Storm Incoming.

I’m sorry guys, there’s a snow storm coming, we’re woefully low on litter and food, and I have to go take care of the immediate issues first.

Some news of interest:

WATCH: Hong Kong Police Pulls Revolver, Shoots Protestor in Chest

And REMEMBER that totalitarianism makes you stupid. Our would-be-ruling classes are halfway there:

China demands Trump veto bills on Hong Kong

But our president apparently agrees with me that we should show them our middle fingers:

Trump Expected to Sign Hong Kong Bill Despite China Threats

I hope Queen Elizabeth has the same intestinal fortitude, but in let’s control all the things Great Britain, who knows?

‘This is our darkest hour’: students at Queen Elizabeth School ask British monarch for help during Hong Kong’s anti-government protest crisis

At least Hong Kong is showing that this is not just a few “crazy” protesters. And btw if one more pseudo conservative (US mode) comes to my FB page or blog to tell me that, I’m going to go full Hulk on them. Because while I realize some of them really want to be dictactors, they should learn to disguise it a bit better. BE the America Hong Kong thinks you are. At least for a day.

Hong Kong District Council election: Pro-democracy candidates win majority of seats, as pro-Beijing camp suffers historic defeat

UPDATE: but but but, if we don’t trade with China we miss on their wonderful culture. Look, yeah, I take some of this is because they feel the wheels are coming off (and no it’s not Trump’s fault. Though it might be to Trump’s credit) but I heard of stuff like this for decades. Perhaps not as numerous or extreme, but still…  Different cultures are different. And no, not all of them are as capable of giving everyone in them a decent living or a fair deal. (Also, Boing Boing is confused. This stuff is happening even to those who never asked for a discount. It’s like their cloning other people’s reviews, somehow on Amazon. if there’s a way, they’ll exploit it, because that’s how things are done. Period. They were putting cement in capsules that were supposed to contain heart medicine 14 or 15 years ago.)

Before you ask your Chinese factory for a discount, make sure you won’t be kidnapped and/or have your product cloned


Because we KNOW a lot of people in Freedom choose to compound with evil. Look at our journalistic class and what they hid:

Holodomor Memorial Day in Ukraine and Around the Globe

How Stalin Hid Ukraine’s Famine From the World

And kindly remember that even if communists (and socialists) don’t intend to kill you, they always do, and make you miserable in the interim. I’m not going to link on Venezuela and famine in one of the world’s most fertile countries because I have to go get cat litter. But you can look it up.

However, here is this from the old Soviet Union:

How A Russian’s Grocery Store Trip In 1989 Exposed The Lie Of Socialism

Even in Europe their “soft” socialism (subsidized by US tax payers who protected them from the USSR and reality. And made them hate the US. Remember Heinlein the thing about many words for “thank you” all implying a degree of resentment? Like that.) is killing them. There is a sense of closed horizons, and they’re not having children.  Partly because socialism teaches you to hate yourself and feel guilty for eveyrthing you are and everything you have and there is no hope of redemption. Who’d bring children into that world.  Also, sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.

So, as we enter an election year, consider Hong Kong. Consider that in the entire history of attempts from the 20th and 21st century there isn’t a SINGLE example of collectivism done right. Not among humans.

Then think on how to vote as if your life depended on it. It just might.

170 thoughts on “Storm Incoming.

  1. And kindly remember that even if communists (and socialists) don’t intend to kill you, they always do, and make you miserable in the interim.

    “Good Intentions” have killed enough people over the past century to sully the entire concept of meaning well.

    Give me the robbiest robber baron that ever robbered any day of the week. He will at least have the basic decency to be honest about it.

    1. … even if communists (and socialists) don’t intend to kill you, they always do

      Good intentions are not amelioration for bad results.

      The important thing is that they do not much mind if their schemes result in what Stalin referred to as “statistics.” They will bring about Heaven on this Earth if it kills them us.

      1. It’s like the (paraphrased) quote from Rand: “If someone demands trust they are trying to swindle you.”.

        When someone starts going off about their good intentions they are trying to distract you, and probably themselves, from something evil. Inadvisable to draw on them immediately, but you should expect the knife.

      2. Good intentions are a smoke screen in direct proportion to how much they are trumpeted.

        The lowest “my intentions are good people” invariably do not live like they are pushing those they are trying to “help” live. That lack of alignment tells me more about their motives than anything that comes out of their mouth.

        1. Exactly.

          It’s not that they have good intentions– it’s that their behavior is so bad they have to inform you that they mean well, because you sure aren’t going to figure out otherwise.

          1. Yeah, well, their form of ‘good intentions’ is yelling at you that this is for the ‘good’ considered good only by those who mistake themselves as ‘our betters’ while trying to take our freedoms away.

            Aside: China’s really leaning HARD on Australia to side against the US from the news over here. (from a news channel that is considered very right wing in Australia.)

    2. That’s like a quote from one of my stories:

      “A lot of people would. They’d sell their souls for that kind of power, and use it without a care for the cost. Especially the hypocrites that would claim they’re doing it ‘for the greater good’. You’ll never see anything more diabolical than some idealist creating the perfect world. Give me an honest tyrant any day.”

      1. Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

        C. S. Lewis

        1. Of course, folks do tend to interpret “tyranny” rather broadly– forgetting the whole “cruel” and “unfair” aspects in favor of the “I dislike it, therefore it is bad.”

          Which hits on something else Lewis said. 😉

        2. When the foundational underlying premise of a philosophy considers humans as eggs and the objective omelets-on-earth, the only question is at what speed the shells pile up.

      1. Over the years it seems I’ve never seen a road so well-paved and lightly graded. Whatever else one says about them it would appear good intentions rarely develop potholes.

    3. “Good Intentions” have killed enough people over the past century to sully the entire concept of meaning well.

      Nah, that’s just the same flaw.

