Shattered – A Blast From The Past From October 2015

*Some perspective for 2020- SAH*

Shattered – A Blast From The Past From October 2015


Many years ago, in a library sale, I came across a booklet of … well, science fiction scenarios.  From the context — not being absolutely stupid — I could get that it had been commissioned before the election in 80, and had probably been distributed for free by the Democratic party.  I am afraid to look it up, first because it’s the sort of quest that could take me something like three years (and be lots of fun, but no work would happen) and second because I’d hate to see which ones of my colleagues lent themselves to that rather preposterous effort.  Fortunately I lost the book in one of our many, many moves since then, so I don’t have to know.

Now, when I bought it, I was thirty, just about, but younger than that in craft, as I hadn’t started seriously thinking about world building and scenarios of world building till 22 or so, and I wasn’t yet… fully immersed in American culture.  For instance, how preposterous the scenarios were didn’t hit me at all.  (Yes, I used to be an innocent.  I actually thought anthologies about the coming Ice Age or about how we needed to disarm had no ulterior motives.  Probably self defense.  It allowed me to enjoy some art and literature, while, if I’d been fully conscious of its intent, I’d have thrown it across the room.  More on that later.)

So I read it and re-read it, admiring the extrapolation and trying to figure out how to do this in my own writing.  (Rest easy, I know better now.)

They really were preposterous scenarios. For instance the one where Reagan had gone elected went (Natch) into this scenario of endless war and of American soldiers sent home in sealed caskets which, if the grieving mothers dared open them showed corpses killed by a weapon beyond our comprehension.  (Which makes perfect sense, because you know, the USSR was so much more advan– Oh, wait, no, it was complete and unadulterated BS.)

Some of the scenarios I liked.  At this time I had virtually no political sophistication, and though I’d started reading Reason had no clue what “libertarianism” was.  And yet, instinctively I liked the scenario that I THINK was called “The center cannot hold.”

I think, so help me Bog, I was supposed to recoil from it.  Partly because it also started with Reagan’ s election.  But then DC and all the great cities get nuked, and the US devolves to a regional-centered organization.  First, this scenario was about as likely as feathers on a horse — because there was no invasion from outside following on the destruction of our centers of political organization — and second I think the picture the author was striving for was something out of mad max, or something.  Instead, what I saw was small, decentralized, and less regulation.  I saw thriving small centers of civilization.  I saw more individual freedom.  I ignored the rest.

Again, this scenario (All of them, really) was completely impractical, not to say impossible.  There is no way — no way at all — that kind of destruction would have led to regionally centered anything.  Yeah, I know a lot of dreams on the right and left start that way, but right now, the way we are, it’s more likely that widespread famine and invasion, and the other horsemen of the apocalypse would follow.

So it is funny that these days, looking at this great fractured polity of ours I keep thinking “The Center Cannot Hold” and it evokes both Yeats great mythical poem, and the scenario above, which means I end up dissolving in giggle fits at the unlikelihood of the scenario and missing the … ominous thoughts that the line should provoke.

And there are omens enough in the line.  And for a long time, I’ve been listening to that poem at the back of my mind as I read the news or think over some recent event.

Because if there is something that describes our current days it is exactly “The center cannot hold.”  And yea, anyone who trolls twitter can agree that

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity

And yet, just like the future scenario that was supposed to scare me spitless and make me not vote for Reagan (I didn’t, of course.  I was only an exchange student.  I did, however, work for his campaign) I look at this shattering and I listen to the ominous lines rolling in the back of my mind, and then I start grinning.

I’m not a nihilist.  I don’t smile at the end of the world.

But what is very important to remember is that his is not the end of the world.  It’s the end of a world.  (And if any of you ever read Ray Bradbury’s Almost The End of the World, that was closer to what is happening  in terms of major movements, than any apocalyptic scenarios.  Oh, not in WHAT happened, but in the metaphor of it.) However, behind that dying world, around it, beneath it, over it, unsuspected, unseen by the glitterati and the gatekeepers, another world is being born.

Okay, so our major cities didn’t get hit, thanks be to all divinities, since I think the result would be chaos and destruction.   Also, because I have friends in almost every large US city.

But the center is losing its grip anyway.  Mostly in culture.  But that culture is starting to influence politics, which is why there is this appearance of total chaos and the establishment (both sides) aren’t having it all their own ways.  Granted, the left still gets more compliance than the right.  It’s the nature of the beast and also part of how the culture fractured.

Which bring us to why we do have this impression everything is fracturing, and the “center cannot hold.”

This is a scenario not one of those big brains came up with.  Not a big stain on them, mind, since even after the computer revolution was well under way, even as Amazon was starting to take the pillars out from under the pillars of the publishing push model (the model according to which you could only find in the bookstore shelves, not what you might want to read but the books that the publishers had thought worth it to “push” onto the distributors.), most of the people whose job it was to foretell the future were saying that Amazon was maybe like one large brick and mortar shop, and it would make no difference.

As for ebooks, we got the whole thing about how books are a tactile and scent experience.  (Yes, I know some of you agree, but for the love of teardrops, I can’t see it.) And how ebooks would never displace “Real books” (listen, sonny, the scroll is here to stay and the printing press is a fad.  Shut up and copy.)

Blogs?  Some unwashed people in their pajamas. Not like those newspapers with layers and layers of fact checkers.  You know, the newspapers who were wrong so many times they’re bleeding money faster than they can plug it.  The newspapers no one under fifty really subscribes to anymore.  THOSE newspapers.

And the TV stations… Yes, yes, Dan Rather.  Fake but accurate.  Or something.

