause you to see the holes) and, once I’d decided I was against it (I was actually fairly left, in the US meaning until my mid-twenties.  Couldn’t help being.  Young, stupid, and raised in a soup of leftists “facts”) I started seeing all the little ways the establishment — educational, cultural, arts — pushed people towards the idea of for lack of a better term “the inevitable certainty of Marxist victory.” The inevitability and echo chamber are essential, because Marxism is not particularly convincing if you look at it.  If you’re sure it will triumph, though you’ll pick up a vast majority of “the scared” (which are way more than the “convinced”)who want to be eaten last or not at all by adopting the philosophy now and being strident.

So, coming from that background, my “feelers” detected all sorts of things.

In my entire — 34? well, if you count hidden pen names and work for hire more like 40 novels, but never mind — I had very few edits.  Mostly the books get copy edited, not edited.

About 3 books were “edited” which amounted to “remove this scene, move that one” “I don’t think this sentence says what you think it does” and “this will heighten tension.”  Those were as far as I could tell very innocuous.

Only two books had rewrite requests, and both of those, had I followed through on the rewrite would have changed the books completely, in one case yeah, to fit with feminist and “race” narrative (they wanted the Masai woman from the first book to accompany the two white guys to India on the adventure because “she’s as good as they are” — which no one was disputing, though perhaps less equipped for yet another culture change — and when I objected that if we took her to India we would get into issues of Indian racism, I was told that only whites were racist), and in another case to have my character LEAD rather than oppose the future analog of the French revolution.  My refusal to do those re-writes, because then the books would say what I didn’t want them to say severely damaged, if not broke, my relationship with the respective publishing houses. (Yes, and I know some of you will recognize the book and go, “but that was… it can’t be.”  What you don’t get is that I don’t have that big a name, and that the house isn’t MAJORITY libertarian/conservative.  It just allows it and it depends on who you’re actually dealing with.)

But this was all done covertly, behind the scenes, and of course none of us could talk.  First because we’d seem like paranoid loons.  I mean, we’re complaining about things no one saw.

Second, because we would never work in that town again.

As this started to change, so did the pressure on writers become more open and more obvious.

This case is… well, let’s say I’ve known more like this than not.  Houses are actually willing to lose money as long as they can micro-manage the message.

And boy, do they micro manage.  Yep, at that level.  None of their “intended” bright future can be questioned, not even the incidental bits, like “a female president wold be the best thing ever.” or “Leftists are always wonderful.”

And no, of course they’re not doing it on purpose, in the sense that they’re not trying to consciously push every little detail of the message.  That would be exhausting, and also require them to be super-geniuses (they aren’t.) I’ve known and been friends with a lot of lefties before the current frothing times.  Haven’t dropped them, though some of them have dropped me.  It’s not that they consciously police every detail.  It’s that they are immersed in this “vision” that includes every little detail of the socialist paradise and its coming, and they absorb the latest directive from the echo chamber. So when they see something against that, they flinch and want the painful part removed.  Like, in the French Revolution book, I suspect someone looked at how I was denying that equality of outcomes was a good thing, and got very upset “no, no, she’s supposed to be supporting these.” probably even considering what I had done an error, not an intended thing.

But that’s traditional, and look, guys, I have friends in journalism and in education, and I know they get the same exact pressures.  “No, no no.  You can’t teach that.  You must teach this.”  “No, you don’t want to report that.  Or at least remove this word.  Otherwise it gives people the wrong idea.”

Heck, sometimes headlines get changed and strange assemblies to discuss some current events get caught (so much of these when kids were in school.)

So here’s the bad news: our culture has been immersed for almost a 100 years in a cohesive, monolithic narrative.  A narrative that moved steadily left, with no relenting.  This is why those of us who are older than about 35 grew up in a world where voicing a dissenting — conservative or libertarian — opinion got you labeled “crazy”and “uneducated”.  If you were denying what everyone knew, confirmed multiply from unrelated fields like news, research (oh, so easily manipulated, particularly in the soft sciences) and entertainment, then obviously you were either crazy or uneducated or, yah, stupid.  This is how leftism became a positional good.

The good news?  The barriers are coming down, the doors are blowing open, and now we know we’re not alone, we know we’ve been lied to and manipulated.  Sometimes we don’t realize the magnitude of the manipulation which, yeah, can be staggering.

And yeah, I know, some people on the right are convinced indie channels like Amazon are out to get them.  We know facebook and twitter and yeah Google are.

I contend Amazon isn’t — yet.  None of the cases I’ve seen are convincing.  Also, when it comes to indie publishing, they can hit a few, mostly on covers and titles, but they can’t do this kind of micromanagement that trad pub does.  Why?  Because they can’t.  Because they’re not dealing with 10 or even twenty books a quarter.  To police every indie novel, every story that goes up?  I would take a massive work force, and not the third-world-country-uncertain-in-English one that Amazon hires.

Won’t happen.  Not saying that we don’t need alternatives, and yeah, we’re working on that.

But that’s exactly the thing.  PRECISELY.  In exact detail.  There are alternatives. Or there will be, once things become untenable.  And as the masks come off, as each corrupt medium and source goes full turnip, people shy away from it.  Not just us, mind you, but the Muddled Middle.  How many people think CNN is reliable anymore?  The crazier they go, the more they make their agenda obvious, the shakier they get.

And when they reach a certain point, alternatives become viable.  Even when we think they can’t.  Look at journalism, which we thought was immovable.  But it’s not.

The USSR had to regulate typewriters, because they were dangerous to its stability of uniform message.  So were copiers and mimeographs.  Mimeographs, which in the west caused only a ripple of really bad fanfic could bring the ability to control information down.  Then fax machines came in and it was goodbye.

The current technology has issues, but one thing it’s doing is making it difficult for the left to maintain the unified narrative and view of the world without which it CANNOT survive.

Sure, I won’t guarantee they won’t win some elections.  Given their amazing fraud machine, they might even win most of them.  And yes, I know how dangerous that is, because it can take us into actual blood on the streets and much much worse, a reaction-regime which is not America in any recognizable way.

But in the end, regardless of how rocky it gets, we win, they lose.  Because they can only survive where every voice repeats the same and logic never intrudes.  And that’s not the world our technology is shaping.

Be not afraid!



311 thoughts on “The Masks Are Coming Off

  1. “Camilla: You, sir, should unmask.

    Stranger: Indeed?

    Cassilda: Indeed it’s time. We have all laid aside disguise but you.
    Stranger: I wear no mask.

    Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No mask? No mask!”

    — Robert W. Chambers

    1. “Along the shore the cloud waves break,
      The twin suns sink behind the lake,
      The shadows lengthen
      In Carcosa.
      Strange is the night where black stars rise,
      And strange moons circle through the skies
      But stranger still is
      Lost Carcosa.
      Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
      Where flap the tatters of the King,
      Must die unheard in
      Dim Carcosa.
      Song of my soul, my voice is dead;
      Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed
      Shall dry and die in
      Lost Carcosa.”

    2. When you are alone with him, does he take off his face and reveal his mask?

      Oscar Wilde of Max Beerbohm

  2. “And when they reach a certain point, alternatives become viable.”

    True. However, that certain point is usually only reached once enough people become hurt enough that it’s obvious to everyone that drastic action must be taken, and taken now. Most of us are a bit like Gandalf, “Slow to anger, quick to laugh.” It takes a lot to get us royally pissed off enough to actually brandish our ‘weapons’.

    There seems to be quite a few of us who suspect that Left will panic at some point and start trying to spark a 20XX American version of the French Revolution. That actually could start this November depending on how the mid-term elections play out. If the Democrats lose, expect immediate rioting. If they win the house, expect an impeachment of the President. I doubt they’ll actually get enough votes to impeach, but the investigation and circus will destroy any chance of government reform for the next several years. If the House does impeach President Trump, then they still have to get a Senate trial to convict and remove him from office, which is even less likely to happen; and very likely to destroy any reform of our federal government for another 2 years. Conviction and removal from office, depending on the acceptability of the evidence by the Right, could result in a revolution; especially if there’s grounds to believe the whole thing was crooked (and does anyone think it wouldn’t be?)

    Yeah, that takes us into the second half of the next Presidential term. Would Trump survive an impeachment to be reelected a second term as President? At this point, I wouldn’t put it past him. The guy is tenacious as a bulldog. He doesn’t ooze around the attacks the way Hillary the Slug does. And reelection after a House impeachment would put him so solidly into the history books that Hillbilly might just curl up and die of apoplexy.

    1. *deep sigh* Interesting times, indeed.
      I liked reading about them in the history books more than I like living through them in real time, but life is what it is.

    2. You know, it’s been interesting seeing the “person A is worse than person B, who is worse than person C, who is worse than person A” that has been going on since the 2016 primaries. (Yes, I’ve seen that precise circular chain.) So Trump is the worst ever, but Pence is worse than him. Except Trump is worse than Pence.

      Cognitive dissonance doesn’t begin to cover that fallacious chain of “logic.”

      1. And this shows the universe is not a simulation – or at least not one running on a 1960’s Star Trek style computer. The thing would have blown out spectacularly.

          1. Well, if the Universe itself was a super computer, for allowing these conditions, would it be considered insane?

                1. Now that would be an interesting topic. Humans being the only thing in the universe with free will and the ability to violate natural laws (Having started by eating fruit we weren’t supposed to touch, of course.) 😉

          2. Grand River Avenue in Michigan? 

            Or maybe the highway connecting the Midlands to the South West of England? 

            Ooooo! I didn’t know that roadways could run simulations. This could be interesting.

              1. You know who else drives on the wrong side of the road? The Japanese. Explains a lot, doesn’t it? It”s an anglo-nipponese plot!

                Definitely not an angled nipple plot, though. (I’ll see myself out.)

      2. “cognitive dissonance”

        Here in Dixie, we just call that “eaten up with the dumb-ass.”

    3. very likely to destroy any reform of our federal government

      My very great fear is if said removal occurs you can remove the worlds “any reform of”. It would do to the US Republic what Caesar did to the Roman one.

      At best we would have a brief power struggle and continue with the forms a la Rome.

