Disjointed Observations

Not that I could do a jointed observation right now, because I’m not even in Colorado, and I am allergic to the stuff anyway….

So, whatever we’re doing, it’s working, in the sense that we’re not falling into traps. Of course, perhaps what’s working is that our idiot opponents are really and truly idiotic.

I mean, seriously look at it, they have identical sunglasses….

I mean, seriously. They think they’re smart, so they keep imagining we have the IQ of paste. Sigh. These are idiots-arrogants. They’re too dumb to figure out they stick out like sore thumbs, and smugly satisfied in their stupidity. How do they get like that? The left’s takeover of their field. They remind me of trad pub editors circa 1995. (Not that they’ve improved, but now most have the puzzled and vaguely malevolent expression of stupid people who suspect someone is putting one over on them, but know it’s impossible because they’re so smart. Or something. Not that the editors were stupid. Just smug and unchallenged. Same here.) And this ladies and gentlemen are the people we trust to ferret out threats in the world at large.

This is ultimately what is at the bottom of the Afghanistan disaster, what caused us to spend almost a century taking seriously the Soviet Empire and how well equipped they were as enemies, when these people in fact were doing things like driving trucks of tubes around, to pretend they were missiles.

At another level, these are the people who earnestly believe the real threat is global warming, that communism works, and that we’re all white supremacists.

The good news in this is that these people are not on our side. These complete and thorough idiots are in fact trying to destroy America in the name of some supra-national government which will be better. Or so they imagine.

What they’re actually trying to do, of course, is stay seated and apply spurs and not allow us to resist them. Because having completely subverted the elections, they think they are in power forever. (Which means these poor deprived adult children never heard stories like the goose that laid the golden eggs, or other stories of “F*ck around and find out.”)

Which is going to be really hard, since they have not a brain cell among them.

Sorry, but even if there are good field agents, our intelligence agencies were always a festival of fail that could only be more obvious if it wore a fruit hat and shashayed to samba in the Carnival in Rio. I mean, they believed the bullshit fed to them by Russia and China to the point they put them in the CIA world fact book. Including the blooming soviet economy. Bullshit a kindergartner wouldn’t believe.

And since Obama and his cronies took over the structure, their abilities have taken a nose dive. (Which must have involved a super-powered escavator with stainless steel blades.)

The bad part?

Some of the fields they’ve taken over are still vestigially performing some functions we need, if only to provide and “official” channel for something.

And don’t fool yourself it won’t hurt when it collapses (with an Earth shattering kaboom.) And I’d be surprised if that’s past the end of the year, given the world-class-brains we’re dealing with.

Be ready. Be alert. Keep your clothes and weapons where you can find it in the dark.

And get ready to take the weight when it falls. Because Atlas supports civilization.

And tag, you’re it, you’re Atlas.

363 thoughts on “Disjointed Observations

      1. Reminds me of a conversation that P. J. O’Rourke once recounted. He was driving with a friend of his past yet another leftie protest about the cause of the week, and he turned to his friend and asked why the conservatives never seemed to have protests like that. His friend looked at him, and gave a simple response. “Because we have jobs.”

        1. That’s often the reason why I fell out with a lot of my friends around here. They were all for the current cause-of-the-week, and I liked sharing a two bedroom with the Crazy Roommate and eating on a regular basis. They had “adventures,” but so many of them were either couch surfing or living paycheck to paycheck at seasonal jobs or being some dudebro’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl…

          1. And that’s likely why so many of them are also all for every job paying a “living wage.”

            Of course, if every job starts at $15/hr (their magic number,) businesses will have to either raise prices or reduce expenses to stay profitable (because all the business expenses will go up.) Then guess what children! $15/hr is no longer a “living wage!”

            Shocker!

            1. They want to buy a house, raise a family and enjoy an upper-middle-class lifestyle on 40 hours (or less) per week of unskilled labor. Because they’re ‘too special’ to have to put in the work to improve themselves and develop useful skills.

              And they are too stupid even to see how stupid they are.

              They need to:
              1. Read the Bill Of No Rights
              2. Understand it!

            2. You don’t have to pay robots $15/hr — as a number of service providers and robot manufacturers have figured out…

                  1. “I know it when I see it” will be the watchword. Definitions don’t matter when laws are replaced by whims.

                    1. Thing is, law is a mixture of force and consensus, doesn’t run on pure force, and caprice undermines the consensus.

                      These are very crazy, very malicious, very stupid people, so we have a fair certainty predicting what they will try to do.