And then there’s the universities.  Oh, they’re holding on.  But the competition is coming up fast.  And I think they’re the next industry to truly get overwhelmed by catastrophic change.

Now, before we start dancing around the witch with the farmhouse planted on her snout, let’s be clear: none of these systems are dead yet.  It is a mistake to underestimate the enemy, particularly the wounded enemy.

There are still people — I know some of them — for whom the mainstream media is still the main means of information.  These are smart, thoughtful people, but they believe the weirdest things.  And that same media can do as much damage by ignoring stories as by beating the drum wrongly.  Benghazi, for instance.  It should be a shock and a horror, particularly the way that government officials lied to us and said it was all about a video.  But the media has refused to report on it.

And if you’re looking at that stuff, at the power still left in the mainstream institutions, you might get desperate.  You might think it’s all lost.

Except that the reason you feel that way is… that things are getting better.

Yes, I know that’s paradoxical.  But here’s the thing — cast your mind back to the time before we had internet — there were rumbles that, say, during Clinton’s time, the militias weren’t the big bad problem he painted it as, and there are more holes in the stories of incidents during that administration than there are — to paraphrase Heinlein — bastards in an European royal line.

BUT the point is you couldn’t know.  There wasn’t a web.  There wasn’t reporting first person what was happening.

In those days, the barrage would have held and we STILL WOULD THINK that Benghazi was the result of a bad video on youtube (only there wouldn’t be youtube.)  We would have no idea — as weird as this is — that there was anything wrong with Fast and Furious.  We’d just think that guns were being sold from the US down there.

In fact, you could say the reason their cunning plans keep misfiring is that they still control the media and therefore think they control everything.

Like publishers with the “paper books are coming back” fetish, most of the rest of the gatekeepers everywhere from publishing, to education, to politics are stuck in that place where they control all the means of communication, all the media, all the education and of course all government.  Because politics comes from culture.

They are so focused on the traditional way they don’t see that things have changed.

And so they miss one important thing.  We no longer feel alone.  We’re as disorganized as cats.  We’re as fractured as shattered glass, but we know we’re not alone.  And we know that the facade they have built — probably not as a big conspiracy; probably just because they all want to advance the “progressive” future-that’s-supposed-to-be so badly — is broken.

And that’s enough.  It’s enough for us to start talking about alternate solutions, to start building alternate structures, to network, to create, to keep our jobs even when we speak out.

Look, it only looks like everything is falling apart because the false consensus has been broken.  But at the same time that break is what allows us to build under, to build around, to build over.

One thing we know is that the structures they’ve taken over are no longer in contact with reality at any level.  Yeah, things look scary out there, and I’m not going to lie to you, they are scary, particularly on the international level.

Because the so called consensus was unchecked by dissenting voices, it has spun well away from reality.

But the new tech has given us a means of correcting that.  It might be almost too late.  And unless we have a miracle, there’s going to be the devil to pay for this.

Still, the correction is already in progress.  Their way is passing.  Our way is just starting out.

Funny how believers in dialectical systems didn’t see that coming.

Work.  Create.  Build under, build around, build over.  It’s all going to come apart more before some sort of sense can be made of this mess.  But the sense that’s coming, the ah spirit of the age embodied in its technology is moving away from big organizations and towards the individual.

And the individual?  That we’re fine with.

In the end we win, they lose.

Be not afraid.

112 thoughts on “Shattered – A Blast From The Past From October 2015

    1. It’s Lennon gutting Christianity’s message of love, walking around in the skin, demanding respect.

      If you don’t see the kind of nightmare that people have inflicted upon each other in the name of similar dreams, that’s on you, not on Sarah.


  1. I couldn’t agree with you more Ms. Hoyt, My problem is that even though the head agrees it’s not satisfactory to the heart, or more sinister organs. In 1989 I was promised we would all dance on the grave of Socialism but like every low budget slasher flick made since well- ever the beast keeps coming back for more. I’m still waiting for my turn on the turf, so to speak. To watch those reanimated corpses on MSM TV is just too much. I don’t do it. In the film “The Man who Shot Liberty Valance” There is a scene that occurs just after Valance is shot where men pitch his corpse in a wagon as the local Mexicans begin to sing and dance with joy at his demise. A catchy tune too. That’s what I want, dammit I earned it and deserve it!

    1. Don’t despair. It isn’t that Socialism is an unkillable undead monster. It’s that Socialism is just one more name for the urge of society’s self-selected Elite to tell the rest of us what to do. It’s no different than ‘divine right of kings’ or ‘do as Unk say or Night Leopard will eat the moon”. Eventually the would-be Masters will figure out that the name ‘Socialism’ has the permanent stink on it, and come up with something else.

      1. I have to disagree a bit.

        Socialism is a name for one of the worst forms of select-selected Elite to tell the rest of us what to do. While the divine right of kings can lead to thought control attempts even the most obnoxious of that crowd (some of the Tsars, Loius XIV, arguably Elizabeth of England in some senses with her anti-Catholic policies) don’t hold a candle to a the worst of socialism: Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Ceaușescu.

        More importantly, it has empowered more control freaks via secret police. Although the popular example de jour is Mao’s Revolutionary Guards, I’d argue the East German Stasi is even more frightening with their training to indoctrination new controllers, organization, and efficiency.

        Plus, unlike the others, except maybe “do as Unk say or NIght Leopard will eat the moon”, it is done under the belief by the controllers that they are doing it for the good not of themselves but those they control. As C. S. Lewis warned, that is the most dangerous dictatorship of all because nothing will escape it’s notice.

        No, socialism is man’s desire for power over his fellow man not just under another name, but that desire distilled to its rawest, purest form then dispensed in a bottle of diving (demonic?) beauty.