      The worst I don’t like to contemplate, but I’ll admit if the Dems take both Houses of Congress I’ll be looking to form/join Committees of Correspondence (there are enough cowards in the GOP and hatred of Trump in GOP higher ups to give them the additional 16 votes they’d need if they have 51 Senators).

      1. That was more or less Larry Correia’s point in his post about Civil War 2.0 a while back.

      2. It occurred to me when Trump picked Pence that he was creating a firewall. If the Dems succeed in impeaching Trump, they would be putting Pence in the oval office. Pence is WAY more social conservative than Trump is. Imagine who Pence would pick for SCOTUS.

        1. President Pence after Trump is removed is why I believe that too many Anti-Trumpers are “thinking” if we remove Trump, Hillary will magically become President. 😈

          1. Yes. I sent Sarah a link to an essay by Robert Reich (former SecTres) explaining how he found a way to annul the government via the shadow and intentions of the Constitution.

            1. I wonder if he includes the “creative” use of the 25th Amendment to launch a “palace coup”. 😈

              When I read about that idea and read the wording of that part of the 25th Amendment, I saw so much “wishful thinking” that I wonder if the people who thought up that idea could actually think. 😈 😈

              1. Yours too? I think the e-mail hamsters are starting the long weekend early. That or there was more than just tree bits in the smoke that blew in last week from OR and CO.

                    1. Sorrrry! Last Saturday was the first day in over a month that we didn’t have horrible air quality. (We were surrounded by fires, and it didn’t matter which way the gentle winds blew, we were going to be smoked out.) The good news is that we only had a day or two of hazardous air quality, at least officially. If the air tastes bad, it’s gruesome. We had two air precipitators running 24 hours a day for weeks. (FWIW, Bionaire is decent and affordable. It’s also louder than I like. We have a Honeywell that’s a lot quieter, but at 2.5X the price.)

                    2. Looks like Bionaire doesn’t have the ionic purifier, using HEPA instead. However, other outfits seem to have this capability for a sort-of reasonable price. We haul ours out of storage every fire season. It makes a world of difference.

                1. Thanks. Might be late tomorrow, as I just found out the same sort of doctor-related excursion that ate today will nom much of tomorrow. Sigh. Nothing wrong, really, just testing everything.

                  1. Yay for first world medicine, where t6hey annoy you by testing everything and wasting your time… because it could be worse… but darn it, I want instant access medicine, no waiting rooms, and… Ayup, see your post above about wanting things now.

                    1. “You want ANOTHER tube of blood? How about you just drain me dry and I’ll come back tomorrow for whatever you didn’t use?”

                    2. I dunno, I get a bit pissy about having an appointment for 0900, and I don’t get to see the doctor until 11:30, because his staff either can’t schedule his time or they just want to keep the waiting room full.

                      I *have* been known to inform them of my hourly rate for customer service consulting… and I’ve jacked up more than one doctor about it, too.

                    3. My retina guy is pretty good at meeting the schedule. His junior partner left in December, but he’s not doing bad at keeping the schedule. Doesn’t hurt that he has a large staff of well trained technicians. And being a sexist pig, doesn’t bother me in the least that most of them are very easy on the eyes. 🙂

                1. Does that moron (which may be an insult to morons) want a shooting civil war? 😦

                    1. It’s not real to them – they assume that nobody will ever go “screw this, time to start killing”

                    2. The problem being that if we DON’T have a civil war where our side is shooting too, we will lose.

                      As it is, we have a one-sided civil war where one side is importing an army and allowing it to shoot at us.

          2. I believe they are working from the concept that if it is found that the Trump / Pence ticket won the election because the elections as a result of tampering then the Republican win would be declared invalid and Hillary / Kaine would be become winners by default.

            1. Could be.

              Mind you, I can’t see that actually happening but then I have a very low opinion concerning the intelligence of Lefties.

        2. Here is the plan, impeach and try them together as co-conspirators meaning the Dem Speaker will become President.

          In fact, I’m going to try and convince Dems to elect Hillary Speaker so she becomes president with a bonus two years on top of her victories in 2020 and 2024 because if she ascends after 1/20/2019 her term would not count against limits.

          Almost put up a troll site arguing for that one, actually. That said, while the Hillary bit is fanciful I suspect the first paragraph is what rabid impeachment Dems want.

          1. The only way that wouldn’t lead to massive violence would be if they came up with ABSOLUTE IRREFUTABLE UN-DENIABLE evidence that Trump and Pence purposely conspired, with each other, to commit whatever crime they would be impeached for.

            Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Trump used some “New York Real estate” type shenanigans (it can be a rough business) that he could (arguably) be impeached for. I WOULD be surprised to learn that Pence knew about, let alone were party to those shenanigans.

            1. Both are guilty of the true crime. Winning the election and actually representing subhumans outside the utopias of dc, ny, and ca.

              They are actively trying to make political views illegal and making significant progress.

              1. It’s the special constitution; impeachment possible for high crimes, misdemeanors, and being a poopy head. /sigh

                1. Yep. And that is the effective law as of most of my life. It is just will to power and the naked aggression of the ruling class and government minions against the subhumans it wishes to destroy. And those subhumans have almost no one willing to even look like they are being supported

              2. Bingo…Trump’s real crime is beating Felonia Milhaus Von Pantsuit. Any charges are merely a pretext to fool the rubes (by idiots who don’t realize Trump winning indicates the rubes have seen the man behind the curtain).

                1. That’s why they are fully ready to use the military, intelligence and policing agencies to make sure the rubes know their place.

                    1. Every nation thats gone nuts never thought it could be them. That is actually half of the reason that Nazi is such a good demonization tool. A normal, liberal nation, arguably more progressive than France or England at the time goes hard statist. Communism is just painted as the peasant rebellions that were unavoidable because of the predations of the high classes. ‘Can’t expect humanity from Russians or Chinese after all, but the Germans? Why they are just like us.’

                      Venezuela, Iran, Lebanon, South Africa to an extent. All of em were for lack of a better word, normal. Now two are failed states, one is a totalitarian dictatorship and one is somewhat synonymous with violent crime (flamethrower running boards, private security convoys, etc). And all of these took a decade, if that, from an instigating event.

                  1. They may be willing to do that, but would the rank & file of the military follow those orders?

                    1. I’d give even odds. Last two years revelations with fib and intel have been eye opening. No more benefit of doubt

                    2. At one time I would have said no. But most NCOs and senior officers got their rank under Obama…

                    3. I still doubt it. While I could see Obama “picking the senior generals and admirals” for their political views, I doubt that he’d be smart enough to be concerned about the NCOs.

                      IMO even if the senior generals & admirals ordered the troops to suppress Constitutional Conservatives, they’d be surprised at the results (for a short time).

                      As for NCOs supporting such a suppression, I think that’s really paranoid.

                    4. I know that folks in his group were selecting against folks based on what they figured were ideological grounds.

                      Usually as scapegoats.

                      I’m expecting news reports on how “Trump’s DoD” is paying out tons in settlements…and then we find out with enough digging it’s for stuff from under Obama.

                      Yes, I, the cynic about the DoD paying for ANYTHING, am expecting that…..

                    5. Having joined the US Army under similar conditions (End of the Clinton era). No. That is NOT an order that would just be followed.

                    6. I’d suspect that fragging would become popular if the military took up arms against the people.

                    7. You know who else drives on the wrong side of the road? The Japanese. Explains a lot, doesn’t it? It”s an anglo-nipponese plot!

                      Definitely not an angled nipple plot, though. (I’ll see myself out.)

            2. Thing is, Trump hasn’t been found to have committed any crimes that he can be charged with, much less indicted on, or tried and convicted. The Constitution is pretty clear that he can only be impeached, convicted, and and removed from office for: “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Punctuation being critical, this means not just any old misdemeanor, but a major one; which means a Class 1 or Class A. Class 1 or Class A misdemeanor’s being punishable by: Fines of up to $5,000, and/or a jail sentence of up to 12 months. William Jefferson Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice, sent to trial in Senate, and acquitted of the charges, even though it was clear he actually committed the offenses.

              1. Just look at past few decades. What the old piece of parchment says is good only as far as it is twisted and followed. Impeachment is a purely political act, just as all law enforcementhas become. We have had what, four separate cases of charges (delay, McConnell, Stevens and Perry at least) filed against reps with no basis or fraudulent ones where the booted badges gin up a false report that disappear right after the target resigns or loses the election.

                The Democrats and a sizable chunk of Republicans would impeach over jaywalking and if you don’t think there are 17 repubs who wouldn’t vote to convict just because it is Trump I’ve got a bridge for you.

              2. Mike,
                You and lots of other people have a FUNDAMENTAL misconception about impeachment. It is NOT in ANY sense a LEGAL process. It’s a political one.

                If 50%+1 of the House and 67 Senators want to impeach and remove Trump because they don’t like his toupee, nothing in the Constitution prevents them from doing that. The only thing stopping them is a political calculation: will doing that cause enough of the country to vote them out / hang them from lampposts. The only reason they try to find some kind of lawbreaking is that it lessens that political cost.

                That’s one reason Trump hasn’t fired Sessions, Mueller, and Rosenstein. He has the legal authority to do so. But he figures, correctly IMHO, that the comparisons with Nixon and the Saturday Night Massacre would give the GOPe half of the UniParty enough cover to reach across the aisle and impeach him. There’s also the minor point that Vichy Mitchy and Grassley have said specifically they won’t confirm anyone he picks, and that leaves his replacement coming from an endless succession of DoJ Deep State.

          2. My thought was impeach Trump, refuse to nominate any of Pence’s VP picks as “too extreme and/or controversial”, and then impeach Pence before the next election.

            The timing would have to be very precise for that, though, as all of it would need to be accomplished within a single four year election cycle.

        3. I saw one speculation and unfortunately I don’t remember where I found it:
          Trump is impeached, convicted, and removed.
          Pence becomes President.
          Pence pardons Trump, and appoints him as Vice President.
          Pence resigns, so Trump becomes President.
          Trump appoints Pence as VP.

          The only flaw in it is that I think the Senate has to confirm the VP appointment in that case, but wouldn’t it be fun to watch!