      “Meaning well” is in almost all cases a NEEDFUL thing– it’s just not sufficient, you have to also do the work needed to give evidence, in as much as possible.

      It’s like a rather toxic re-framing of the “faith vs works” discussion– faith without works is dead, “good intentions” without the work to get those results as best you can is just cheap grace.

      1. A needful thing… perhaps.

        It is nice to have people following good motives rather than bad. And, in theory, someone with good motives is more likely to look for methods with good outcomes than someone without those motives.

        But that hasn’t been the story of the last couple hundred years. The dominant forces of that time have been:

        1. People operating on base (or “base” as the case may be) motives slowly dragging the entire world kicking, screaming, and condemning into a situation where people don’t starve to death. Or die in childbirth.

        2. People proclaiming charity and honestly meaning it either directly causing civilization scale disasters, or giving cover for monsters to get in power who then create civilization scale disasters.

        The effect is far more muted at smaller scales. But even at the very smallest individual scale people still routinely destroy others with good intentions. Scale that up nice and big and you can create true hell on earth.

        1. You’re assuming that the folks screaming they have good intentions, rather than that they want cheap grace.

          There have been a LOT of folks who did good, with good intentions, and just wanted good to come of it– not just to be regarded as good.
          Norman Borlaug, untold thousands of emergency responders, the Righteous Among the Nations, hell even that felon I linked just in the last hour or two who saved a cop.

          They had good intentions.

          They just didn’t declare they had good intentions, and then expect people to reward them for the claim rather than for results.

          Your false choice is cynical bullshit that was old back when I was a teen.

          1. Your false choice is cynical bullshit that was old back when I was a teen.

            I’d say that you are putting words in my mouth, but I don’t even know what point you are arguing.

            You’re assuming that the folks screaming they have good intentions, rather than that they want cheap grace.

            We come to an interesting and deeply amusing situation where I of all people have to ask:

            Just how sheltered are you that you think frequent horrible results from good intentions means it had to be the liar brigade?

            If only it were just the liar brigade! We would be so much better off in so many different ways.

            1. In the face of a range of objective examples of folks who had good intentions, and worked to reach them, and did, you just merrily glide over it to insist your conclusion is true.

              1. Because I never said that good intentions precluded good results. Your examples had nothing to do with the point.

                As far as I can tell you seem to be arguing that any time bad results show up it must have have been people lying about having good intentions. But the miscommunications are on the order of the autist-vs-neurotypical stereotype so I don’t know. I’m not sure I’d trust “2+2=4” to come out right in a round trip.

        2. “Good intentions” only matter when accused of crime, in which case being able to persuasively demonstrate absence of mens rea constitutes a valid defense. Otherwise the intentions are largely irrelevant.

          To cite Adam Smith, ‘it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest.’”

          It is pleasant if my butcher likes me, but it is more important that he fear loss of my custom or, even more, the risk of a suit for selling tainted sausage.

          1. Shooting someone provides a good set of examples:

            Shoot at someone with intent and miss: attempted murder.

            Shoot at an innocent with intent and kill them: murder.

            Shoot at someone attacking you and kill them: justifiable homicide.

            Shoot at someone because you you were a dumbass who doesn’t know basic firearms safety: negligent discharge, possibly manslaughter.

            There are two different factors involved: is the target dead? what was the reason for shooting them? Both are relevant, but for completely different reasons, and they don’t influence each other (or shouldn’t).

            It doesn’t become non-murder because you missed. And the person isn’t alive because you didn’t know it was loaded.

      2. I’m ever less convinced that “meaning well” is the least bit needful in most cases. It seems SO self-evident that I don’t think we question it, but I’m almost never surprised any more when it’s not true.

        People do well for other people constantly while not having the least motivation to do well for other people. Doing well for other people is a nice warm fuzzy after the fact, but usually whatever people do isn’t about other people at all.

        1. Look outside of Christian cultures.

          Just like the idea of all humans being people, and all people having basic worth, is internalized– the idea of some basic level of good intentions is baked into our culture.
          It’s not normal, pretty freakin’ malicious “because I wanted to” is much more normal.

          It’s very, very rare for folks to seriously improve situations without being willing to sacrifice a bit for good intentions.

          1. No. You’re wrong. Most of History is full of people improving situations because that’s why we don’t live in caves anymore. Some cultures do better than others but the truly dysfunctional don’t live for long.

            Sacrificing for others is rare. In fact, that’s in the bible too, to point out how shocking it was that Christ was willing to die, not for His friends and brothers but for strangers and for people who hate Him.

            It’s natural to sacrifice for your own children. It’s not unheard of to sacrifice for the rest of your family and your friends. Being willing to die for your country is mostly a gamble that it’s not going to be you that does the dying. Heroism is RARE.

            And yet, things get better and people do make great efforts to do things that ultimately end up benefiting others.

            Don’t get caught in the lie of altruism, where it’s particularly moral to do well only when there is no self-interest involved in it. Self-interest almost always benefits others if whatever the action is has a chance of long term (LONG TERM) benefit for the individual.

            1. Don’t get caught in the lie of altruism, where it’s particularly moral to do well only when there is no self-interest involved in it.

              Something which no one does anyway. True “lack of self-interest” would mean doing some random thing you have no opinion about, or something you disagree with. Sacrificing oneself for another comes because that other is valued.

              The progressive warping of altruism is just like the progressive warping of “it takes a village”: a seed of truth diluted to homeopathic levels and then embedded in monstrous lies.

            2. *head tilts*
              So people will of course have good intentions to their family, or people are only being selfish when they will sacrifice themselves for family/friends?

              Because that’s what it appears you’re arguing, that it’s not good intentions because they’ll help close folks.