        1. You have points, but I’m hesitant to grant the Fascist Left greater importance than they are due. When push comes to shove, they are just one more lot of self-important jackasses. Yes, Socialism has some more damage, more quickly, than previous excuses. But I suspect that a lot of that has to do with the increased speed of travel and communication. Set up a Royalist system with the same advantages, and I suspect that the difference in death count would be narrower.

          But, as I said, you have points.

          I suppose what it comes down to is that ALL would-be elites are guillotine bait.

        2. [Socialism] is done under the belief by the controllers that they are doing it for the good not of themselves but those they control.

          You are unreasonably generous there. While it is conceivable Lenin exercised his power “for the good of the people” (Felix Dzerzhinsky offers a dissident view) it seems improbable that Stalin or even his successors was so nobly bent. Nor do I believe Uncle Ho, Korea’s Kims, the Castro Brothers, Hugo Chavez, Maduro, Ortega nor any of China’s communist rulers were so bereft of cynicism.

          I think they knew what was in the snake oil they were selling and that, like Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, the immiseration of their nation’s people was an enjoyed by-product, as sweet as an after-dinner apéritif.

          1. I suspect that “Uncle Ho” merely latched onto people that would help him remove the French and bring him to power, and the ideological baggage was a necessary prerequisite for their support. After all, he approached President Wilson in Versaille in 1918 (and was ignored). That suggests that he wasn’t particularly pro-socialist. He was a nationalist, and the Communists were the only group that would support him. I’ve also heard third-hand that US officers who came in contact with him during WW2 (when he would have been helping against the Japanese) generally had good things to say about him.

            The rulers in the South were far more standard dictators, and I suspect that Ho would have been satisfied ruling in a similar fashion. But he’d aligned himself with the USSR. So he followed their ideology.

            My suspicion is that if we had freed Vietnam from French control post-war, then Vietnam would be much like South Korea or Taiwan is now.

  2. I’m convinced that you only get the ‘smell’ of books with chicks digging leather-bound texts owned by rich men that they want to put out for. Or at least I’m a voracious reader, don’t give a toss about the smell of a book, and so my cynicism insists that there’s another motive.


    1. Hey, I want my own fragrant leather books, thank you! Well, okay, my husband would share them so… ahem.

      Leather can smell nice. Books in general, I don’t really get the smell thing, but I don’t really get the “this smells of the one I love” thing either, or ozone/petrichor, and I figure other people do. (Some books smell bad — I don’t know if it’s the glue or the ink or they’ve gone moldy or what — it’s very distressing.) I appreciate the convenience of ebooks on my phone but I do keep meaning to make a list of ones to make sure I’ve got handy on paper.

      1. I’m one of those people who is sensitive to scents, books, my loved ones, etc, but NOT to the extent of that spice master fellow in Food Wars!; and sometimes I feel a bit divided on if that’s a good thing or not. Gets so that sometimes, I feel a bit disconnected when I have a cold.

      2. Become a book binder. You can add to the leather smell the very peculiar smell of the egg based glair when you apply the gold tooling. Most of the smell in old books is from the effects of the wheat paste being, umm, eaten. Modern bookbinders use PVA unless they need to be able to shift things around.

        I do a bit now but want to do more when I retire.

        1. You can add to the leather smell the very peculiar smell of the egg based glair when you apply the gold tooling

          I’m not sure whether this is appealing or terrifying.

          1. That’s the way gilding on leather is done. Some heretics use lacquer or, shudder, imitation gold. It doesn’t smell bad on the book, the old paste does. Don’t leave it around though

      3. The late, lamented Printer’s Inc in Palo Alto, CA had a great “book smell”. As I recall, they had a high number of hardbound books relative to the paperbacks, and this made for a pleasant odor. The coffee bar didn’t seem to have much of an effect on the ambient smell.

    2. Well there was that one copy of the great white whale that I had to put down because it smelled, strongly of cigarette smoke…

      Oddly enough I actually enjoyed the book, though I’m convinced what the author needed was a rather ruthless editor to have gone through it with a chainsaw. That book is equal parts epic yarn and crazy uncle lecturing you at the dinner table.

      1. Equal parts epic yarn and crazy uncle lecturing you at the dinner table.

        And usually on very trivia-laden tangents that don’t really have much effect on the storyline. It’s been enough years that I don’t remember the third-mate’s name or his harpooner’s name (but someone here’s likely to dig it up for me anyway), but I can still tell you the name of those two big vats on the foredeck for rendering the blubber in (the try-pots) and where ambergris comes from (the fermenting gut contents of a dying cetacean).

      2. Oh, yeah. Moby DIck is two books in one cover: a novel about a whaling-boat captain obsessed with revenge, and a non-fiction treatise on how whales were hunted and processed in the 19th century. Both are very useful books to have on one’s bookshelf, but I can’t help but wonder when some enterprising publisher will come up with the bright idea of splitting the two books apart and selling them separately. I’m normally dogmatic against abridging books, but Moby Dick is one of the very few that would be improved by abridgment.

    3. I’ve known books to have scents ranging from pleasant to awful, depending on their age and construction. The worst was a brand new, two-volume Physics textbook for one of my college classes. Oof, could they stink up a room; the scent was somewhere between vinyl and vomit, and failed to improve with age. Most smell pleasant, and some very much so, though I have trouble finding words to describe just what sets the latter apart. Scent seems to be one of the hardest sense to communicate. Analogy only takes you so far.

      I’m a scent-oriented person in general, though. Petrichor, abundant foliage, cut hay, and the like seem to fairly perfume the air.

      I buy books for content, not odor (not that I could, given that I buy 99% of my books on Amazon) but it’s a bonus if they smell nice, too.