          1. Which, of course, is fantasy. Article 2 Section 2: “…he [the President] shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
            So Pence could not pardon Trump

            1. Yes, but impeachment does not necessarily bar you from holding federal office. The Senate has to assign that as part of the penalty. Just ask The Honorable Representative Alcee Hastings.

              1. If the Senate had enough votes to “kick Trump out as President”, why won’t they apply that penalty?

                Note, I agree that it would have to be added by the Senate.

                1. Why didn’t that to Alcee Hastings?

                  It would be a mix of “Trump would never come back” and the cost of getting the last 2-3 GOP votes.

                  1. Don’t know much about Alcee Hastings, but I suspect that they’d really want to smack down Trump.

                    Now, needing a few Republican votes might prevent that penalty.

                  2. Because Alcee Hastings was a black Democrat. Different standards. Hell, look at Gerry Studds, who was literally caught in flagrante delicto in the House offices with a 17 year old….. but his constituents in MA didn’t CARE.

            2. I’m sure that in the emanation of the penumbra, that means “even in cases of Impeachment.”

          2. One problem — Section 2 The Twenty-fifth Amendment:

            Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

        4. Pence isn’t a firewall. They can run the same scam on him that they did on Roy Moore, because that sort of scandal ISN’T baked into his persona the way it is for Trump.

      3. Impeachment actually requires 1 2/3rds vote in the Senate to convict and remove from office, not a simple majority. So 67 votes are needed to impeach, not 51.

        1. Never mind. Saw that the comment was talking about adding 16 votes to 51 which reaches 67. What happens when you post when really, really tired.

    4. “…trying to spark a 20XX American version of the French Revolution.”


      It took days to come out in Conventional Media Reports (which have largely but not always been like wading through an ornate Paris sewer), but the (ah) “protesters” doing the latest veteran statue-toppling in Chapel Hill South of Charlottesville were heard to chant, just before the rope jerked taut,

      “We got the guillotine, you better run!”

      That’s not unambiguously Marat-ist, others have used the device since then, but the Terror is clearly the one with da fame, da cred, here. (As well as the unique “achievement” of using it on Dr. Guillotin himself.)

      I’m really not sure *what* you get with avowedly Marx-ist (Defend Durham/Workers World Party) *and* Marat-ist / Terror-istic; but “nothing good” seems to fit.

      Good thing this “revolution” has been soggy and hard to light as a pile of wet bricks.
      So far, and see above.

      1. “(As well as the unique “achievement” of using it on Dr. Guillotin himself.)”

        That made me curious, so I looked it up, and it’s not true. His invention may have killed him spiritually, but not physically.

        1. Nice to see someone (else?) with an eye for detail.
          Not only was Joseph-Ignace Guillotin not the “Dr. Guillotin” who was beheaded, not only did he live until 1814 past the Terror and (most of) the Napoleonic era that followed (never forget Louis Napoleon)…

          He wasn’t even the sole inventor of the machine, or even led (Antoine Louis) the committee that created it. (See “Morse code” — better called “Vail-Morse” code.)
          He was (always) a staunch opponent of the death penalty.

          His family was so horrified at the name they later petitioned the government to change the name, then changed *theirs* when they wouldn’t.

          But, where “fame and cred” are concerned, it’s so much simpler, like all citizens of the Confederacy were stone-cold racists. Of course they were. Sigh.

          1. His family was so horrified at the name they later petitioned the government to change the name, then changed *theirs* when they wouldn’t.

            Reminds me of something I heard once and haven’t verified, but I suspect might be true. Before WW2, there were about 50 or so people in America named Adolf Hitler, sharing a name with the leader of the Third Reich. After America joined WW2, all but one of those fifty people changed their name to something else. (One guy refused, allegedly saying something like “Why should I change my name? It’s a perfectly good name; let that other b*st*rd change his!” I appreciate an attitude like that, and if that guy were still alive I think I’d enjoy tracking him down just to shake his hand.)

            1. Goering is a not-uncommon last name among Mennonites in KS-NE-IA. One of my Mennonite students at Flat State U said his grandfather recalled as a boy hearing one of the old uncles joking during WWII that “Well, I guess Crazy Cousin Herman the pilot won’t be at the reunion this year.” Student’s grandfather always wondered if they were joking or if there really was a closer connection than anyone would admit. The student was interested in the family tree but not THAT interested.

              1. Hitler himself really did have first cousins living in the US. They weren’t very happy with the Chancelor.

                1. One was in the US Navy, and I think there was another in the Army.

                  Everyone is connected to someone. Lee Harvey Oswald left a wife and two daughters…

      2. “I’m really not sure *what* you get with avowedly Marx-ist (Defend Durham/Workers World Party) *and* Marat-ist / Terror-istic; but “nothing good” seems to fit.”

        You get a famine. Sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose.

    5. Yeah, that takes us into the second half of the next Presidential term. Would Trump survive an impeachment to be reelected a second term as President? At this point, I wouldn’t put it past him. The guy is tenacious as a bulldog. He doesn’t ooze around the attacks the way Hillary the Slug does. And reelection after a House impeachment would put him so solidly into the history books that Hillbilly might just curl up and die of apoplexy.

      Mike, that’s a GREAT last sentence. And devoutly to be wished.

    6. There seems to be quite a few of us who suspect that Left will panic at some point and start trying to spark a 20XX American version of the French Revolution.

      I would take anything reported in the press, particularly the MSM, with a very great big grain of salt.

      I lived through the late 1960s and early 1970s. There were those in the press that made it seem like the revolution was happening and that the college campuses were a hot bed. The truth was that most college students, even on campuses where protests were occurring, were not involved, nor was most of the public. But the headlines were caught by the few who were acting up — some of whom are now safely ensconced in the ivory towers of academia.

      1. Also, the Left is not a group, but a loose description. The sight of what would happen to the first people into the breach would put off the rest. Antifa turns into chickens as soon as they are told to take their masks off, for instance.

        1. I am put in mind of a section from Horatius at the Bridge:

          “Was none who would be foremost
          to lead such dire attack,
          but those behind cried, “Forward!”
          and those before cried, “Back!”
          And backwards now and forwards
          wavers that deep array;
          And on the sea of tossing steel
          to and fro the standards reel
          and the victorious trumpet peel
          dies fitfully away.”

      2. Revolutions are not started by majorities, but by minorities who whip up enough fear that the majority stay silent or join.

        Mass media tried in the 60s/70s and while they failed there were thousands of bombings by leftists during those years (some years had over a thousand…see the book Days of Rage).

        Mass media is trying even harder this time.

        The odds may be low, but anyone who does real risk analysis knows risk isn’t just the odds, but the odds times the cost.

        The odds are low (but higher than, say, 1998) but the cost is high thus good risk analysis says prepare for it and try to prevent it.

        1. Oh, I know about the days of rage, I was there. For a short time while in high school and first year in college, I was an activist and an organizer.

          I was the weird one who suggested that a rally in the chill of winter at Fort Dix, NJ were not likely to draw crowds. (It was didn’t.) I had already figured out that most of the people who came out were there to skip school and maybe hook-up. The true believers and the manipulators were aghast. The first did not want to hear it, the second did not want it to be heard.

          I have gotten a bit tired of the people who are telling me it has never been this bad. On the other hand if anyone told me that we have nothing to worry about I would remind them:

          Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

          President Ronald Reagan

          1. I am glad to see someone from the era admit how big a role getting laid played in getting people, I suspect men especially, out to protests.

          2. Hit send too soon. I don’t think it has never been this bad. We aren’t to the late 70s yet much less circa 1970. Nor are we at Burning Kansas, much less the Civil War.

            What does worry me is that we seem to be like the 1850s more than the 1960s/70s in that we lack leaders who understand the risks and are trying to both calm the mob and relieve the pressure peacefully.

            There are a handful trying to calm it, but to restore the status quo ante which is what started at least some of the mob in the first place. Most are trying to whip up their mob. No small fraction of the “elite” are people either from the Days of Rage itching for a do-over or those they trained to get them that do-over. I don’t think it is an accident that we are here after eight years of a President who was an apprentice to former Weather Underground members.

            At some point the mob slips the noose of its leaders and then you do have Burning Kansas instead of Days of Rage.

            1. … we lack leaders who understand the risks and are trying to both calm the mob and relieve the pressure peacefully.

              This is part of my problem with the various it has never been so bad crowds, whether from the left or the right.  There are a few voices who are seriously trying something other than whipping up mass hysteria.  They are not presently getting much traction on the MSM.  They are out there and they are gaining notice through alternatives.

              One thing, a group has a problem when it deals with challenges by acting out in public temper tantrums in an attempt to completely shut the challengers up and lock the challenge down so no one else can hear it. 

    7. I honestly believe the only way Donald J. Trump isn’t standing up front in DC on Jan 20, 2021 is if he changes his party affiliation to “The Sons of Jacob (You Know, Like in The Handmaid’s Tale)”.

      Including the parenthetical phrase. If he just changes to “The Sons of Jacob”, he’d still win.

      1. If there was a strong thread of reality and rationality in the country atm that would be true. Trump is currently in the position of Clinton in 96 imo. But when the media reports nothing positive, any centrist or rightist idea is buried and hidden in the internet public square and the government class having succeeded in making the populace believe that making the right social noises not only is acceptable but that it means you will be allowed to have employment, get money, and not have to fear being destroyed for indiscretion that six months earlier would have been nothing, going full Venezuela probably be more likely.

        1. Yeah, but the other UniParty candidate was Bob Dole, who was even farther to the left than Clinton, if not outright demented.

          I still think it was mostly a case of, “I’m the senior Republican in the Party, and I’m getting old, and this is my turn, and y’all can’t muster enough support to stop me.”

          1. While I don’t know Bob Dole from a hole in the ground, I was too young– I do know that a non-position issue with Clinton is the corruption.

          2. But he could ride the economy as it was bubbling. That is sorta what I’m referring to. There is definitely underlying strength in economy and could be even greater if we were not in such a seesaw mode that everyone had whiplash.