              1. No. It’s a problem of knowledge Fox.
                Good intentions to those close to you are likely to be “I’ll do this, and then they can.”
                Good intentions to the masses of strangers, particularly way past your knowledge ability become “I vill do this and they will OBEY my vision.” (Hear the German accent in that.)
                I.e. Good intentions that help a little but allow the individual to be an individual are usually good. Those that try to bind someone to YOUR vision are usually bad, bad, bad.
                Hence why religious charity is done for the benefit of your soul, not really for the benefit of those receiving it. This allows you to neither get discouraged (you’re giving to G-d by giving to the poor. If the poor fail to profit, it’s not your fault) nor try to make the recipient OBEY your vision, which unless he’s a close relative (and even then) is probably wrong for him/her.
                Forgetting that gives us the crazy people fomenting communism in South America and thinking it’s their Catholic obligation. Or the even crazier Jews who have corrupted the concept of “Healing the world” to be “More woke SJWism.”

            3. Don’t get caught in the lie of altruism, where it’s particularly moral to do well only when there is no self-interest involved in it.

              Never did. (And have always found it to be almost as obnoxious as the folks who need to inform you how they have good intentions.)

              Simply rejected the inverse claim– that doing things out of self-interest is somehow better than desiring the good of another.

              1. ““Meaning well” is in almost all cases a NEEDFUL thing– it’s just not sufficient, you have to also do the work needed to give evidence, in as much as possible.”

                Arguing, as I am, that “meaning well” is *irrelevant* is not in any sense arguing that self-interest is *better*. I am disagreeing that “meaning well” is needful. And working to give evidence of your well meaning is often as not working really really hard to pave that road to hell. Note that “often as not” is not saying anything as absolute as “almost all cases”.

                I will say “always irrelevant”.

                Foxfier… I was emotionally and psychologically abused by my 5th and 6th grade teacher out of pure good intentions on her part. Purely good intentions and heart of gold. And she worked HARD on my behalf to prove her devotion to my well being.

                I’m not persuadable on this. CS Lewis was right.

                1. This is what he was arguing against:
                  According to the Humanitarian theory, to punish a man because he deserves it, and as much as he deserves, is mere revenge, and, therefore, barbarous and immoral. It is maintained that the only legitimate motives for punishing are the desire to deter others by example or to mend the criminal. When this theory is combined, as frequently happens, with the belief that all crime is more or less pathological, the idea of mending tails off into that of healing or curing and punishment becomes therapeutic. Thus it appears at first sight that we have passed from the harsh and self-righteous notion of giving the wicked their deserts to the charitable and enlightened one of tending the psychologically sick. What could be more amiable? One little point which is taken for granted in this theory needs, however, to be made explicit. The things done to the criminal, even if they are called cures, will be just as compulsory as they were in the old days when we called them punishments. If a tendency to steal can be cured by psychotherapy, the thief will no doubt be forced to undergo the treatment. Otherwise, society cannot continue.

                  1. It’s interesting to read some of the Doc Savage novels where this idea is followed.

                    When Doc Savage captures a Bad Guy, the Bad Guy is not given over to the Justice System (for trial) but is sent to a private hospital (owned by Doc Savage) where the Bad Guy will be cured.

                    Then there was a H. Beam Piper story (IIRC Time Crime) where a politician is involved in a criminal conspiracy. He’s given an assignment by the heads of the conspiracy that he knows means his death. So his choice is to be killed by the conspiracy or to turn himself in the Paratime Police. The fun-and-games is that when he turns himself, he’ll face a very agonizing “cure” for his criminal tendencies.

                    He finally decides that the pain of the “cure” is better than being murdered. Unfortunately, the conspiracy manages to kill him anyway before he “tells all”.

                    1. I mean, if Himself thought it was a bad idea (or the accumulated wisdom of the ages if you don’t believe in Himself, decided it was a bad idea) maybe you should think on that?

                    2. Ah from time to time my friend Kimball Kinnison will rehabilitate a criminal (For example several female zwilniks, Kim is soft on the ladies). Because a Lensman is known to be incorruptible they might be able to wield that power. For myself I side with our hostess, and say that if the Author is loathe to do this, then who are we mere mortals, be we Lensman of any degree or Arisian in fusion as Mentor, to dare to assay to that height.

                    3. Our own Francis Poretto has also explored that in his “The Futanari Saga”.

                      Then there’s that classic B5 episode “Passing Through Gethsemane”: If you’ve made it so a man can’t even remember his sins, then how does he confess and repent of them?

                    4. Marvel Comics’s “Squadron Supreme” concerned some Superheroes wanting to create an utopia. (Not in the main Marvel universe.)

                      One of the things they did was use a “mind-control” device to “cure” criminals.

                      One of the “heroes” used the device to “change the mind” of a female hero about “who she wanted to marry”. 😦

                    5. In related news:
                      According to the Galaxy Quest documentary, Never Surrender, the producers were so worried about a possible plagiarism suit over design of the ship that they fort three letters of the ship’s number — NTE-3120, NSEA-Protector — stand for Not The Enterprise.

                    6. They were that first. Then, they were useful because they were an alternate universe where writers are allowed to do stuff that causes Real Changes. Instead of the Marvel Universe where the Fantastic Four gets its funding from Reed’s patents without the technology changing much.

                      The downside is that comic writers tend to go overboard when allowed to make changes; they seldom manage less than planet-scale catastrophe.

                  2. One of the frequent arguments against Capital Punishment has been that it is merely vengeance — as if there were no place for vengeance, for retribution, in the human soul. Yes, vengeance is a necessary element of all punishment, because the state, in standing in for the wronged individual, must provide balm for the soul which cries out for justice. While meting out that justice requires impartiality in order to defend the social order, it must also reflect the need for justice.

                    You would think the sort of people who believe “No Justice, No Peace” a coherent argument would recognize that.