    4. Nah, the smell of walking into a good used bookstore is nice. There’s an OK one for new book stores.

      Didn’t ever notice it until I went to the coast with my mom and we walked into a used bookstore…with 65-70% humidity….

      The smell was VERY different.


      It’s less that the smell is great, than that it is associated with a pleasurable thing– the hunt for a good story you haven’t read yet.

      As they wiped out the whole “find a good book most of the time” thing, that went away, too.

  3. … the so called consensus was unchecked by dissenting voices

    That was no consensus, that was imposed conformity. I’ve never been worth a damn at conformity (it’s the ears, you know – they stick up.).

  4. I’m not sure but I read somewhere that the ‘smell of books’ was actually caused by a mold that is unique to book paper. All I can say is the last time I went into an actual library some ten years ago the smell triggered an asthma attack that made me flee the building. I had a box with about 1 cubic feet of paperbacks that I inherited from my father that I had to discard for the same reason. That one broke my heart because it was paperbacks of books and collections from Amazing stories and others from about 1955 until 1983 ( his death)

    1. The smell of books is from moldy wheat paste that’s been eaten by bugs. the smell comes from their excreta I’m afraid. much the same as the inside of old trunks. Keep them dry or use PVA though you sacrifice working time.

  5. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity”

    That’s not true at all.

    Just look out the window and you’ll see -nothing- out of the ordinary going on in your town. Not a single damn thing has changed due to Corona or due to the #BLM idiots.

    There are a very, very few agitators getting huge air time on TV because they’re setting things on fire in Liberal cities. As soon as the mayors of those towns are personally inconvenienced, the arson stops. Currently happening in Toronto today, the idiots went after Mayor John Torrie’s condo. It was impressive how fast the cops showed up and put an end to it, given that they appeared to be helpless to prevent a 2 week camp out by agitators at the city hall.

    There are some quite serious problems with Corona, mainly in seniors homes that don’t have decent infection control and never did. There is a -massive- failure of government public health organizations to get their shit together and behave in a productive and functional manner. They were supposed to be ready, but they were not ready. From what I can see they were never anything more than a sham in the first place. Like an Old West saloon with a wooden front but the place is actually a tent.

    There are some quite serious problems with the media. They have joined one faction in the political wars, something that they’re not supposed to do. That happened long ago, but since 2000 with the Fall of Algore they have stopped pretending. Since 2016 they’ve been rioting, essentially. Canada is even worse, believe it or not.

    But there are no problems with Joe and Jane Average American/Canadian/Brit/Aussie etc. Joe and Jane haven’t changed. They’re still running over to the neighbor’s house with the chainsaw if a tree falls on the front porch. They’re still lining up to place sandbags when it floods.

    Positive signs, I hear on the grape vine that those Corona tests that were previously coming only from China are now made right here in Southern Ontario in the next town over from here, at some little manufacturing place nobody ever heard of. They make the nose swabs or some such. That didn’t take long, eh?

    Suck it, Chicoms.

    1. Funny, that. A few years ago my neighbors two houses down went on vacation for two weeks, and on the second day the tree in their front yard dropped a huge branch on the sidewalk. I knew the city would fine them for blocking the sidewalk, so I spent about an hour with a chainsaw cutting it up and dragging the pieces into their side yard.

      When they got home, they gave me the wood for my fireplace. I was sure they would, but waited and asked anyway.

    2. Currently happening in Toronto today, the idiots went after Mayor John Torrie’s condo. It was impressive how fast the cops showed up and put an end to it, given that they appeared to be helpless to prevent a 2 week camp out by agitators at the city hall.

      I hope that the Common Canadian is taking note of this.

      On a tangent, given the flight I hear of folks from the cities, supposedly… how do the places they flee to stop these blue pigeons keep the from similarly turning their newfound roosts into familiar shitholes?

      1. “…how do the places they flee to stop these blue pigeons keep the from similarly turning their newfound roosts into familiar shitholes?”

        Diffusion. I’ve noticed the new arrivals from Toronto don’t do much squawking out here in Hooterville. It’s like they see a John Deere tractor hat on a gnarly old farmer at the supermarket and realize that rainbow sticker on their car is no longer an asset.

        The mere existence of a non-conforming opinion is enough to shame the stupid out of a lot of people.

        1. Feh. They’d love them some John Deere if they knew their policies on geolocation, Digital Rights Management, and maintenance, and how they screw over their customers.

          John Deere is the reason there’s a whole new industry refurbishing old agricultural equipment, and farmers are buying new equipment from places like India.

          They were willing to pay John Deere prices… until Deere went Sauron-level evil.

          1. In the 1980’s or maybe early 1990’s there was a story about imports of East Bloc tractors. The ‘neighbor’ with the Deere made light of it, but the reply came, “If I have a breakdown, chances are I can fix it and be up and running again in a hour, not waiting for someone come by sometime this week.”

            1. I own a JD compact utility tractor and one of the heavy duty grade garden tractors. These never were sophisticated enough to run afoul of the software issues. (Computer? What computer?) The decision was easier when the sailsdroid for Case/Harvester and New Holland was a prize putz. No, I am not going to buy what you have in stock, I am going to buy what I need. Go ahead and argue with the other customer over the delivery charge on the tractor you’ve been negotiating with for over a year. (The idiot bragged about that. Couldn’t understand why we walked.)

              OTOH, Belarus got into the US market with eponymous tractors in the early Aughts. Tolerable tractors, but the importer neglected to bother to import any spare parts, so there were a lot of idle machines and unhappy owners. That dealer is now selling “LS” tractors, I believe from Korea. The other import dealership in the region might still sell Jinmas from China, but he advertises Mahindra (India) and Branson (Korea). One neighbor has the latter, and beyond a hydraulic blowout (that had to go back to the shop and wait for parts), it’s been OK. My JD is actually a Japanese Yanmar, and the issues have been age related.