            Honest reporting about economy, especially if it remains over 3 next quarter, and can show actual wealth growth, would make a relatively strong opportunity for dems into more of the older paradigm. But since every story is doom and gloom, with Pravda doing their best work and congressional reps being as willing or more to denigrate Trump and block any move he makes that deviates even slightly from the path to realize the government dream of an enslaved populace beholden in every aspect to their enlightened overlords, reps are less enthused thsn otherwise, indies get their opinions shaped by the megaphone, and dems are emboldened (FL saw a 50% increase in turnout over last midterm and gubernatorial; VA house nearly flipped because of it, including seats thought safe for decades) and out for blood. All it’s gonna take right now is 13 seats (courts already flipped about 10 by redistricting)

  3. It was some months ago already that I saw a picture (“meme” to abuse the term yet again… yeah, yeah, usage changes definitions… doesn’t mean I like or agree with it.) on Twitter with the text: “Is that true?” “Or did you hear it from CNN?”

  4. A thought on election fraud; I may be reading him wrong, but I think Trump is waiting for the right moment to start investigating vote fraud. Maybe once past the midterms. Maybe he’s waiting for the investigation into HIS election to collapse of its own soggy weight. Maybe it won’t be until after 2020 (which, the way things are going, will be a huge landslide for Trump; the Left is alienating undecideds as fast as ever they can).

    And if he looks. If he can get the unelected state to do its frigging job, it will be found. The Democrats have benefitted from massive vote fraud in every election since at least 1980. Not necessarily coordinated fraud, but widespread. Their public positions on the vote permit no other possibility. And if that pustule gets lanced, the pus is going to splatter ALL over.

      1. I suspect it will splatter on some Republicans, especially the type loved by the Democrats and the Media (but I repeat myself).

    1. Trump already established a commission to investigate election fraud. But nothing came of it.

        1. Actually, they did manage to find a few things, such as the NH Senate seat being flipped to D by bussing in about 5000 voters who presented out of state ID to vote “provisionally” but who didn’t meet the 6 month deadline to get valid NH ID.

          Mostly the Commission were blocked by Democrats and Republicans Sec of States / AGs, aided by some Obama judges.

      1. A bunch of the liberal states refused to cooperate.

        I’m expecting a trap to appear under their feet any day now…either they have to show they’re fighting fraud, in which case they eat their own (though not the worst ones, it’ll still spread strife among the different fraudsters) or they won’t, in which case they set themselves up to be caught sitting on their hands when fraud is discovered.

          1. Oh my gosh I WISH I could draw the image that brought up….

            Roadrunner recolored so the crest is cheeto orange, beak stays the same color, body is all gray with a red narrow breast area.

            “Meep meep!” (sound of a bottle top being licked as his tongue sticks out and raspberries)

            1. And let’s not forget Hillary/Bernie/Chuckie/Lexie/etc. as the wily but ill-starred Trickster. That one fits too!
              Question: is indie-animation tech up to doing this, yet..?

          1. Oooh, no wonder they’re pissed at Kennedy and fighting Kavanaugh….

            Also– hey! Long time no see! (I was Headnoises over at LJ.)

          2. In that case, California needs its entire system tipped into the ocean. CA Motor Vehicle Dept. issues drivers licenses to illegal aliens. State law basically mandates that they be registered to vote at the same time, and there’s no cross-check against citizenship. So pretty much every illegal alien who drives is also registered to vote. How many of them actually vote is another matter.

            But I can guarantee you that the CA Sec’y of State will do nothing about it. Watched an investigation (with vehement local backers) re a crooked mayoral race go nowhere and vanish; they have practice.

            This won’t end until voting for federal office requires federal voting registration (to end voting in multiple states), enforced by the usual stick of withholding federal funds or better yet, simply not counting other votes. And if you’re too dumb or too broke to get a free voter ID, how is it you got a drivers license??!

        1. Something worth noting –

          I recently learned that my vote wasn’t counted in the last election. During the primary elections here in California last June, news was released about a “clerical error” of some sort that kept a lot of people off of the voter rolls at the voting locations. But according to the information provided in the news release, you were still supposed to be able to cast a provisional ballot, and that ballot would be counted.

          Last week I finally got around to checking on the status of my provisional ballot. It turns out my ballot wasn’t counted. I promptly called the contact number for my county’s registrar’s office, and attempted to follow up on it. After first telling me that I must have registered too close to the election (which is nonsense since I’ve lived – and voted – at the same address for over a decade now), the woman I was speaking with told me that it would be researched, and I would be called back the following day.

          I never did hear back, and I’ve been busy enough that it’s slipped my mind during the office’s business hours. But I need to follow up on that.

            1. There’s a Voting Rights Division of DOJ…. and Vichy hasn’t managed to confirm a Trump nominee for it.

          1. Wonder if it was bipartisan or strangely one sided.

            One plus of where I am. I agree with most of those in primary so I can protect myself by not registering with a party. It will be used against you in the administrative state.

          2. As I recall (from having experienced the same problem) California’s policy is that provisional and absentee (including military) ballots are NOT counted unless an election is “close”. (Which they define as something like 0.1%.)

            So no, your vote was not counted, and that’s their excuse.

            And that’s why I developed a fixed habit of hand-delivering my ballot, even tho I was permanent absentee (cuz they took away most of the rural polling places in L.A. County).

            1. Failure to count your legally submitted vote ought to be a capital crime; and you ought to be allowed to shoot the skunk who deliberately disenfranchised you.

          3. One of the things I learned during the 2000 election was that whole blocks of categories of votes are simply tossed unless the commission decides the election is “close.” Military and mailed-in out-of-state votes, early votes, etc.

            My brother was stationed out of the country then, and was irate when he found out his vote had simply been tossed without being counted.

            “The system… it doesn’t work like you think it does.”

            1. In theory, it’s only not counted if the total number isn’t high enough to change direction.

              Last I heard, in practice, it’s if some portion of the number (Statistically identified) isn’t high enough to turn the election.

              I don’t have an issue with votes for an electoral vote not being counted if the entire group is less than what would change the election; I do have an issue with “if these guys are inside of X degree of normal it won’t change the out come.”

      2. That was one of the earliest ones shut down by the opposition. But have you noticed that Trump never really gives up anything? He puts it on the back burner and pushes something else out; when he gets the opportunity, he brings it back up with a new spin. Actually lessons learned from the Progressives about pushing on everything, never giving an inch on anything, and slowly taking over.

        1. I have noticed. He makes an announcement, creates a commission or releases an executive order, watches who screams loudest and longest, then distracts everyone with covfefe or moving the embassy to Jerusalem and the media follows the laser pointer… but the work continues in the background.

          Most of the time, he’s trying to get congress to do the work they’re supposed to (dreamers) or the states to do the work they’re supposed to (see reforms in the Dept. of Ed., shoving stuff back to the states) instead of simply doing it himself up front with a pen and a phone.

          But every now and then, one comes out of seemingly left field. Like the way we’re operationally getting ready to move bases into Poland (that’ll be a shock to people who aren’t paying attention to the military news), and the UN dropping tariffs, and the US-Mexico trade agreement, and then you realize there’s a lot of background work going on all the time, out of sight of the media.

          It’s not that he’s not “draining the swamp”, it’s that the swamp is so freakin’ huge, and that actually draining muck is a slow, unsexy job that takes time, even after you’ve dug the drain tiles in. Impatient folks (especially leftists, but plenty on the right) want blood and fire and a glorious revolution that brings about the second coming, but actually fixing an existing edifice is a lot harder.

          Meanwhile, that “two regs out that must equal the cost of each reg put in” has been leaching away the swamp for two years now, unnoticed, while all the sturm und drang flies overhead. And Mattis is out there, scaring the piss out of America’s enemies, allies, and the perfumed princes of the Pentagon alike, as he moves to reshape his military…

          And on the unsexy, unnoticed lower levels, while all the focus is on Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, have you seen how many judges have been confirmed into the lower courts? Yeah, this is the work of a guy who builds things for a living.

          1. The swamp isn’t cubic yards, or even acre-feet in in size. More like cubic light-years.

        2. His handling of the media and the Democrats reminds me of someone tormenting a cat with a laser pointer… and they fall for the same schticks every. single. time.

          It’s still somewhat amusing to watch, though it’s sobering to realize how bone stupid the self-proclaimed “elites” actually are…

    2. It’s been a matter of faith, at least in Illinois, that Chicago “votes” elected JFK over Nixon back in 1960.
      It’s worth considering that in 2016 Trump was elected on his promises.
      In 2020 he will be running on his track record.
      No matter what happens in the midterms, the 2020 election is going to be the most carefully scrutinized ever. A bunch of stuff that was let slide in the past will, under a Trump administration, result in serious enforcement of our election laws.

    3. Leftist voter fraud goes back further than 1980. For about ten years, I advised a nonprofit in south Texas whose board members were quintessential good ol’ boys. Over lunch after an arduous morning session, one of them talked about the “call” sent out by LBJ to create votes for Kennedy in the 1960 election against Nixon. Needless to say, mission accomplished.

      1. During one of LBJ early races a town was courteous enough to not only all vote, but do so in alphabetical order and give just enough votes to push him over top.

      2. The connivances, fraud, and malfeasance of the 1860 election was overshadowed by its repercussion.

        Yeah, you start cheating blatantly enough, and eventually people are going to decide there’s no point in playing against a stacked deck…

    4. Here in TX, Gov Abbott and AG Paxton have been investigating at their level, a lot. And they’ve been finding a lot too.

  5. Yes, Sarah: the masks are coming off. They’re already all the way off in education, and I have no doubt that what you say of the conventional publishing industry is correct. The masks fell long ago in government, especially at the state and local levels. Where they still retain a certain degree of adhesion is in the supposedly Right-leaning sector of the Punditocracy. Kurt Schlichter and others have noted this and have prescribed the proper remedy.

    The salient point that unites all these things is the Establishment’s desire to subjugate us “Normals” in a fashion that will never again permit an uprising. The political uprising named President Donald J. Trump was made possible by the Internet; therefore, their priority target of the day is the Internet, which they are attacking from every bastion they still hold. That surely comes as no surprise. The overarching lesson is that they will be satisfied with nothing but the complete elimination of the three indispensable requirements of any revolution:
    — Communications;
    — Education;
    — Weaponry.