                2. And here is the quote in context:

                  It may be said that by the continued use of the word punishment and the use of the verb ‘inflict’ I am misrepresenting Humanitarians. They are not punishing, not inflicting, only healing. But do not let us be deceived by a name. To be taken without consent from my home and friends; to lose my liberty; to undergo all those assaults on my personality which modern psychotherapy knows how to deliver; to be re-made after some pattern of ‘normality’ hatched in a Vienese laboratory to which I never professed allegiance; to know that this process will never end until either my captors hav succeeded or I grown wise enough to cheat them with apparent success—who cares whether this is called Punishment or not? That it includes most of the elements for which any punishment is feared—shame, exile, bondage, and years eaten by the locust—is obvious. Only enormous ill-desert could justify it; but ill-desert is the very conception which the Humanitarian theory has thrown overboard.
                  If we turn from the curative to the deterrent justification of punishment we shall find the new theory even more alarming. When you punish a man in terrorem, make of him an ‘example’ to others, you are admittedly using him as a means to an end; someone else’s end. This, in itself, would be a very wicked thing to do. On the classical theory of Punishment it was of course justified on the ground that the man deserved it. That was assumed to be established before any question of ‘making him an example arose’ arose. You then, as the saying is, killed two birds with one stone; in the process of giving him what he deserved you set an example to others. But take away desert and the whole morality of the punishment disappears. Why, in Heaven’s name, am I to be sacrificed to the good of society in this way?—unless, of course, I deserve it.
                  But that is not the worst. If the justification of exemplary punishment is not to be based on dessert but solely on its efficacy as a deterrent, it is not absolutely necessary that the man we punish should even have committed the crime. The deterrent effect demands that the public should draw the moral, ‘If we do such an act we shall suffer like that man.’ The punishment of a man actually guilty whom the public think innocent will not have the desired effect; the punishment of a man actually innocent will, provided the public think him guilty. But every modern State has powers which make it easy to fake a trial. When a victim is urgently needed for exemplary purposes and a guilty victim cannot be found, all the purposes of deterrence will be equally served by the punishment (call it ‘cure’ if you prefer0 of an innocent victim, provided that the public can be cheated into thinking him will be so wicked. The punishment of an innocent, that is , an undeserving, man is wicked only if we grant the traditional view that righteous punishment means deserved punishment. Once we have abandoned that criterion, all punishments have to be justified, if at all, on other grounds that have nothing to do with desert. Where the punishment of the innocent can be justified on those grounds (and it could in some cases be justified as a deterrent) it will be no less moral than any other punishment. Any distaste for it on the part of the Humanitarian will be merely a hang-over from the Retributive theory.
                  It is, indeed, important to notice that my argument so far supposes no evil intentions on the part of the Humanitarian and considers only what is involved in the logic of his position. My contention is that good men (not bad men) consistently acting upon that position would act as cruelly and unjustly as the greatest tyrants. They might in some respects act even worse. Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better’, is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.
                  In reality, however, we must face the possibility of bad rulers armed with a Humanitarian theory of punishment. A great many popular blue prints for a Christian society are merely what the Elizabethans called ‘eggs in moonshine’ because they assume that the whole society is Christian or that the Christians are in control. This is not so in most contemporary States. Even if it were, our rulers would still be fallen men, and, therefore neither ver wise nor very good. As it is, they will usually be unbelievers. And since wisdom and virtue are not the only or the commonest qualifications for a place in the government, they will not often be even the best unbelievers.

                  (once I bought God in the Dock and had enough other lines I finally found the essay online)

      3. Also, as counter-intuitive as it seems… the good intentions are the “works”… while doing well for others is the “faith.” Maybe it doesn’t seem to make much sense but tracking “faith” with “good intentions” doesn’t work at all because “good intentions” are based on our own desires and choices of what we care about. My “good intentions” are ALL about me. Faith isn’t.

        Maybe it’s a bit like medicine. Medicine doesn’t care a flying you know what if you understand it correctly or incorrectly, if you think it’s science or if you think it’s magic. If a Shaman does a dance and chant and draws pictures in the sand and then hands you the spirit infused tablet of penicillin, it’s going to work exactly the same if it was given you by a Physician in a lab coat. For eons people did what worked and made up the reasons why after the fact.

        1. Except that good intentions aren’t all about you.

          Good intentions are a goal.

          The goal of doing good.

          Look at the parable about the two sons– their father said go do the work, one said yes, but didn’t the other said no, but then changed his mind and did.

          It didn’t have to be pointed out that a third brother, who said yes, and did it, was preferable to either.

          1. Trying to remember the third brother there. If something doesn’t have to be pointed out, perhaps it’s because it’s not the important part.

    4. Good Intentions are not enough. They will Go Horribly Wrong if not guided by Practical Wisdom, aka Prudence. The rejection of Practical Wisdom is called Recklessness. Indulging in Good Intentions without the guidance of Practical Wisdom is reckless.

    5. One of the problems with Good Intentions is that people have a hard time telling the difference between someone who sincerely wants to do good, and someone faking it because they want something.
      And often times, the second group hijacks any efforts by the first.

      1. … often times, the second group hijacks any efforts by the first.

        Another example of the basic principle of Gresham’s Law at work.

    6. eh, the overtly and wittingly evil are a different type of evil than those in a state of not merely vincible but studied ignorance, but not necessarily better.

    7. In every generation, there are those who want to rule well – but they mean to rule. They promise to be good masters – but they mean to be masters.

      — Daniel Webster

  2. Wot’s this then? An X-Men* comic?

    Important Tip: while emergency shopping always take care that the litter and the food are clearly and distinctively marked.

    *Shouldn’t the have done something about that exclusionary title by now? Or have the years intervening since last I read it seen the titular team become transpositive and now, literally, ex-men?

        1. Noted, they’ll probably add it as another X-Man title any time now, Will be headed up by TERFgirl (Sorry TERFwomxn)

  3. A snow storm coming?

    You must be mistaken. Anthroprogenic Global Warming has meant an end to snowstorms. That was authoritatively stated at least five years ago.