              I’ve heard of a push for a “right to repair” bill, aimed at John Deere and some of the auto companies, but it hasn’t had a lot of traction just yet. Green Tractors Matter!

              1. I have a little New Holland, which I believe is actually relabeled from either Italian or Indian. One would think a company like New Holland could whip together a decent compact tractor on their own, but it seems not to. But I love my little tractor, it does everything I want and nothing I don’t want. Perfect size for me.

                The “Freedom To Repair” is an important subject. When things like hydraulic cylinders and fuel pumps have electronic keys whose sole purpose is to prevent changing the parts by yourself, its time for government to tell the manufacturer “No.” The key doesn’t just prevent the substitution of off-brand parts, it prevents the OWNER from changing the part himself. As I understand it, you can’t even take a JD pump off one machine and put it on another by yourself. They don’t want that. They want the dealer to do it, so they lock the whole thing down.

                That’s what government is supposed to be for, to keep the country free. You bought it, you own it. Its not a lease, right?

                I understand that Big Green owners all over the USA are jailbreaking their machines with all sorts of super illegal hacks and cracks, and basically telling Big Green to shove it. Like I’ve always said, there’s nothing under the sun that you can’t unlock with a soldering iron and a pair of side-cutters. SNIP, f— you.

          2. Too bad Allis-Chalmers went out of business. Grandpa had a CA he bought in the 1930’s and a propane-powered D-17 bought in the 1940’s both still running strong in the 1970’s.

            Maybe that’s why they went out of business. You buy an Allis-Chalmers tractor, and you never need to buy another one.

            1. When I was a kid my dad bought an Allis-Chalmers Snow blower with a Tecumseh SnoKing engine. That thing ran for the better part of 30 years until my mom sold the house and gave the snowblower to someone at church. Last I heard in the late 90’s it was still going strong.

    3. With respect to putting Coronavirus patients in long-term living facilities, I’m having a hard time shrugging it off as incompetence. NYFS deliberately ignoring the Javits center (specially made up for Kung Flu cases) and the Mercy hospital ship and using the senior homes strikes me more as malice, or at least a cynical bet: “If they don’t die, we look like heroes for not needing the center, if they do die, it reduces the number of Medicade patients and thins out a potential R voter pool”.

      I find it noteworthy that the worst states for this are the solid Blue ones.

        1. My bet is he will try to figleaf it with “oh, all they had to do was refuse admission” or similar.

          Which would completely unenroll the person from the nursing home, which tends to trigger things like “unenroll everybody else that has been placed in their center with gov’t involvement” or “unenroll everyone who has been to the hospital.”

          AKA, shut down the entire nursing home, because they are unable to deal with ‘basic sanitation’ or some such.

      1. I don’t know. I think of Ezekiel Emanuel and his contention the state should focus care only on its “productive,” members and remember the late 19th/early 20th century fetish about “efficiency.” As though people are parts in a great machine and should be tossed when they wear out.

        But it’s older than that. I think it was Cato who routinely sold his old slaves when they got too old to work, so he wouldn’t have the expense of feeding them…

  6. What I don’t get–even if Benghazi *had* been “caused” by a YouTube video, what sort of idiot thinks that attacking an embassy and murdering the ambassadors is a good and proper response to that?

      1. I took the Foreign Service exam back in the 70s. Most of the questions were about modern lit, art or music. There was one geography question. Don’t remember any history. I flunked epicly and concluded I wasn’t the personality type they were looking for (but should).

    1. The sort of idiot who doesn’t have a recent enough oral history of the Mongol Empire razing cities for such acts.

      Yeah, I know, Department of State screw up.

      1. I would probably done a little better. I had at least been exposed to it. I had negative interest in the Ash Can school of painting.

    2. The sort of racist idiot who believes that Arabs aren’t full humans capable of making decisions about right and wrong. If you throw a ball in your house, and your dog chases it, it’s not the dog’s fault if he bangs into the dining table. Similarly, under this mindset, it isn’t the Arab’s fault for instinctively lashing out when someone insults their prophet. It’s all the fault of the real humans, the Westerners, who chose to provoke them.

      It’s also the sort of controlling idiot who would love to be able to censor YouTube and sees this as a lovely excuse.

    3. The sort of idiot that occupies senior posts in the U.S. State Department?

      1. Well, I’ve been told that the place wasn’t named Foggy Bottom primarily because of either the topography or the meteorology . . .

    4. We wouldn’t have known much about it at all– it would be something like they got killed in an accident when a panic broke out in a protest type thing.

      Probably reported as either “missing” or “injured” right off the bat, for that matter.

    5. Whenever they feed me a lie that foul and demand I swallow it I always think of Detective Munch from Homicide, Life o the Streets, season 1:

      At least pay me the respect of a CREDIBLE effing lie.

      That’s not too much to ask from our political leaders, is it?

      1. Ah, the “Don’t lie to me like I’m Montel Williams” scene from episode 1. A classic. Belzer may be a lefty loon but he was great in that role.

  7. Raze the state department?
    Let’s set the scene: Gentlemen( and ladies) let all go to conference room eleven; we’re about to give you a big Raze!
    Attendance would be 100%

        1. I looked at Google, it really is like an aiming point isn’t it? There should be a sign spelled out in apartment buildings: “Dear Space Aliens: Drop here.” And a helpful arrow.

          1. Where do you think Zeon got the idea for Operation British? 🙂

            (Yeah, yeah, there’s probably a much more prosaic explanation somewhere in canon.)