    Alternatives won’t pop into existence like toadstools after a storm. They must be developed. Having been developed, they must be supported by users and patrons. Some alternatives, such as,, and Internet-based education, are available…but their support is shaky, as so many of us, including many who rail at the existing, left-leaning institutions and their hostility to traditional American values, remain with those institutions. Our own inertia, coupled to the natural desire to avoid conflict when possible, is being used against us.

    Considering the strides the Establishment has made even since the 2016 elections — especially its successes at deplatforming popular conservatives and libertarians — I’d say it’s time to put the pedal to the metal.

    1. The key is to own the infrastructure and an alternative payment method as the big CC processors are now throwing their weight and Microsoft is via their cloud services.

      Once you are on the net it might be inconvenient but there are alternatives. There is even a browser that also acts as a web server and hosts the internet in a method similar to the torrent network. It’s early stage but is promising.

        1. These alternates–things like MeWe and Minds–haven’t really hit “critical mass” yet if they ever do. They may be growing–slowly–but aren’t there yet. As just one example, I get several hundred hits on my blog from FaceBook for each one I get from MeWe and I haven’t had one show up from “Minds” (although there might be something that causes that referrer not to show up in my stats). As a result, I stay on FaceBook because that’s where the vast majority of my readers are. In time perhaps that will change, but that time is not now. If it be not now then it is to come. If it be not to come then it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all.

          1. MeWe is rather clunky, too, and it’s annoying to be told “so and so posted!” and then you have to actually go to the page, load it up, and read– rather than getting a copy of what was posted, get drawn over to reply and then get lost.

          2. the guy who develops a nicely front-ended “social media aggregator” where you can access all of the various ones in a single place will make a fortune

          3. I didn’t know you had a personal Minds page.

            I wonder, just in general, if authors could post special promotions or even treasure hunts to encourage readers to search out some of those other forums.

            1. Minds is a cluster. You can see posts in private groups when you’re not even on minds, just a google search. Also, finding people I KNOW are there is well nigh impossible.
              It’s like the competition to Amazon. When people say I should try B & N or Kobo or whatever, it’s because they never tried to publish through them. And then finding books is almost impossible too, so that I make cents from each of those places a month, while I make hundreds or thousands (depending how long it’s been between books)from Amazon.

          4. Good point. Preaching out in an empty field doesn’t get a lot of recruits. Preaching in the town square is where it’s at.

          5. Imagine my astonishment when I looked up’s history and discovered it was ~12 years old and had something like 1.2 million registered users. Where ARE they??! I can barely find people I know are there, let alone anyone else.

            Awkward, cloddy, and browser-specific… that’s what I hate about most of ’em. I like Gab partly because it’s relatively primitive (therefore relatively configurable). And I miss Votable’s interface. *sigh*

          1. Unfortunately I’ve been persuaded to create FB and Tweeter accounts; apparently other curmudgeonly holdouts such as myself have found other people have helpfully created accounts for them, and tried to use them to leverage access into the accounts they actually use…

            Doesn’t mean I ever have to look at either after doing the minimum to create an account, though…

        2. Something somebody else brought up; If it can be shown that the various tech platforms do, in fact, manage their content, then the “We only provide the bulletin board, we aren’t responsible for the content” lawsuit defense gets shakier.

          I wonder if any of Faceschnook’s lawyers have thought of that one…

            1. The issue from the user side isn’t really that there has to be moderation for stuff like spam, malicious files, actual crime, etc but that libel or slander against one party will be deleted but not against another. Or that the moderator side will be used to actually slander someone, call them a pedo, or nazi, or similar. Currently they have no liability for slander not only written on their services by users but also for slander committed by the service through false or malicious reports.

              1. For a while, Ricochet had a really good service that amounted to a blog where the rules were equally enforced.

                I left for the final time when a guy got banned for abuse because he directly quoted what a more liberal poster had said to him and tagged one of the moderators, saying basically “Excuse me?”

                Banned for obscene language.


                And they can’t figure out why people left, rather than pay to be moderated the same as anywhere else….

              2. Currently they have no liability for slander not only written on their services by users but also for slander committed by the service through false or malicious reports.

                Facebook tried to put in something like that, at least as far as identifying repeated false flaggers.

                The blogosphere went apeshit.

                  1. And bot networks that flag and remove anything aren’t?

                    It won’t be a perfect solution. It’s still better than making it easy for the mob, yet the same people screaming about the mob are screaming about a basic measure to stop the mob.

                    1. That would be because the right is the one being defined as the mob.

                      The way this should work is that any user can block any other user for themselves only; NO ONE on the platform can block anyone.

                    2. That would be because the right is the one being defined as the mob.

                      No, it isn’t.

                      I’d know, because I am the one that used the phrase, to describe the activist practice of either whipping up a large group to flag things as objectionable when they clearly are not, or the practice of making bot networks to do the same.

                      The way this should work is that any user can block any other user for themselves only

                      That’s how Disqus works right now.

                    3. “No, it isn’t.”
                      One of us isn’t living in reality. I could put enough links to crash the blog that show that’s what IS happening.

                      “The gentlemen may cry Peace, Peace, but there is no peace.”

                    4. One of us isn’t living in reality.

                      That would be the one informing the person WHO CHOSE A SPECIFIC PHRASE what the phrase meant.

                    5. Likewise.
                      And you don’t have to respect my opinion. We’ll find out who’s right sooner or later.

                    6. Dude, you’re arguing with me about what I mean when I am talking about a technique countering a specific type of action.

                      No matter what your justification is, you’re wrong. I know what I mean and meant.

          1. They are probably Pretty confident their lawyers can both outspend any challengers and if it becomes an issue they will get a favorable ruling from a judicial activist orlaw passed that exempts them from libel laws.

          2. I’m sure they have. And then they all laughed and high-fived, because they figure they’re too big to get slapped down.

    2. You forgot logistics. Without which, your three don’t matter; no staying power for your revolution.

  6. If you’re sure it will triumph, though you’ll pick up a vast majority of “the scared” (which are way more than the “convinced”)who want to be eaten last or not at all by adopting the philosophy now and being strident.

    I was never one to even pretend. This is no virtue on my part. I’m not claiming courage to stand up to the unbroken wall of “inevitable future” narrative. No, I just sucked at pretending for longer than the time to play a role on a stage play (I could be “Tranio” for about a half hour or so of stage time–no more than that) to be something I’m not.

      1. I find increasingly that my eyeroll reflex is almost impossible to suppress.

  7. Well, Sarah, Amazon could fairly easily develop a supervised neural net to read all the books submitted for publication on their platform and score them for acceptance.

    1. No, no they really really can’t.
      What are they looking for precisely? They can’t even isolate “Hitler was right” say, to echo the nightmares of the left, because that sequence might be in an anti-lefty speech.
      You’ve been reading way too much science fiction if you think they can build a computer net to examine the DENOTATIONS and CONOTATIONS of novels.
      SERIOUSLY, that’s insane. really insane. Like “Well, you can have a nanite injection and be able to live forever.”
      At this time? In this place? PFUI. No easily, not difficult-ly. It’s impossible. It requires TRUE artificial intelligence.

        1. I just asked a friend who is an expert in machine learning about it, and he basically said “sure, if you want mostly false positives and false negatives.”

          1. I don’t consider myself a current expert on Information Technology but even when I programmed it was “amazing” what people believed computers could do then that I couldn’t see “being able to program a computer to do that”.

            IMO If computers were able to “machine spot non-Politically Correct Fiction”, then we “wouldn’t see the masks coming off” because the “magical” computers would “keep the masks on”.

            1. Yep. Precisely. They’d just spot too many errors in our manuscripts.
              Also, honestly, this paranoia about Amazon makes us sound crazy AND feeds the left who hates Amazon and wants a return to gatekeepers.

          2. That’s how I feel about “Facial Recognition Software”. Sure, they can turn in impressive percentages, running under laboratory conditions, and by the people who wrote them. Under day-to-day conditions, run by GS6 clerks?

            I predict a rash of false arrest charges and lawsuits, followed by Facial Recognition becoming politically radioactive for a generation.

            1. I can’t remember where I read it, but a UK facial recognition application was running with a 5% success rate. The program manager thought it was wonderful. Welcome to delusionastan, citizen!

              1. Really depends on how you’re using it– if it’s a basic “huh, that guy looks like so and so,” that’s a pretty good result as long as it is tuned for false positives.

                Like using blood-type to rule out suspects.

            2. It’s important that the recent success that’s being trumpeted from a match at a US airport had the individual tagged by the facial recognition system, and then pulled aside for further questioning. The facial recognition system marked him as a person of interest, but it was the check by the security people that actually confirmed who he was.

          3. Flip side, they’re riding the fire hose for content, and they can afford a *lot* of false positives (or negatives) before it starts to affect their profits.

      1. I hope you’re right. But I suspect that simply training with a big pile of acceptable/unacceptable texts might work better than you expect.

        1. No, it’s not. Just talked to a friend who is an expert in this.
          You’d get a million false positives and a million false negatives. Worse than useless.

          1. First order filter, you’d still need a vast army of highly trained (ie not job shopped to Sri Lanka or such) to process the second order take.
            And once it’s known that is being done what exactly do they think we clever folks will do about it. Over, under, around, through, or hide in plain sight. Filters are difficult to set up and a stone beyatch to maintain, all while very talented people are out there doing their damnedest to defeat you.

        2. I really doubt that, given that a supposedly reliable program that one of my professors had us using to do online assignments in college couldn’t recognize ‘x=3’ as being the same as ‘3=x’, ‘X=3’ and ‘3=X’, which meant even if you knew what the answer was, depending on how the program was going to recognize it, you had about even odds of getting it wrong anyway. Once things got more complicated than that it was random chance if you got an answer right or not and random chance was rarely in your favor.

          And I know that the plural of anecdotes isn’t data, but this was pretty much the whole point of the program and it couldn’t manage even that.

          Flipping a coin would probably be just as accurate, possibly statistically more so.

          1. They aren’t. X and x have entirely different ASCII codes, and the ordering makes the strings as different as dog and god.