                      Others? We have a lot less information about.

                      In particular, breaking points of people who didn’t start out seriously insane are not widely known.

                      I’ve had one of my minor breaking points this summer, I think without telling anyone here.

                      You don’t know about my potential future breaking points. /I/ don’t know my potential future breaking points.

                      Okay, I may well count as having started out seriously crazy.

                1. Making the same mistake as Asimov: it’s not going to be something that takes the place of a human. Rather, it’s the increasing ability of the machines to do things automatically.

                  (Asimov, in one story, had a character explain that a farmer would buy a robot because it could drive the tractor, the combine, etc. In reality, of course, what happens is the next generation of tractors and combines have more computerization.)

        2. Also because I don’t think the majority of us are arrogant enough to assume that even if we can change the world, that we should change the world. After all, it’s gotten along quite well for the most part before we got here and, based on existing evidence, will carry on quite well after we’ve departed.

          I’m also quite busy trying not to wreck my own life and don’t have the time or interest to involve myself in wrecking other peoples’ lives. I’m sure they are quite good at doing that without any outside assistance.

          1. “Change the world” was a cliche I grew to loathe when I was in higher-ed marketing. If change itself is all you’re after, well, Hitler did change the world…

            1. Well, from a personal perspective it is also a stupid and useless goal.

              The branding around Steve Jobs led some young would be technologists into setting ‘change the world’ as their professional goal.

              Setting famous figures as your professional role models is a bad idea, at least early career. Early on, you can’t tell how good you are, compared to the other professionals. So, the freakishly good ones are not on their own good calibration for expectations. You are also missing information about the folks with the same ability, taking the same risks, who went elsewhere along the way. It is better to base goal thinking on a wider range of ability, ambition, and risk. Okay, it is also harder to find that information, but it is worth tracking down. Looking even at the history of field through its famous figures shows that very few hit extreme success right off the bat, were well known from an early age, and died happy after staying productive the rest of their lives. You see guys who died young in a duel, or whose results were only discovered much later, etc. Setting your expectations really high and really soon is a good way to become demoralized before you’ve gotten good enough to do much.

              It is also a very stupid goal to frame goals in terms of ‘invent widget x’, ‘widget x has y wider result’, ‘y result causes z ‘change’ to the ‘world”. Design techniques for widgets exist, and some of them are even reliable. But there is a great distance between an engineering success, and a marketing and financial success. But, you will never have a lot of good information in advance about what the consequences of the device are, unless they are extremely similar to those an existing device. And, going from the micro scale of your own work, to the macro scale of wider consequences is something you don’t have much control over. You also don’t control whether the wider consequences will change the world in your desired way.

              Fundamentally, it is also a fairly useless goal. Useful goals give you some measurable feedback, so you can keep yourself moving in the desired direction. Effects on things wider than your own work, are more outside of your control, and any measurement is going to also have the noise of what other people are doing. So, either you are going to be deluding yourself about what you accomplish, or be so small, so unrelated and so random that you will likely become demoralized or superstitious.

                1. Lemme expand on that:

                  Exactly.

                  Suppose I want to make a specific type of system, and need funding and team mates.

                  I know of a big wealthy company because it is famous, so obviously that would be a good place to develop my talents. Not necessarily.

                  Fame, as a company, means you have customers coming to you with problems that don’t fit the internal capabilities that you developed.

                  Size and wealth come with a fair amount of administrative and management overhead. Wealth can mean that a lot of projects are funded that are not very important, or whose very concept is itself deeply flawed. Size means a lot of room for dysfunctional teams that won’t kill the company. In particular, there are a number of large software companies who seem to be releasing a lot of stuff with very severe issues, and unnecessary features. With Microsoft on the less bad end of hearsay, and Apple on the more bad. It almost seems like at industry and large company scales, investment funding and management cannot separate great ideas from mediocre idea from terrible ideas.

                  Better to find some other place.

                  If I look for smaller companies, I’m more likely to be able to find a team that I can get along with.

                  If we look at mature engineering disciplines instead of CS, a poorer company doing work funded by uncoerced transactions is almost certain to be benefiting society somehow.

                  However, this would not help someone deeply interested in defense technologies, because of taxation, and government funding decisions.