            1. The dropped colony was supposed to land in South America (where Jaburo was located). But the Feds broke it up trying to stop it, and Australia was hit instead.

                1. Incidentally, the mercenary Zeon fleet in Gundam: 0083 was composed of members of the unit that gassed the colony that was dropped. They weren’t told that the devices they were affixing to the colony were poison gas containers. But they were treated as pariahs anyway by the rest of the Zeon forces.

                  1. I only really remembered that Operation British was even a thing because of a fanfic by drakensis, Those That Carry On, that manages to merge the UC, CE, and AC continuities.

                    The gassing is of some plot importance.

                    Very nice, I find myself wanting to see a Char’s Endless Destiny, or something, as a follow up. Stands alone quite well, just find myself wanting more.

  8. Yes, I used to be an innocent.

    That innocent, or less aware of the threat of them trying to manipulate and lie to everyone all the time, and destroy you if you cross them?

    Because I can’t remember not having the idea that the “themes” were meant to beat a subject to death, usually in a “raise awareness” type manner, but even if I didn’t agree with them it was more like those stories that start “no s**t, there I was-“. Plus, it was fun to see what folks would come up with, kind of like the drabbles on the Sunday Book Posts.

    Now, having seen their behavior and I THINK ratcheting up, but definitely seeing the attempt to force people to live as if they believe it, it’s not fun anymore.

    Like the difference between a harmless letch who really won’t do more than make you glare at him, and the pervert who will hurt you given a chance.

    1. Please disregard. I broke my own rule not to react until three days after the event

      1. Are you sure you aren’t running into the one from four years ago? There was a sniping incident this day in 2016, and there are a number of memorials to it happening today.

  9. “And the individual? That we’re fine with.”

    Sorry, but individualism is white supremacy. And fascist.

  10. It’s eerie and at the same time not, how this tracks what’s happening now. In 2015-16, the masks started to come off in public, but I still saw many people I know doubling down for Clinton. Some did it because “how can I NOT vote for a woman?!” while others were so afraid of Trump that they simply couldn’t. Now, having said that, the fact that he won tells me that large numbers of people lied about who they were going to vote for and who they did vote for (shocker). Given the general public discourse, I can’t blame them. I admit to holding my nose and voting for Trump, but there was no way in hell I was voting for Clinton.

    Now, though? Now the masks have completely come off (maybe that’s why they’re now insisting we wear them in public…they didn’t realize it was a metaphor? Hmmm…). I see (on my completely scientific poll taking, data collecting FB scrolls) less support for Biden, a bit more open support for Trump and a LOT of crickets from many of the usual suspects. It’s far easier to focus on WuFlu than on the disaster that is the Democratic Party.

    Damn, Sarah, you’re prescient!

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…

    1. It just occurred to me; the 2016 polls MIGHT have been deliberately cooked, or lots of people MIGHT have lied about who they would vote for, but there’s another possibility.

      What if polling methodology had made a general wrong assumption about who was likely to vote? If, for decades, a large swath of people simply didn’t vote because they couldn’t see a difference. Well, Trump was sure different. We’ve known for a couple of decades that many polls are overweighted towards the Left. Some of that is pure cool-aid drinking bias, but a lot has probably been taking into account folks who don’t much like the Left, but tend to think “What’s the use?”. Then Her Shrillness comes along and calls people who might think of voting for Trump “deplorables”, effectively ensuring that each and every one of them will turn up at the polls and vote “f*ck you, Hillary!”, whether they like Trump or not. But the polls wouldn’t catch this, because their assumptions about who would vote have been pretty good for a long time, and the sea-change isn’t something they pollsters are in a position to feel. Add to that the number of Bernie supporters who stayed home because they felt their man was cheated out of the nomination, but who the Left was counting on because ‘where else could they go’.

      So, combine bias, people lying to the polls, and a mistaken judgement about who would make it to the polls, and you have something of a reinforcing wave. No single surge big enough to explain the discrepancy, but three waves reinforcing each-other and WHAM, Shrillary is drowning.

      1. Oh, totally. Polls vary between “registered voters” and “likely voters”. The “likely voter” category is self-selected, so yeah, somebody could say that they weren’t going to vote and then did. Also respondents are coded as “likely voter” based on voting records. So, yeah, if somebody hadn’t voted in the last couple presidential elections they would not pop up as a likely voter.

      2. I suspect the pollsters were the problem. There were three polls that said Trump had a shot at winning. The LA Times poll – hardly a bastion of conservative thought – was one of those three (unfortunately, I can’t remember the other two). The fact that a notable poll that was definitely not biased in his favor thought that he could win suggests to me that the primary problem with the “Trump can’t win!” polls was due to the pollsters.

    2. Some did it because “how can I NOT vote for a woman?!”

      Well, in the UK there were a large number of leftists who found it very easy to NOT vote for a woman, when the woman was Margaret Thatcher…

      1. Well, yeah. And, here, a large number of leftists MUST vote for the woman when she’s running from their party even if there are others who make better candidates.

  11. July 7, 2020

    From the Associated Press

    New Trump Collusion Revealed

    It was announced today by a political watchdog group that President Donald Trump has indeed been engaged in collusion in his efforts to be re-elected.

    “This goes all the way back to five years ago,” said group spokesperson R. A. Bid. “All the way to his first, illegitimate election. And unlike previous attempts to bring his conniving, dishonest nature to light, this time we have unequivocal proof.