            1. Programming wise yes. But either the format needs to be identified in UI or instructions or you include the various permutations. Either is doable, but neither is poor practice

          2. One of my favorites: parsing credit card numbers online.


            “NEIN! NUMBER NOT VALID!” (no spaces or dashes, but it won’t tel you what it wants)

            “NEIN!” (you didn’t find mystery icon somewhere else on the page, which takes you to where you put in the three-digit CVV number)

            “NEIN!” (we ran your address through an address validator, and it says your street address doesn’t exist)

            “NEIN!” (we don’t know how to handle General Delivery, or APOs, or US territories or dependencies, even if they have valid ZIP codes)

            “NEIN!” (we’re just going to keep blowing everything away, fail to provide any error messages, and make you keep retyping things until you give up and buy from our competitors instead)

            This has been kindergarten-level PHP boilerplate for a quarter of a century, there’s no web developer (particularly an e-commerce developer) who can fail to know how to do this… yet a *majority* of web sites I visit, some of them billion-dollar-plus corporate entities, fail miserably at it.

            And that’s not even something that’s moderately complicated, like dealing with corporate cards where the name on the front doesn’t match that of the user, and the billing address is a PO box and not a street address.

            [twitch] Not that this subject ticks me off… [twitch]

            1. Phone numbers!!

              NEIN! Invalid format.
              Fair enough, that’s non-standard.

              (303) 555-1212
              NEIN! Invalid format.
              What’s wrong with that?!?!

              NEIN! Invalid format.
              Now what should I try? I know, your competitor.

              1. Bingo!

                And there are existing programming tricks that will auto format the numbers correctly– and it’s dead simple to figure out that it’s happening, when you type in 123- and there are two – then you know you just put in numbers.

                Or you make it so only numbers can be input.

                Or you MAKE AN EXAMPLE RIGHT AFTER PHONE NUMBER on the listing if your computer needs a specific format!

                “Phone number (###-###-####)”

                SAme way that “birth date” will say “MM/DD/YYYY” for 01/23/4567.

              2. Somebody is cheap. In my world ALL 3 would be valid … been there, done that.

                Haven’t done any web programming, but plenty of other user interface programming.

              3. What makes that really stupid, of course, is there’s a couple hundred pre-written plugins that will do that right, and someone was just too damn lazy to find one.

        3. The problem is acceptable/unacceptable are so minor in some many ways reducible to current ML methods that it would be noise. I suspect you’d wind up with a classification system (which is what this is) that works better for several other things than the target of “approved message”. For example, I suspect it would pick up race as a strong proxy meaning Starship Troopers and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress would pass muster but Ecotopia would not. After, it is tMiaHM that has a character arrested in the US South for being in a mixed race marriage so clearly it is good think.

          1. As I’ve pointed out before, back in 1965 when Heinlein wrote that, “miscegenation” was a still a crime in a bunch of states, and not all of them in the South.

            Nowaways people snicker at Desilu’s concerns about Mr. Spock on Star Trek. But in 1966, the question in a lot of places would have been, “is this promoting miscegenation, bestiality, or both?” And people also forget the “decency” laws in some states, not all of which are now defunct.

            1. Oh, I know it was illegal. My point was an AI designed, via modern SJW good think/bad think texts is going to identify certain historical texts those types consider horrendous bad think as good think for fighting fights the leftists forget had to be won less than half a century ago.

        4. I remember the mess when Kobo was yanking books as porn because their computer flagged… pearl necklaces and low necklines. Granted that was three or four years ago, but still.

          1. Oh man, I remember those days. Every second book I saw at the library had pearls arranged seductively on silk. Fifty shades of repetition.

    2. The hell of it is that you’re both right. It would be easy to build such a neural net. On the other hand, it’s quality would almost certainly suck. Now my background is as an ABD Computer Scientist and I’ve been very interested in AI — along with Machine Learning and Big Data recently, which is the domain we’re talking about.

      Building a neural net for this stuff really is easy In fact, here’s a tutorial for doing it in Python with Pytorch Amazon has a whole product for doing it:

      But the other side of that is that neural nets don’t really understand texts, just as they don’t really understand images or stock markets or any of the other things they’ve been used for, and this confuses the unsophisticated. All they do is say “this matches my model to 0.1734776 normalized to [0.0,1.0)”. The model is built by training with sample data.

      The trick is that the training data needs a human in the loop. This presents a real problem with unstated and even possibly unintended bias. I talk about it at some length here: but the TL;DR is that if your trainer sees anything to the right of Mao’s Quotations 毛主席语录 as being fascist, the model will show pretty much *everything* as “0.9 fascist”.

      What those models can’t do is model sarcasm, irony, metaphor, or hypotheticals. A model trained to detect Nazi sympathies might well identify, for example, “The Decline and Fall of the Third Reich” and “The Man in the High Castle” as having Nazi sympathies, the first because of a very large number of quotations of Hitler, Himmler, Göbbels, and Göring, the second because it talks about the Nazi Party so much. Those are sophisticated cognitive modes that go beyond classification problems.

      The point is, while you could construct and tune such a model, the question would be not if it sucks, but how MUCH it sucks.

      Twitter, and possibly Facebook, are running into that exact problem, and being caught on it: see my article, or Salena Zito’s recent run in with Facebook.

      1. Well put! How much it sucks will diminish. We have an existence proof: our brains are (very large) neural nets, and we can do it. And apparently it doesn’t take a lot of SJW neurons to detect heresy. Finally, Google made two demonstrations. Their last go system, AlphaOne beat everyone, including the earlier systems. Their audio stream separator is able to separate the voices of two people talking over each other using only one microphone and a video of their mouths moving. The thing is, no one knows how the CNNs did these things – Google designed the NN architecture, but didn’t program them in the conventional sense. They trained themselves, in just a few hours. There was no algorithm, beyond a statement of the desired outcome.

        Interesting thread, seems to have struck a nerve. Thanks for the replies!

        1. We don’t know if the artificial neural nets are good models, though. We just know we designed them based on a model of how we think it works.

          We don’t have a really good track-record on our systems successfully modeling human institutions, as far as results go. I’m not sure that more information and/or processing power will fix that.

          1. We don’t know if the artificial neural nets are good models, though.

            In the “Mad Science” panel a couple of years ago at LibertyCon, Doc Travis went a bit into a theory that the brain is at least partially a quantum computer. Microtubules in neurons are the right size to serve as “quantum wires” providing a mechanism to affect the general electrochemical nature of brain activity.

          2. “Garbage in, garbage out.”

            If your underlying paradigm is crazy, you’re going to have a hard time making the software do what you want…

            1. Slightly more subtle, there are a LOT of unstated assumptions that folks can’t even grasp to point out–unknown unknowns, so to speak.

              So you can put in “one cake like mom made plus one cake like mom made is two cakes,” and if you apply it to “one cake like Johnny Appleseed made”…. you’re screwed.

      2. That’s why I suspect such a classifier would actually flag things other than “good thought”/”bad thought” much better. The human element can only mitigate that so , especially much given the person likely to take the job would see The Decline and Fall of the Third Reich as pro Nazi.

        I mean, in comics people have been accused of revealing their racism for having Nazis as villains who are defeated. The mere using of Nazis was claimed to reveal Nazi sympathies.

  8. In my entire — 34? well, if you count hidden pen names and work for hire more like 40 novels

    Double tangent.

    Can get get the titles listed on the FAQ (or add a bibliography)?
    What is in the pipeline for indie so I can give you the most money buying it?

  9. “No, you don’t want to report that. Or at least remove this word. Otherwise it gives people the wrong idea.”

    This is a berzerk button for me…..

  10. But in the end, regardless of how rocky it gets, we win, they lose

    While I think the “we win” is still a bit Polyannaish (it is possible for us to all lose) they cannot win.

    Because, as I thought about my envy answer yesterday, they don’t want to do the work. Socialists love to organize and yell and print fliers. However, they, for the most part, don’t want to learn to program computers, build bridges, write stories, and so on.

    We are seeing what socialist writers think make good comics and books. While they might try to claim the FOSS movement (and are trying to control it view community standards) in the end the FOSS runs on good code and follows people who write good code. Yes, they share it but not from a communal impulse but more a libertarian one.

    So, no, they cannot win because they cannot create. They cannot even maintain. They can only parasite.

      1. It can suck for several generations, too (as USAians know). I’ve always taken “we” to mean it might be the great-great-great-whatevers that restore freedom again for a period of time. Doesn’t keep me from working towards it for the people I personally know and love, of course.

        Sideways topic – speak of Amazon, I am truly enjoying Mackey Chandler’s books in the current binge read (finished the April series, starting Family Law). Just barely started before your PJM interview. Talk about “subversive” writing! Highly recommended, if anyone hasn’t gotten around to her yet.

        From a right turn to completely OT – a plug for your short story writing short course over on PJM:

        1. Sometimes I think that Mackey Chandler goes a little too far in his depiction of “Earth Think” in the April series; people wouldn’t be that stupid, surely? Then I look at the issues the American Left is pushing as hard as they can, shake my head, and remember Muggridge’s Law.

    1. The soviets lasted a century, with an example of what individuals could do to in the US which added to the decline of the power structure. Today there wouldn’t be much of an example other than a black market once social credit scores get more obvious.

      1. The fundamental problem in your scenario, and the thing where the US helped the USSR, is there is no one to steal from.

        If you need an easy example, look at mini- and micro-computers from the Eastern bloc. Nearly all of them are clones if not outright copies, of western ones. Just the PDP-11 list from Wikipedia is instructive:

        The PDP-11 was sufficiently popular that many unlicensed PDP-11-compatible minicomputers and microcomputers were produced in Eastern Bloc countries. Some were pin-compatible with the PDP-11 and could use its peripherals and system software. These include:

        SM-4, SM-1420, SM-1600, Electronika BK series, Electronika 60, Electronika 85, DVK and UKNC (in the Soviet Union).

        SM-4, SM-1420, IZOT-1016 and peripherals (in Bulgaria).

        MERA-60 in Poland.

        SM-1620, SM-1630 (in East Germany).

        SM-4, TPA-1140,[21] TPA-1148,[22] TPA-11/440[23] (in Hungary).