    Typical right-winger, living in the past.

  4. Thanks for the Holodomor links, Sarah. I really appreciate that, as someone of Ukrainian descent.

    1. Ex-wife #2 grew up in Ukraine. She never heard of the Holodomor until she came to America, even though her grandparents would have lived through it. Some things were too dangerous to talk about, even with one’s grandchildren.

      1. They had the excuse of living under the regime which committed these atrocities. What excuse do we have in the free(ish) world?

      2. Not associated with Holomodor, but a great rendition of a folk song now associated with the struggles Ukraine is still going through, such as the massacre in 2014:

        ot: Tina Karol makes my heart flutter (The Judge who turns for the girl) and has some tear-jerking songs of her own.

  5. Something I noted in one of the threads yesterday –

    News is getting out about an interesting phenomenon in the rest of China. Western companies that do business in China are apparently being hit with a number of actions by the Chinese companies that they partner with. These actions burn bridges – and possible long-term profits – in exchange for short-term gain. And for the cynical among you, this is a change in comparison to their usual actions, such as patent and copyright theft.

    People are speculating that Chinese businesspeople are believe that the end is near in some fashion, and attempting to make as large of a profit as they can before they suddenly can’t make any profit.

    Make of that what you will.

    1. Same reason the wiser wealthy Chinese have been buying real estate in the West, no matter how inflated the price — it’s a way to get at least some of their money out of China before the expected ‘correction’.

      1. I suspect there is similar reasoning underlying sending their kids to American universities: safety, prestige, and likely to come out a more dedicated communist and America-hater than those remaining home.

        1. The leaders in China don’t really care about Communism. Sure, they pay lip service to it. But they were quite happy to chip away at it in the ’80s, when they implemented their market reforms and allowed private businesses to start. This is purely about power.

          Communism replaced the Emperor with Mao, and the party became the bureaucracy. What changed is that the new emperor was no longer automatically descended from the previous emperor. Instead, the bureaucrats – who in the past would have been eunuchs – fight between themselves to see who will ascend to the throne.

          1. I s’pose it’s too late to suggest my comment was a criticism of American universities, not of the Chinese “communists”?

            1. I did pick up on that. But my point was that the government officials back in China don’t really care about that. It’s not a selling point for them.

              Heck, if I were Xi, I don’t think I’d want one of those brainless idiots teaching someone who I hope will be able succeed me.

            2. Even “Prestigious” Universities bow to the almighty dollar. For the present the China’s Ruling classes money still spends fine. It may also be chic to have the children of the ruling class as they are essentially the closest thing to royalty. To bad for American born Asians they clearly are insufficiently cool for Harvard and their ilk.

              1. To bad for American born Asians they clearly are insufficiently cool for Harvard and their ilk.

                I think you misspelled “profitable” there.

                1. Maybe so. Foreigners get essentially NO aid. Of course a lot of those American Asians come from well heeled families too so they’ll get minimum aid too. I suspect some lesser State schools here in Mass. would be up a creek without a paddle if their full load foreign students stopped coming.

          2. My observation from meeting low-ranking Party members in China was that most of them believe in communism the way politicians here believe in main-line Protestantism. It’s a way of demonstrating your bona fides to your superiors and making connections, not something you actually take seriously.

    2. Or as I always say:

      “After you give the Chinese everything they need to make your products, what do they need you for?”

      1. No, what you’re describing is the cynical stuff that I specifically noted. This is something new. For instance, the Chinese insurance company that is specifically mandated (by law) to act as the insurer for transactions between Chinese and non-Chinese companies has been hit with a massive wave of claims by Chinese companies that they’ve been defrauded by the foreign companies that they’re doing business with. That’s not the typical “we have no idea how copies of your stuff ended up on Amazon”. That’s “we don’t expect to have an opportunity to do business with you again, so the mask is coming off”.

          1. Local technical managers and mid level execs that work for a certain company named after fruit, when visiting the Middle Kingdom on factory visits, have had to travel with armed bodyguard and specially trained drivers for the past decade and a half. These are paid for as a corporate risk management attempt to reduce ransom payouts. The local gendarmerie somehow has failed to prevent these kidnappings, or discover the method by which the bad guys learn exact travel routes and schedules. Unexpectedly.

      2. Imaginos1892 said “After you give the Chinese everything they need to make your products, what do they need you for?”. Well mostly a market, but given their “I win you lose gweilo” business ethics (i.e. rip the foreign devils off as much as you can) they seem to have forgotten that. Slowly there’s a mass exodus of western companies as they realize they’re not partners but essentially living organ donors. Some of those western companies aren’t going to make it as they bet the company on being able to change Chinese business culture.

        1. former owner of my employer is one of the few people who pulled one over on the Reds.
          They really showed him afterwards . . they swore to never do business with him again!
          He laughed all the way to the bank.

          1. Can’t claim originality on that. Comes from a joke from when DEC was working with Microsoft on Windows NT
            Q: Whats a synonym for Microsoft Preferred Partner
            A: Organ Donor

    3. Kind of makes that whole “The Chinese are SOOOO good at really long term planning” thing look pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it?
      I see that idea posted a lot, and wonder- when in the hell has China ever shown that they have any kind of skill at long term planning?

      1. Not in a lot of areas, unless it was one of the very, very few moments when people were not starving (generally just after the last famine ended.)

      2. The fallacy is that long term planning is effective in a day and age in which reality is being re-defined every decade. Technological change at recent, current and future rates renders long-term planning futile at best.

        Adaptability, on the other hand, is a core American virtue.

        The Cold War sneer, “Russians are masters at chess, while what do Americans play? Poker!” can only be expressed by someone who knows nothing about serious poker.