    “Trump, in his insane quest for power, has been conspiring for more than five years with large groups of American citizens. This goes beyond, FAR beyond, normal political activities. We have multiple examples where Trump had KEPT campaign promises. Not average, expected politcal and financial favors to donors, but actual, beneficial laws and actions that help the voter. Such as tax breaks that affect not wealthy or targeted special interests, but ALL Americans, across the full spectrum of brackets.

    “Fortunately, many of these attempts at ‘fulfillment’ have been stymied by congress or the proper role of the bureaucracy, but far too many have seen the light of day. This brazen back and forth influence with vast swaths of unknown and unknowable people is simply not to be tolerated in our modern form of democracy.”

    The stunning revelation quickly drew ire throughout Washington. Representative Adam Schiff (D – Mented) promised to convene investigative panels and committees as soon as possible.
    “This time we’ve definitely got him,” the California politician announced. “This type of promise keeping makes all of us look bad and it simply cannot stand.”

    [Poe notification:

    Poe’s Law states that, absent sufficient indication of parody or satirical intent, any statement may be construed as an honest belief. This is especially true in print, which often lacks verbal or visual cues.

    I’ve recently come to understand that I am bad at writing satire. Not that I write bad satire, but that I am bad at the form.

    On its face, satire seems simple enough: take a wildly exaggerated idea and present it with an earnest, matter-of-fact delivery.

    I’ve tried that here several times and on more than one occasion it seems people construe it as something from the outside. I’ve tried to come up with a reason why this is, and have a notion or two.

    One – I spend a little too much effort on the deadpan delivery. Perhaps my use of datelines and real world bylines adds enough realism to flip from a goof to a “maybe?…”.

    Two – I strive a little too much to capture the voice and style I’m trying to mock. I don’t know if I should be happy at my mimicry prowess, or disturbed that I can so closely capture the word and idea patterns of people I hold to be borderline lunatics.

    Three – Perhaps I simply lack the imagination to come up with a truly preposterous notion to build on. Maybe the Overton Window has moved so far and so quickly that not only do I fail to understand what it is showing, but I’ve simply been left behind to stare at a blank wall.

    “Am I so out of touch? No, it’s the children who are wrong.”
    — Seymour Skinner

    Anyhoo… I guess it behooves me to point out the follwoing: That stuff up top? Before the bracketed comments? Not real.

    I made it up.

    I don’t…think…they’ll try this one.


    1. They may not ever put it in print, but I suspect something like that is going through their heads. How dare he pander to the people he’s actually supposed to represent? Where does he get off ignoring all their Sacred Causes just because they are contrary to our American ideals? What is he up to, questioning Teh Unquestionable Authorities and throwing up all those inconvenient facts and numbers?

      1. They keep expecting Trump to roll over and wave his Paws in the air, like a good Republican. And he keeps not doing it. And, of course, these ninnies have DECADES of practice ignoring the inconvenient reality in favor of their air-dreaming.

        They’re going to go down, kicking and screaming “He’s not supposed to DO that.”, or other variations on “Waah! Donny hit me Back!”

        1. It’s not just that he doesn’t roll over and play dead but that he coaxes them in closer and closer. As they come for the kill he makes a quick side step and then gives the a swift kick in the crotch just for good measure. The MSM are like Charlie Brown charging at the football Lucy is holding for them.

          1. He plays by their rules for themselves, as opposed to their rules for Republicans. That’s what’s really baffling to them. He’s also really good at getting shiny squirrels to run around over there, while he takes care of real business over here. That’s what he use Twitter for (well, that and just laughing his ass off at their outrage at his latest Twitter post).

          2. I would argue that Trump is more like a Charlie Brown who has had. Enough. Of. This. Sh*t. The Left keeps playing Lucy, and he keeps running up and giving them a good kicking. He’s SUPPOSED to try to kick the ball they’re going to pull away. Not kick them in their heads.

            1. Kicking them i their heads risks breaking a toe and serves no useful purpose. He needs to find a more effective place to kick.

              1. Right, I’ve had enough martial arts training to know kicking with your toes is a bad idea (Unless you have steel toed boots then have at it). The proper weapon is the heel or the side of the foot. Although kicking an SJW type in the head is pointless as that is their least vulnerable point.

            2. He’s like Thor in Ragnarok, when Loki tries to trick him yet again… and Thor turns the tables on him. Thor’s comment is that he’s learned from Loki’s past trickery. The added implication is that Loki has not.

    2. I bet if this was an article in the Babylon Bee, this would be an approved Biden Ad … I mean that is what they do, isn’t it?

      Made me LOL.

    3. I’ve recently come to understand that I am bad at writing satire.

      I do not agree. I perceive two potential explanations you have overlooked.

      1. Some people are bad at reading satire. Some people are bad at reading satire of the type you’ve written, In neither case is the problem in your writing.

      2. (And this is the greater factor) The modern Leftist has moved beyond satire, has gone achieved such derangement as to become unsatirizable. There is little you can write that is beyond imagining they might do. Politicians who a short half decade ago hailed Mt Rushmore now deride it as White Supremacy. People unself-consciously engage in fascistic acts in the name of anti-fascism. The Left has abandoned regard for truth or even consistently.

      They have are applying principles of Dadism to Dada and any effort to satirize them is defeated by their rampant absurdity.

    4. >> “Trump, in his insane quest for power, has been conspiring for more than five years with large groups of American citizens.”

      The only thing you missed was a threat to RICO Trump voters. Other than that, I think Mr. Fleming should explain why you’re not on the Babylon Bee’s payroll.

      1. You’re right, indicting 50 million voters for conspiracy to block Queen Hillary’s ascension would be the cherry on top. 😀

  12. The new ductwork, lined with fiberclass cloth, is on par with any of the other covid related hazards.

    1. Ugh. Glad I’m not the one having to deal with that. I’ve worked with fiberglass for composite aircraft parts (and Kevlar™ too). The only less fun thing was doing fiberglass insulation overhead (batts, not blown-in, thanks be).