        SM-4/20, SM 52-11, JPR-12R (in Czechoslovakia)

        the CORAL series (made at ICE Felix in Bucharest) and the INDEPENDENT series (made at ITC Timișoara)[25] running the RSX-11M operating system (in Romania). The CORAL series had several models: the CORAL 4001 was roughly equivalent to the PDP-11/04, the CORAL 4011 was a PDP 11/34 clone, while the CORAL 4030 was as PDP-11/44 clone.[26] These were used in public universities, originally operated with punched cards, later through video terminals like the Romanian DAF-2020, to teach FORTRAN and Pascal, until replaced by IBM PC compatibles, starting in 1991.

        That was Rand’s argument in “Atlas Shrugs” and I think she had a point. The problem is she is too optimistic about the aftermath of a collapse of world wide communism. I would be North Western Europe circa 500 AD everywhere and with everywhere spawning barbarians.

        1. The Soviets could steal technology, but that meant that a percentage of the population knew there was this tech out there. If the tech is never invented because the companies are hand in hand with government making sure their control is never again threatened on the other hand, it is probably not even a what if.

          You can stumble along for quite a while on just inertia. Give people bread and circuses and an enemy and they will endure quite a lot.

          1. Yes, you can stubble around for quite a while on just inertia, but in the end the friction of living will slow you down.

            That is my “we all lose” fear.

            1. Yep. Most likely scenario i see. Think a lifetime of 2012 to 2016 in terms of hope and progress

            2. For instance, it is going to take Venezuela a very long time to ever recover from the communist horror being inflcited by the Chavez/Maduro regime, with no end of the horror in site. All of these horrific socialist regimes (but I repeat myself) have been imposed by a vocal, active minority willing to pursue their goals by “any means necessary” and who are slick enough to get enough useful idiots to at least not oppose them until after they have taken power, by which time it is too late. It is very clear that the Democrats see Venezuela, Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mao’s China as models to be emulated and I don’t think we have seen yet the full extent of what kind of outright evil they will engage in to achieve their goal.

    2. “However, (socialists), for the most part, don’t want to learn to program computers, build bridges, write stories, and so on.”

      Well, there are a lot of ‘progressives’…maybe not exactly socialists, but tending strongly in that direction…writing code in Silicon Valley. And, looking further south, a lot of ‘progressive’ screenwriters writing in Hollywood.

      The American Left has metastasized throughout wide swaths of society, including professions (like programming) where you wouldn’t have found much of it a couple of decades ago.

      1. And they firmly believe that *everything* can be achieved and controlled via high-tech and computers and their own l33t programming skilz, and are utterly blind to anything else.

        Problem is when voters know no more about whatever (eg. agriculture) than do the l33t coder types, then we get insane legislation that basically outlaws normal good practice in every industry they know nothing about. But hey, they must be right, because computers.

      2. I would argue that the progressive screenwriters in Hollywood for the most part write only in the nominal sense. When was the last Hollywood idea that wasn’t a retread succeeded?

        As for writing code in Silicon Valley I’m iffy. In my experience the people doing and the people driving social justice are thin at the intersection. Work-a-day programming (which isn’t a crime…90% of mine is) sure, but the break through work? People who do that don’t have the spare cycles to worry about pronouns.

        Those are Poul Anderson’s “Men who matter” or Rand’s industrialists. They are rare and the more creative they get the rarer they are. Yet they rarely seem to become and stay socialist.

        1. Yet it would be hard to disagree that Steve Jobs was a ‘man who mattered’. and IIRC he was pretty far to the left, though not as far as some.

          It is dangerous to underrate the opposition. Not all of them are academics, government employees, HR bureaucrats, etc

          1. I don’t underrate them, but Jobs, in the end, might be progressive but was as hard core capitalist as they come. He wanted to make money and more importantly build something.

            Also, Jobs was the marketing guy and the guy who could spot talent. The Mac and the Next might show his vision, but they don’t show his implementation.

            The Woz is liberal in the same American way Jobs was but it is that same liberalism that reduces Christianity to “be nice to everyone”. It may have its issues but it isn’t the threat, on its own, that hard core leftism/socialism is. The danger is the socialist “wouldn’t it be nice” mask is very appealing to them.

            The more the mask slips the less such garden variety liberals, in the US at least, are to put up with things. That was Obama’s genius and the failure of those coming after him (perhaps they thought Obama had gotten us far enough along keeping the mask didn’t matter).

  11. And as the masks come off, as each corrupt medium and source goes full turnip, people shy away from it.

    Alex Jones. Let’s just say that I’m d*mned tired of people claiming that he deserved to be deplatformed because … Here’s another one who was nearly deplatformed: Stefan Molyneux, who is as far away from Alex Jones as possible, but I guess he deserved it too?

    The problem, as Mike Houst mentioned above, is that not enough people are hurting to drive the development of alt tech faster.

      1. FWIW, Gab just got off the Microsoft Azure servers. I don’t subscribe to them, but follow one account. For that limited purpose, it seems to work quite well.

        FWIW, Bitchute for video is starting to get a bit of traction for those hit by the Youtube banhammers. I don’t do video (bandwidth restrictions), but it’s apparently adequate for now.

        1. If you don’t mind storing bits of a thousand videos you will never watch on your PC, sure

          1. In the long run that is the only way to prevent centralized control. Any alternative to YouTube that hosts all the copies can control what copies are hosted.

        2. I’ve been on Gab since it started (back when you needed an invite) thanks to he who shall not be named.

          I am also on Bitchute and follow every YouTuber I follow who is on there. One of my regular YouTubers now does Bitchute exclusive videos to drive some traffic there.

                1. Yeah, that guy…he was an early adopter and champion of for just the reasons we’re seeing elsewhere now.

    1. I remember the guy who said that they just had to ban crazy conspiracy theories, and when I cited the Bundy ranch and the claims it had been surrounded by snipers and put under surveillance, and the FBI had used unnecessary force in an arrest, claimed he hadn’t been talking about THAT.

      1. That was all just a crazy theory and a bunch of nutters.

        And then the fib admitted it was all real. I wonder why conspiracy theories keep seeming more plausible.

        And is loose change still up on you tube? Remember was a major cottage industry back in oughts.

      2. I drove through there on I-15 a day or two before the Bunch Ranch confrontation officially started, and was like — WTF are all these people doing out here at this exit to nowhere in the middle of the desert?? (Probably 50-60 vehicles just that I could see whilst ripping on past at 70mph, and lots of people milling around. I was towing a very awkward trailer, so wasn’t inclined to stop.)

        I’d actually never heard of Alex Jones before that (I live in a very deep cave). He did some stellar coverage of the whole thing. Too bad his usual schtick pays better. Regardless, the banhammers may discover they’ve bit the wrong tiger… word around is Infowars’ legal dept. is very good indeed, and wins almost every case.

  12. The masks do come off, but a large chunk of population likes what they see. And this is the folks that hold the gates of the major routes of information. Yes, CNN has beclowned selves but folks went to msnbc or online, where finding information is highly biased not only to the same mainstream media but to hard left blogs and sites. The din fills the recreational airwaves just as much, probably more. The internet, just 20 years ago, not only held significant sway over the flow of news (Monica story) but was also not built to bubble people and control what they see. Today you have companies with a whole hand on the scale, and not just little ones but the ones that control the majority of all traffic. Want to survive online, you need some way to take money, advertise, and store the information. All three now will shut you off if you are not a good little slave drone.

    And the most likely outcome of any “investigation ” of fraud, given the corrupt nature of the US Ruling Class will be pushing vote by mail and removing the “outdated and archaic” methods by which folks not in the big blue cities can be heard.

  13. Among “those who pay attention often to their own detriment” it seems like this has all been going on for a very long time (because it has) but to those who don’t pay attention but notice when something blows up it probably seems like people are getting crazy all of a sudden. And then there’s the category of “all in” persons who suddenly are finding out that the ideology and persons they’ve supported aren’t going to allow them to be “all in” and will apply ever greater and more refined requirements of them to stay in good graces.

    Think about it and figure, on the social-cultural side, that there is no possible way to win because it’s all positional so just as soon as something becomes accepted, when gains are made, there has to be something new presented with which to identify yourself. Thus we have staunch lefty-all-in sorts suddenly finding out that they’ve somehow ended up on the wrong side of some line that just moved.

    It’s like that youngster, all isolated from work as a child-teen actress, running into the concept of “feminism”, having it explained to her and saying, “Isn’t that everyone?” And then compounding her error by saying, “Maybe that should be called “normal” and the special word used for “sexists”.” (She did, after that, repent… of course she did.) Nothing can become “normal” because that removes all social capital gained by holding what is now the “normal” opinion. So it’s got to shift to something less common.

    It’s like any random old lefty liberal anymore being told that they can either comply or shut up but by no means are they allowed an opinion because that borders on “racialist thinking”.

    I think that most people are quite happy to consider the enlightened “normal” of modern Western society a good thing and happily carry on, older folks particularly, feeling good about themselves for their long-held liberal attitudes and dedication to quaint concepts such as equality. Equality is “normal”… which is why it’s not good enough any more.

    Right up until someone does something, or demands something, that they can’t ignore.

  14. The USSR had to regulate typewriters, because they were dangerous to its stability of uniform message. So were copiers and mimeographs. Mimeographs, which in the west caused only a ripple of really bad fanfic could bring the ability to control information down. Then fax machines came in and it was goodbye.

    Reminds me of ESR’s Destroying the middle ground 2nd Amendment parable. The Bill of Rights really does all hang together; we need them all.

    1. Good time for a reminder that the Democrats when they controlled the Senate under Obama voted in lockstep to effectively repeal the Bill of Rights. They are going all in on the individuals have no rights but what the state deigns to allow them to have credo and I expect them to push this again as soon as they have the opportunity.

  15. Charles, the trick is to train your neural net with the same technique Google made its bones with (works cited) rather than just with internal contents. It’s far from perfect but for SJW purposes you don’t care about false positives–that’s just necessary breakage, and serves to make everyone self-censor all the more. Since the ultimate goal is to destroy civilization, losing the audience is a feature rather than a bug.

    Of course Pandora where you train it to your own tastes works much better than Amazon’s, “you might also like this,” so maybe there’s hope.