        1. Planning has a way of exposing how little you understand basic processes:

          Canada’s Weed Industry Gets a Tough Lesson in Supply and Demand
          In October 2018, Canada legalized recreational use of marijuana. In February 2019, executives at major companies producing marijuana said they were losing sleep over the ability to keep up with demand; one predicted it would be “at least five years” before global supply met global demand. Canada’s provinces, which regulate the sale and distribution of cannabis products, said that they were having trouble finding sufficient supply.

          But at least in Canada, the opposite has happened over the past year — supply has drastically outpaced demand: “Canadian cannabis producers and extractors are sitting on a massive stash of unfinished inventory that is growing so quickly that some analysts are concerned it could precipitate a price crash in the burgeoning industry.” Now “cannabis inventories came to almost 400 tonnes at the end of August, enough to cover two-and-a-half years of demand, according to the latest government data,” suggesting the “industry has overestimated how much the country’s pot-smokers can burn through — and underestimated the illegal market’s ability to respond to competition.”

          On that last point, surveys up north indicate legalization did not make the underground economy dry up: just “28% of users claim they only purchase cannabis products from government-sanctioned retailers. That means 72% of the more than 5 million Canadians, age 15 and up, who reported recently using marijuana are looking to illegal sources — online dispensaries, unlicensed dispensaries and dealers — for cannabis products.”

          On most contentious issues, the sides who will be most represented in a debate will be those who feel most passionately about it. Those who want to enjoy recreational marijuana will be the ones most vocal about it, and those who are most fearful of the consequences of legalization will be the loudest on the other side. The apathetic and uninterested don’t show up to debate — and it’s easy to forget how many people in a free society just won’t care one way or another. One research firm estimated that 578,000 Canadians tried and became cannabis users in the past six months. That sounds like a lot of people, but that’s 1.5 percent of Canada’s 37.5 million citizens.

          Obviously the number of people interested in enjoying marijuana recreationally is fewer than the producers expected, and the number of people who will choose to go through legal channels is also fewer than expected. By itself, this doesn’t prove that legalization is a good idea or a bad idea — but it does prove that recreational marijuana may not be quite as popular as its advocates suggest, and that legalization will not, at least quickly, make the existing illegal trade in a substance disappear.

        2. Modern (dice and map) war games were invented by the Prussian military. They were pretty much military training aids until some smart American in the 1950s decided he could sell some in the entertainment market.

          Who do you want running your army? A chess master, or someone who fought Gettysburg to the end, on both sides?

          1. Both are games, with rules, assumptions, and a culture that (generally) discourages cheating.

            Both persons may have insights. Both may also be lousy commanders. How one handles chaos is essential. (Also, how one handles men.)

      3. “grab everything that’s about to vanish and dive for cover in hopes of re-emerging” is indeed a long-term plan.

      4. A couple of years ago I came to the realization that if the Chinese were so good at long term planning and taking the long view, they would be playing Test Cricket, and doing well at it. Since, as far as I know, they have shown no interest in Cricket at all, I came to doubt their ability to plan ahead and defer gratification.

        If you look at the things that the Chinese are good in sportswise, it is mostly sports that is short and fast, quite often depending on quick reflexes.

      5. Of course it depends on how you define “long range”. In Corporate America for instance long range means anything after the next quarter, so if your plan craters the company in 2 or 3 years out it won’t be noticed let alone opposed.

  6. I remember in the early 80s in Cincinnati, I was – as part of a Jewish Federation effort-, helping a Soviet Jew engineer who had gotten out to the US get used to the American working environment. I asked him what struck him most about America. “Two things:
    1. If I want an orange at 10:00pm, and I don’t have any in the house, I can go to the grocery store, and be sure they will be open, and they will have oranges.”
    “So whats #2?”
    “There are no poor people in America.”
    “What do you mean!?”
    “Geoff, people DRIVE to pick up their food stamps. Anywhere else in the world, only rich people or party bosses have cars.”

    1. Anywhere else in the world, only rich people or party bosses have cars.

      Which renders the Uber & Lyft business model incomprehensible in much of the world.

    2. Of course, Americans are told that everyone else is doing better than them on this or that metric, and that the whole “American Dream” thing is a big lie.
      Yet, we’re the place people still try to get into, and not just people from the 3rd world.
      I suspect that those metrics are about as reliable as a JD Power award or the modern Hugos.

      1. especially this stretch:
        1983 AMC Alliance / Renault Alliance
        1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
        1981 Chrysler K Cars, Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant
        1980 Chevrolet Citation
        1979 Buick Riviera S
        1978 Chrysler, Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon
        1977 Chevrolet Caprice
        1976 Chrysler, Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare
        1975 Chevrolet Monza 2+2
        1974 Ford Mustang II
        1973 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
        1972 Citroën SM (an imported vehicle that was selected overall “Car of the Year”)
        1971 Chevrolet Vega

        EVERYBODY ran out and got an SM, let me tell ya!

        1. I’ve got a odd desire for a Citroen SM- and would deserve every bit of problems I’d get with it too.

          1. until the PSA merger they had a corner on the Oddball market. Now they are Peugeots with funny grills.
            Though we might be looking at a grand conglomerate of goof with a merger of PSA Peugeot Citroën and Fiat Chrysler.

              1. The old Van is popular again with a Ford motor upgrade (gee, a near UPS sized van with a 2 cyl air cooled motor isn’t a good highway vehicle? Whodathunkit!) one of those’d be neat, or a 2CV with a BMW big twin, or for a real hotrod, a stepped on VW Bug motor, crammed in would be fun, too.

                1. “The citron (Citrus medica) is a large fragrant citrus fruit with a thick rind.It is one of the original citrus fruits from which all other citrus types developed through natural hybrid speciation or artificial hybridization.” Wikipedia

                  I do not believe that inserting that penultimate “e” means it is not a lemon.

              1. I wouldn’t call either my dream car (that would be the early 50’s Bentley R Type Continental Coupe) , but the Traction Avant is on my top 5 lotto list.