      1. I’m not in the middle of it. I’ve just long been opposed to the practice, on the grounds of cleanliness, and not providing mold a place to grow.

        I’m am cheered by the possibility of aiming some of the panic in that direction, however remote.

      2. Last year I had to replace a batt of insulation that was coming down from the barn roof. (Had a few that were partially dislodged when I had the roof redone. Sigh.) Rented the staging and got to the section and started to staple it back in place. *Then* I discovered that a medium sized colony of mice had climbed up the 6 x 6 post below that batt and set up housekeeping in it. Fiberglass pieces, mouse poop and Lord knows what all over, especially me. I know that there can be a more disgusting way to screw up insulation, but this is my personal worst.

        That piece got replaced with R-20 worth of rigid foam insulation. Mice don’t want to mess with such.

  13. Charlie Brown and the football… Yes that is a good analogy for the Media and Trump. Speaking about the Left though I think it is more like Bewitched. Mrs. Kravitz (The left, on your bingo card) is a humorless scold who hasn’t been happy a day in her life. She can’t imagine anyone or anything not exactly like herself, which is to say, miserable. Here she sees Samantha Stevens who is young, blonde and happy. She troubles no one, and is focused on living her life in peace. Her existence is intolerable. There has to be a reason for it, and that reason is evil. Mrs. Kravitz will devil Samantha unendingly in her self-righteous quest to prove that no one can be happier than her without it being a trick or illegal. I don’t recall that she had a job, but Kravitz would be a welcome addition to any LA faculty, or the HR department of most mid-level corporations or above.
    And that is the fix we find ourselves in.

    1. I know. Right? I’ve always wondered where “Karen” came from. Must be either waaaay older than me or something in current culture I’m unaware of.

      I have thought that “Gladys” or “don’t be a Kravitz” was more appropriate. Guess that dates me? Although Bewitched went main stream in a movie. I’ve seen the movie. Although don’t remember there being a Kravitz because Ms Kravitz doesn’t appear until the Darren’s move in next door. Movie focused on their courtship, not afterwards.

      1. It’s kind of like how ‘Buffy’ or ‘Timmy’ both draw up a thumbnail archetype– Buffy being Californian, blonde and room temp IQ with much up-talking, and Timmy being the unholy terror in single digits with parents who think that they ARE stopping the problem when they say “Timmy, don’t do that… Timmy, no… Timmy, the dog doesn’t like you flamenco dancing on his head…” and will get nasty when people actually stop little Timmy from killing himself or others.

        ‘Karen’ was a very popular name, especially for middle upper class and higher women, hitting the social security birth records in the top ten from 1950- 1968.
        Didn’t drop out of the top 100 until 1985.
        So for the last decade or so, any woman of a Certain Age* who is being obnoxious had a very good chance of being named Karen.

        So you have a lot of obnoxious, entitled, angry female bullies who as the meme goes “want to talk to the manager” and at some point will be spelling their name out, in a loud and usually somewhat nasal tone.

        And a bunch of memes where they need some sort of a name.

        And the karen craze was born.

        * I have used that phrase a lot more since I finally, in the last decade or so, found out that it means those gals who are really not old but you can’t honestly call them young, either. That range keeps getting higher and higher, too, and not because I am getting older– it’s because with good health care you can have folks in their 60s who look younger than folks in their 40s. Had someone mistake me for two decades older than I am, based off of mannerisms and understanding some cultural references she made. She assumed that my girls were my granddaughters.

        1. >> “Buffy being Californian, blonde and room temp IQ with much up-talking”

          But still able to go toe-to-toe with vampires and other monstrosities, for some reason.

          Incidentally, says Karen is a Scandinavian word for “pure.” I wonder if whoever chose that name for the meme knew that and was being ironic.

      2. I think Bewitched has been out of rotation for reruns since the mid ’80s. Somewhere in the late 80’s early 90’s stuff from the ’80’s started to take over syndication reruns with the exception of a few die hards (Star Trek TOS, perhaps Batman, MASH). Someone home from school watching reruns for that period had to be be born early 70’s. They’re nearly 50 now. A large part of the populace are younger than that and may not have the reference for Mrs. Kravitz. But Lots of their friends scoldy moms/ grand moms are named Karen.

        1. Nick At Night had Bewitched into the early 90s, but I only know that from commercials seen at a cousin’s house and that’s when we moved, so I have no idea beyond that.

          1. I’m old enough to remember the last of the original run. Mostly, I remember the characters seemed to be fueled by cirrhosis-level consumption of alcohol. As in, after a six-Martini lunch, go home early and hammer another pitcher down before going to bed.

            It was so over-the-top that even as a child I wondered about it, and I still remember that long after I’ve forgotten any individual episodes.

            1. Yeah drinking (and in the early stuff smoking) played a large part in the ’60s sitcoms. And yes I saw bewitched when it first ran, I’m that old. Although I’ll note I had to get special dispensation to see my favorite show (Star Trek) when it moved to the Friday 10PM (aka death slot) spot in the third season. 10pm was past my bedtime as a third grader :-), not that my mom ever really managed to enforce bed time. My dad worked third shift so I always wanted to say goodnight to him (and steal a sip of his coffee…) before he went to work.

          2. OK so that pushes the age down a bit. Although I think Nick at Night was more focused on the nostalgic Gen X/Boomers than their spawn. As opposed to when I was a kid in late 60’s early 70’s it was in constant rotation with thins like Gilligans Island. In any case the 40+ set aren’t the meme makers today :-).

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