  16. The real problem is to use the Reagan break-up-the-phone-company monopoly solution rather than the government control solution. I fear the temptation is to do government control and that only prevents monopolies from failing from their own weight.

  17. You knew what was going on in private, you knew how hard they could hit on what absolutely minor and ridiculous points, but the public in general was not aware of any bias, and if you complained, they thought you were paranoid.

    Funny, ennit, that when a Leftist complains about the least bit of “bias” in the system the complaint is cause for Federal investigation, for Reform, for an end to exploitation and oppression. But should a Conservative point out a slant of the table it is evidence of paranoia, of defense of “privilege” and of hostility to traditionally oppressed peoples (aka, what Thomas Sowell defined as “mascots” of the Powers The Be.)

  18. when it comes to indie publishing, they can hit a few, mostly on covers and titles, but they can’t do this kind of micromanagement that trad pub does.

    The algorithms for that are not yet deployable. Wait until they’re fully weaponized. And, should you complain, should you push back, the algorithms for that will dispose of you as they did Salena Zito’s questioning of Facebook’s memory-holing of her recent column.

  19. Speaking of “masks coming off” has anyone seen the latest from

    Thomas Paine unmasks himself in a bit….

  20. This writer has noticed the problem, albeit imperfectly:

    “…publishing houses insist on using identity politics to try to ‘move the merch’. And you read that right – intersectional feminism and mandated racial diversity are marketing and branding strategies, not politics.

    No wonder sales of literary fiction around the world have fallen off a cliff.

    It’s worth noting other writing genres are fine, too – science fiction, crime, fantasy, thrillers, romance – these are selling better than ever…”

    1. Soros doesn’t care. He has money to burn. Also, IMO (and I gather there’s some evidence of this) much of the money he puts forth to these causes isn’t his own, but rather, he’s a conduit for Saudi funding. And take note that one of Twitter’s major stockholders is a Saudi prince.

  21. Well, more good news is that people are rebelling against Big Social Media to the point where the Senate has noticed. Even their own employees are revolting (insert your own Mel Brooks joke here). Also, I like how the young socialists are saying that the old socialists aren’t socialist enough. Even other liberals don’t like the “new” Democratic Socialists.

  22. “…because I grew up under socialist … regimes, with occasional outbreaks of outright… Communism. This… allowed me to see the holes in it… studying Marxism in five high school courses will cause you to see the holes…”

    This isn’t exactly a subtle point, but it deserves even more emphasis. Which I can restate, based on my own complementary experience, this way:

    *Even in its own internal terms,* Marxism doesn’t make coherent sense.

    Which makes it trans-logical… a matter of faith, or of cult-like dogma. I’ve literally *never* run across any other secular, political system like that.

    Once upon a time in the middle of the Reagan Revolution and the Fall of Communism, going to college and early graduate school, hanging out with the editor/founder of the local campus conservative/libertarian rag and listening to speeches by people like Walter Williams — I was also in the last stages of looking at the Other Side of things. Small is Beautiful. Soft Energy Paths. Reading Ivan Illich, who predicted the “ACA mandate” as something he called a “radical monopoly” in which *you had to buy* medical care. Etc.
    Just to see if they’d found anything I’d missed.

    (It was a beautiful present there/then, with a most promising future ahead, and I miss it greatly.)

    The “inevitability of Marxism” didn’t survive in this environment; but it still did seem like a good idea to figure out where it had gone wrong (back when at least the *visible* parts of Mainstream Culture *seemed* to see and accept the obvious, though in Sarah’s part of the world they obviously *never* did.).
    Especially given its multi-dozenty-millions total body count.

    I understood the right-libertarianism, or anarcho-capitalism, of people like David Friedman. I sort-of understood the left-libertarianism of people like Ursula LeGuin in “The Dispossessed” — there was a big gap where the works should have fit, on that one, but it was at least still logical in its own terms.

    But Marxism, as told by Marxists, hasn’t *ever* made sense to me. Yet.

    There was one book, by a *non-Marxist* (I blush to say I can’t remember who), that finally did the trick. It (he) explained the underpinnings of Marxism in terms of assumptions like the “Iron Law of Wages” — that are supposed to be real observations or dynamical inevitabilities, but are really only… fair to bad guesses. Usually (?) based on biased data or wishful thinking.
    (Will wages *always* drop, and *all* profit go to owners and managers? What about trade unions and strikes? What about employee ownership..?)
    Like the old cartoon says, “…and then a miracle occurs…” Really.

    It’s not a good proof. It’s not even a bad proof. It’s a confession of faith.

    And that actually helps explain their half-decade-later denial of the Fall of Communism, *and the truth that falling Iron Curtain laid bare.* All the way back to Marx, all the way forward to then or now, Marx-ism has always been as much or more about substituting dogma for reality than accepting and working with (or if and only if unavoidable, against) visible reality.

    Their faith has *always* defied reailty. While it stands, then, it likely ever will.

    This subclinical insanity can be bad for us, but its blind spots can be very bad for them. Objectivity can be a decisive strategic advantage.
    If we keep it and use it.

    And time permitting, I’d love to hear Sarah’s take on this very different, but still as far as I can tell non-contradictory, experience… back when “my” little corner of the world was a lot bigger and more secure.

    [And I keep forgetting to congratulate you on finishing (your part of) Julie Shackleford’s Very Own Monster Adventure, a.k.a. Guardian. Really looking forward to that one…]

      1. More than “largely” would be… strange, surprising, and/or suspicious, given our massive divergence of viewing angles on the same ugly, plague-ridden elephant. (Suspicious, as in ‘what are we both still missing?’)

        And unless I do something about it in the near-ish hopefully more sane future, feel free to write “Yankee Doodle, Early American Deplorable” too.
        The original, unadulterated, British-side *meaning* of that song..!

      1. Socialism is a religion, but it is not atheist. Why? Inevitable historical forces are functionally spirits. While by ancestry, Socialism is most likely an heresy of Christianity, the nitty gritty of the bulk of the theology is animism as applied to abstract concepts.

        When Marx was active, the idea of math as a mystical avenue to truth was apparently still in vogue among mathematicians.

        So his animistic thinking with a grab bag of ideas about economics and history was not so obviously ridiculous then. Then the Soviets evolved a a compelling ritual set for propitiating the spirits of the economic historic forces. “It’s okay to embrace these behaviors that break human minds and spirits, because we are paying a price to achieve utopia.” A compelling persistent religion must offer an attractive reward for a price that seems appropriate.

      2. It’s pretty hard to come up with any definition of “religion” that also excludes Marxism or Communism.

    1. Or to nutshell it: Marxists (in every form) don’t love the working man or the poor; they just hate the rich.

      In fact, that can be generalized to every sort of radical. (Feminists don’t love women; they just hate men. Animal rightists don’t love animals, they just hate people. Add your own!)

  23. Total Tangent, but has B&N entered terminal Borders phase?

    Coupon frequency has been rising to get us into the store and buying, hoping the coupon will loss lead on the 10 other books I’ll buy. That used to work, but late Borders with a 30% weekly only sold me the loss leader and Borders had a better selection than B&N at the time and B&N’s selection has only gotten worse.

    Yesterday I got this email: “50% Off! Our First-Ever Book Haul Blowout Starts Today!”. 50% off 150 select books (not books you select). Checking it out most are recent big push books like Albright’s warning about fascism (ie, Trump), Bill Clinton’s book with James Patterson (ie, something by a ghost writer from a Patterson outline with Clinton’s name on the cover), Trevor Noah’s book, and lots of literary with pastel covers that cause my testosterone to drop.

    In fairness there is at least one Brad Thor, but the whole thing reaps of “this is what we bought on push and the quarter ends in a month and we’re broke”.

    So, are we in the terminal “discounts to even pretend to have sales” phase at B&N?

    1. May be where you are.  I have found incredible local sections at a few B&Ns when I was traveling a lot.  (The one I visited in Albuquerque, NM comes to mind as particularly notable.)  The Borders locally always had a far better selection of Manga.  The best craft book selection in my area were found in Borders, but the B&N off Tower Road in Asheville had the best.  (I have not visited in a while, so I don’t know if this remains the case.)

    2. They’re getting close. The final indicator is when they have trouble paying suppliers. Once you get to that point, it’s almost impossible to pull out of the death spin.

      1. Usual terms used to be Net 30. During the Obama years, a lot of big businesses went Net 60, or even Net 90 “we owe you so much money, you’ll dance to *our* tune if you ever want to see any of it!)

        There’s Net-whatever, and then there’s “late”, and then there’s “so late word starts leaking out”, and then “our lawyers are contacting your lawyers.” And when it gets to court, it usually ends badly for all parties.

  24. “It would take a massive work force, and not the third-world-country-uncertain-in-English one that Amazon hires.”

    Actually, they don’t have to hire ANYONE. Look up “crowdsourcing”, and then review how they were able to, for example, go through Sarah Palin’s records / e-mails as governor when someone put them out there. All you need is an easy way for your crowd to report. Amazon has these things called reviews, and if enough of the SJWs who attend colleges all across the nation detect “badthink” —- you too can commit TOS violations. Sure, Amazon might fix it. They might take a while…..

    1. The only way to do something about it is to force them to define exactly what the standards are, and how they intend to apply them to EVERYONE.

    2. That’s how Vox Day has returned fire on people who tried to start trouble with him. He simply gives what information he has – often little more than an IP address and a handle – and sometimes it’s only hours before the Vile Faceless Minions have everything from their baby pictures to their boss’s phone number.

      “It is hard to defend against a highly distributed enemy.”


    Night of the Demon
    By Richard Fernandez August 29, 2018
    If anyone thought the 2016 revolt against the institutions was transient recent events may force a reconsideration. Instead of dying down open political war now permanently grips Washington. Abroad, time has healed no wounds; immigration issues have not dissipated in Europe, on the contrary riots are rocking Germany The British are still rushing bald-headed toward Brexit with all the incalculable consequences that entails. What can’t be happening is…

      1. As do I

        You’ll get the reference when I say I have Three Conjectures about the Left. 😉

        1. I find it interesting other people didn’t find the article clear. It not only was clear to me, it’s something that’s worried me lately.
          I’m wondering if ‘m the crazy one or everyone else is.

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