    1. Having our representatives betray us.
      Over.
      And over.
      And over again.

      I don’t know what it was about Trump that made them tear off their masks and show us that the situation was even much worse than we’d suspected.
      At this point, I’m happy to chalk it up to divine providence

      1. My response disappeared. It’ll probably show up shortly after I push “Post Comment” on this one.

        Trump likely caused them to go nuts for two reasons. The first is that he had no skin in their game. He could tear their whole corrupt edifice down, and wouldn’t really care. And everyone else would suffer as a result. An example of this is probably his assistance to the Ukrainian government to investigate corruption. We know that Hunter is linked to that. We know that Joe Biden directly threatened the Ukrainian government over an attempt to investigate corruption. We know that various other assorted individuals (on both sides of the aisle) are linked to the Ukrainian corruption. So there’s a lot of people who are lining their pockets due to whatever’s going on in Ukraine. And the current Ukrainian government wanted to investigate this, which was a small risk. However, Trump was willing to assist and encourage the Ukrainians in investigating this corruption instead of discouraging them as Joe had done. This represented a much bigger risk.

        Second, Trump represents the idea that anyone can ascend to the presidency. You don’t have to spend time in politics, schmoozing and building relationships. You can just go straight to the White House. That idea can’t be allowed to continue. Only the right people, who spend lots of work building up the right relationships with the right people, can be allowed to move into the White House. No jumping of the line is allowed.

        1. This was my big thing. Trump represented to most of the people in power a threat because he was that fabled “moment of clarity” that some alcoholics have. That point where they realized just how deep a hole they had dug themselves into.

          A few alcoholics find a way out.
          Most dig faster.

          Our political class for the entire Trump Administration was damn well going to dig a four-tube subway to China straight through the core of the Earth at the rate they were going…

        2. Part of why so many of us didn’t trust Trump when he ran is because of that “lack of skin” in many ways, what little “skin” he put in was to the leftoid side of things. Because he had no real skin in the game, and because he hung around with the Clintons, and things he has said over the years, why would we trust him? BUT, as often as I have found reason to dislike him over the years, I can say he never gave me a feeling that he hated the USA. Something I can also say about Bill, although he is a dangerous end of ideas, he also wanted to poll well, so he signed a lot of what the Repubs brought in to keep the winds fair. But Her Wickedness? NOPE. Only person who hates the USA more is Michelle 0bama.

          1. In a lot of ways, Trump is an Odd. He hated parties, but he would go to parties if they went with his current projects or were for a good cause. If not, then not. And the same thing for everything else. There was also the shadow side – if he wanted something or someone, and it didn’t hurt his current project, he would go for it, without worrying about side effects on family.

            Now, that’s kind of hard on things like marriages, but it’s very good for getting projects done.

            But the other way he was Odd was that he tended to call around and make decisions as he felt them, intuitively or artistically, and I’m sure that weirded the heck out of Washington. It’s a very sensible thing to go about things, but it’s the opposite of what the Correct People learn in their Correct Expensive Schools.

              1. Observing him, he is on the spectrum, but specializing in sales. His interpersonal interactions are learned. (Probably from Norman Vincent Peal (his pastor growing up)). He doesn’t ‘feel’ per pressure. My take.

                1. Watching Trump speak… I realized that we think exactly alike. Same sorts of logic leaps and side trips and having to backtrack when normies don’t understand. (“What do you mean, show my work??”) But I understood him perfectly, and even got to where I could anticipate because my brain was going there too. And yes, I think he learned how to interact, it wasn’t natural. (Same here.)

                  As to all the hate and obstruction in D.C., I think the real reason (gleaned from reading the Bender Affidavit) is that the established grifters had previously tried to corrupt Trump, and FAILED, and now he knows who is burying the bodies. And that made him the most dangerous man alive, because he could expose their treason. But Trump was self-constrained by the Constitution, so he couldn’t just hang them from the nearest lamppost.

            1. Which came back to bite him when he would do stream of consciousness “Would this work? Would that work?” kind of stuff when talking to medical experts on covid stuff. We Odds understood what he was doing, but the number of people who didn’t (because not Odd) really hurt him (and us, by extension.)

                1. I’m kind of thinking “What, have you never heard someone brainstorming before?” would have been the most useful response to those comments.

          2. I’m not sure she hates the US more than Barack. There is a distinct possibility that he just has more control over what he says, wears the mask better, etc.

        3. Trump drives them nuts because they consider him an apostate.
          When Trump announced his candidacy, all of the “smart” people knew he wasn’t serious (he was), they knew he was liberal (he wasn’t), and they knew he was only running to show up the rubes in flyover country. Instead, he showed up the “smart” people as rubes.
          That is why they can never forgive him. Or us.

          1. Also they did all the things which are supposed to make Republicans meekly back out and apologize for even thinking to question them and he….. didn’t.