              2. Not a SEAT? ***pops open the carp proof umbrella***
                wait, did your leftoids in rule allow the fascist wonders from SEAT to be sold there? But when I look at their basically re-badge Fiats, or self designs, A Citroen DS, GS, or SM looks mighty good.
                Citroen was odd in they had only ultra cheap or semi-luxury for so long they went broke, and the GS was not able to help matters. First one I ever saw in person was an SM (Silver) then days later I saw the DS (in yellow and white). New Orleans had a heckton of odd cars in it.

        2. I remember my parents buying a Renault Alliance on the strength of the Motor Trend report – and suffering rides to school in it for the next seven years or so, complete with obnoxious rattle that no mechanic could ever track down.

        3. My recollection was that the MT Car of the Year award was curiously associated with the amount of money the recipient was willing to spend on advertising in Motor Trend.

          IIRC, Bob Dobkin (one of the lead linear designers at National Semi) had an Citroen SM in the mid ’70s. OTOH, my brother’s piano teacher had a Citroen (unknown model) in the ’50s. On the gripping hand, same brother had SAABs until 1966. The two-stroke version, no less.

          Not that I can point and laugh. I’ve owned two British sports cars. One a ’64 MGB with more holes than steel in the floor, and a ’60 TR3A that spent more time being repaired than driven.

          1. MG = Mostly Gone
            Back in the mid 90’s, I knew a kid who joked his Spitfire was so solid because it broke so often it was out of the weather all the time.
            Aah, two strokers,
            I knew a 4×4 place that bought up as many 2stroke Suzuki Jimnys it could come across. I wanted one with a 2.3 Ford in it.
            He had one he put a tow truck style crane and winch on for pulling smaller engines and transmissions out on the back 40. It would lift a 4 or a light V6, but a 302 Ford would pull the front wheels off the ground. Someone had to sit on the hood then.

  7. And REMEMBER that totalitarianism makes you stupid. Our would-be-ruling classes are halfway there:

    Naw, you’re giving them far too much credit. I’d say at least a quarter of them are all the way there. Even the average is beyond half-way by now.

  8. This makes me think REO Speedwagon is so topical for our times. This week one of their songs describes our hostess’ plight:

    “Ridin’ the storm out, waitin’ for the thaw out
    On a full moon night in the Rocky Mountain winter.”

    Just as last week another of them described the “impeachment inquiry” so well:
    “Heard it from a friend who
    Heard it from a friend who
    Heard it from another…”

    And on that note, I’d like to take this opportunity to suggest to the Left that they stop attacking President Donald J. Trump and instead “Roll With The Changes.” Maybe a few of these Dem clown candidates will take a realistic look at their campaigns and realize “It’s Time For Me To Fly.”

    1. it seems like I’m watching one of those reality game shows. One of of the candidates does or says something that would only make sense in a liberal fantasy land and drops in the polls. The next in line says “Hold my beer and watch this…”

    2. I learned to hate REO.
      My sis had the platter and played it over and over and over andoverandover . . . .
      (says the guy who played Nightwish Live At Waken twice today, once yesterday)
      here have a Floorgasm:

      1. REO Speedwagon was a popular bar band in Champaign, IL in the early ’70s before they got big. The Red Lion (where I saw them) had a flexible definition of “legal drinking age” and a willingness to serve hard liquor (until they got caught/payoff didn’t take*), so my critical listening skills were not in play…

        (*)Their 30 day suspension was done on Sunday-Thursday nights, so they could stay open for the busy nights. One got cynical about government in Illinois; didn’t have to have Democrat control to be crooked.

        This was in ’70-’74, and I suspect part of TPTB thinking was that a bunch of drunks was less likely to do violent protests. They were right. Usually.

      2. REO never really registered one way or the other for me. It was simply something that was there, which is perhaps the the best. Now, Dead or Alive and specifically “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” is another matter. $SISTAUR managed to make me well and truly sick of that. Even Pa once referred to the band as (remember this was in the mid-late 1980’s, with 1980’s usage…) “Dead or Something.”

        1. They have a few songs I loved, and a few that a liked, and a bunch that were “meh.” I caught them live at a local festival in 2015 or thereabouts. I thought they sounded pretty good for their age.

        2. Meh. I was a Deadhead and have thus forever forfeited any license to criticize others’ tastes in music.

          As I’ve gotten on in years and seen revivals of classic TV programs of my childhood it has amazed me the degree to which my musical tastes have been influenced by the two old ladies who sat with us young’ns. One of them was Black and watched gospel and R&B, the other an old country gal who’d watch the Grand Old Opry.

    3. There were times in the 80’s when I used the lyrics as:

      “Ridin’ the storm out, waitin’ for the fall out”

  9. I’m sorry guys, there’s a snow storm coming, we’re woefully low on litter and food, and I have to go take care of the immediate issues first.

    Depending on your area and requirements, Amazon has subscribe and save litter available for roughly equal to buying local.
    (Mine is before-discount a penny or two more per unit than buying at Walmart, but I don’t have to drive, haul it around the store, etc. On the other, the prices do sometimes flux.)

    1. We have a winter weather advisory for tomorrow into Wednesday, and town was packed. Our standard taqueria was jam packed, and the grocery stores had a hard time keeping grocery carts handy.

      1. A.T. Cat prefers the PetCo store brand. So once every six weeks or so I trudge out of the store with a 25 lb sack of cat-litter over my shoulder. I get some odd looks.

  10. Oh, hey guys! I the good news department, in 2000 a 24 year old guy was convicted for felony theft.

    He served his time, including successfully completing probation, so even though it was a felony he had his gun rights restored.

    It’s four in the morning, and a now much older dude does maintenance. Heading in to work at oh gads it’s dark and sees an accident by the side of the road, rubbernecks because there’s already a cop car there with lights– and sees that the cop is on the ground with some big dude trying to smash his brains out.

    Pulls over. Grabs his loaded pistol from the center console. Barrels out, yells for the guy to stop, don’t do that, I have a guy, STOP THAT I WILL SHOOT.

    Bad guy doesn’t stop beating on the cop.
    Cop screams for help.

    43 year old dude shoots the attacker.

    1. Filed under “News you probably won’t read in the New York Times or Washington Post or see on the six o’clock news.”

      1. Especially since the guy he shot was an illegal Mexican who use to be one of their cops? (No, I can’t remember how you spell “fed-er-all-ee.”)

  11. Back in the late 80’s, it became perfectly clear that Communism failed on it’s promise to make life better for the Workers.
    So, they swapped to environmentalism- ironic, considering that the Communist record on the environment is… pretty damn awful.
    Of course, this will probably be a losing message in the long run, because most people don’t want to give up their car, A/C, and bacon cheesburgers.
    Sure, some people are protesting and demanding that you give up yours- but you won’t see a lot of personal sacrifice on their part.

    1. Joe you said “Of course, this will probably be a losing message in the long run, because most people don’t want to give up their car, A/C, and bacon cheesburgers.” It’s not just that the Hoi Polloi want their cheesburgers. Its that they see the Apparatchiks chowing down on Waygu burgers with hand processed yak cheese, flying all over in private jets, being driven around in $90K+ vehicles and living in 10k sq ft Air conditioned houses. It tells them that none of that actually matters the apparatchiks just want it all for themselves.

      1. Think back to “Animal Farm:, and the concept the Pigs sold that because they worked So Hard, they deserved the Good Things that were officially denied to the rest of the animals.
        Now, imagine trying that concept with a bunch of Americans. I suspect that you’d get something other than the passive English acceptance of the ways of their Betters.
        A lot of the rest of the world has a culture of aristocracy & caste, and accept their lot. It doesn’t work on USAians.

    2. I was wondering the other evening, and perhaps some here might know the answer: any idea about the methane output of buffalo herds?

      Bill Cody may have single-handedly staved off Global Warming for a generation.

      1. That’s Natural Wild Methane, which is magically different from Domestic Methane. Because reasons!

      2. RES I think you have something here. Those herds were immense allegedly millions of animals total (though we may have Soviet Bison census takers). Not sure but I suspect a bison would output MORE Methane (and methane generating output) than a domesticated cow. ANd what about other ruminants/ vegetarian animals. I’ll bet Elephants at the peak output a lot of Methane. And Whales too, Thank you Captain Ahab (of course then you burned the whale oil so probably a wash).

  12. Regarding the update –

    I agree that Trump isn’t responsible for the wheels coming off. But I do believe that this is perfectly timed to allow him to apply maximum pressure. Previous administrations could have done similar things if they’d really wanted to (spoiler: they didn’t). But the Hing King protests have really put Beijing between a rock and a hard place.

    And Trump isn’t the kind of guy to look the other way.

  13. On an unrelated note…

    I finally finished a video game the other night that I’d been playing for quite a while. It’s called Phantom Doctrine, and the game had you running a Cold War spy cell with a general stale beer feel, but with some Bond tendencies (no gadgets or seductive female spies, though). Gameplay borrowed a lot from XCom. The reason I mention it is that after beating the game with the CIA agent start (there are three possible starts – CIA, KGB, and a third one that’s unlocked after finishing the first time), there was a line at the end. The bad guy does what he does because he’s worried about the world ending due to the Cold War and accidents. And the protagonist notes that not long after affairs were wrapped up, the Cold War ended due to the collapse of Communism. This causes the protagonist to speculate whether the antagonist was merely rhe puppet of someone else who’d managed to remain in the shadows.

    When I heard that line, I rolled my eyes hard.

    1. >> “Phantom Doctrine”

      Is that the one with similar gameplay to Invisible Inc? Didn’t someone on Rock Paper Shotgun do an article on how they turned a pair of janitors into a nigh-unstoppable infiltration team due to poor game balance?

      1. I haven’t played Invisible Inc., so I don’t know. I’d compare it with XCom, which I have played – particularly the sequel to the reboot, which has a limited form of stealth on many of the missions. Phantom Doctrine has stealth as well, although it has a much better implementation than XCom 2 does.

        Basically, you recruit agents (some of whom might be spies for the bad guys), you maintain a base, research projects, and pass time keeping an eye on a map of the world which details interesting events in various locations that you should send agents to check up on. If you don’t check up on stuff, then you can’t progress the game, and the bad guys could end up winning.

        Missions take place on a map with an invisible square grid that’s pretty much just like XCom (albeit with graphics that aren’t as good). And in keeping with the setting, missions always take place at night, in the rain (seriously!). The combat has some differences with XCom. But it’s similar enough that anyone who’s played any of those games will feel right at home very quickly.

  14. You get snow, we get winds of 40 gusting 70 with blowing dust and high fire danger. With snow as the chaser on Wednesday night. Whee!

    1. Southern Sierras managed the trifecta: Red Flag warning, High Wind warning, and Winter Storm warning. Made for a colorful NOAA warning map.

      We only have an advisory; 4-8 inches of Cascade Concrete possible. Guess what needs to be mounted on the tractor. I’ll skip the tire chains for tomorrow, but I’ll keep them handy.

  15. Just as an aside; my appearances online may be sporadic as I’ve been getting very little sleep (the Youngest Daughter is cutting her upper set of front teeth, and clingy, and upset, and … yeah.) She’s also gotten pretty strong; and big compared to me.

    I’d love to know where babies learn that “I AM TICKED OFF I WILL HURL MYSELF BACK AND ALMOST GET MOM TO DROP ME” thing. Fortunately I tend to hold her while sitting on couch or bed, so if she does, she’s landing on soft things.

  16. Toast some marshmallows for the rest of us and enjoy the snow.

    I hope you’ll be shut in and writing productively in a warm house.

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