  1. The sad thing is that if the thing Saturday was a “False Flag Thing” to make it look like we were Violent Terrorist types, all the talk about “Possible Violence” and the public preparations for a “fight” likely would have warned any Real Violent Terrorist Types to “Find Another Softer Target”.

    Attack Congress with no Congress Critters around with all those barriers around the building? Heck no, I’d attack when Congress was in session and there weren’t any barriers.

    I sure wouldn’t attack when “they were ready for an attack”. It’s not like there’s a time that I need to launch an attack.

    Oh, I’m no expert on this sort of thing so I’m sure a Real Expect who wanted to cause trouble would think of better ideas. 😉

    1. They’re trying to cover up their disappointment with “HAH! Trump couldn’t get a big crowd in Saturday so his influence is WANING!1!!” and so on. Is there an :eyeroll: emoji?

      1. From what I’ve heard, Trump wasn’t there and told people that it was a Bad Idea to go there.

        But the idiots would ignore those facts.

        1. I was surprised at the announced turnout of 400 idiots protesters. OTOH, there’s got to be somebody at the left end of the bell curve, and somebody, perhaps not quite as stupid to look at the excitement.

          Hell, even MSM was reporting that people figured it was an Admiral Akbar special.

      2. Trump announced more than once, it sounded like a set-up and his supporters and those mad about events should definitely not be anywhere around the thing. Of course, if he still had Twitter, FB et al, they would have had him blabbing that all over the intratubes, so they hoped for some gullible goons to nab.

    2. Did they actually clump up that obviously?? (I have no idea what Event this was) Musta been no one else who would talk to ’em….

      1. Odd observation The camera resolution is such that one should be able to observe leg and arm hair and beard shadow. No none of that. Total soy boys. (soy milk and like products shown to suppress T levels) I suspect these macho men are not very.

    3. It was just more proof that if the FBI were disbanded, there would be no “terrorism” in the US…

  2. Frankly, I keep watching the American “government” and hearing someone quote Romans 1:22 (KJV) in stentorian tones…

    These people are just embarrassing.

  3. There’s an old cop joke that has an FBI agent go into a white supremacist meeting. He’s going there to infiltrate and join the organization, to prevent crimes.

    It doesn’t take him long to realize that the entire organization is made up of Federal agents, all trying to infiltrate the organization, to stop white supremacists.

    The really sad thing is that the rest of us were genuinely busy with things like raising our families, creating things that actually made sense, working on our careers, and so many other things. You lose hope at times, mostly because if this is the quality of our competition, how in the hell can we be losing?

    But, are we losing?

    I keep saying that this is a repeat of the 1970’s. We thought that things were going to finally fall apart in the 1970’s. Truly and completely. But…often the darkest time is before the dawn and it’s rather dark right now.

    But, our enemies are making it so easy to point and laugh at them. I’m watching (involuntarily) the Emmy Awards and none of these people or these shows are things that I know anybody has ever watched. Or want to see.

    And, we’ve seen what the new Elite Status Symbol is for these people-being able to show your face in public without being shamed. We’ve seen how butt-ugly the Emperor is.

    I suspect it’s going to be a nasty few years, but I think it’s going to get better. Doesn’t mean we can’t stop fighting…but don’t let the turkeys get you down.

    1. Joke? AFAIK, it’s happened at least once.

      I love the fact that the only person “arrested” at the event came out as an undercover operator, complete with badge under Antifa(!?) gear.

      1. I know, and there’s a couple of other stories about the local cops doing a raid on some crooks, and it’s the FBI, or DEA, or BATF, or Secret Service and they’re worse criminals than the actual criminals…

        1. Florida, earlier this year. Drug squad rolled full-SWT into a major drug operation, which was being operated by a different drug squad from another jurisdiction. Probably happens fairly often.

          “It’s a pity someone has to win.”

            1. If only the definition of who gets “stopped” didn’t depend on class and political party….

              1. Which is a problem in itself. It’s going to be a question of politics and class, no matter what system we have. I would just prefer one that even the most powerful can get punished if they step enough out of line.

                  1. Only because he ‘stepped out of line’ with the Ruling Elitists.

                    Hey, how long before Queen Hillary’s lawyer Michael Sussman ‘commits suicide’? Should we start a Dead Pool?

      2. Heard a story once from a cop on a now-mostly-defunct gun forum. His agency got word of a skinhead group operating in their jurisdiction potentially plotting some kind of attack and sent a deputy undercover to infiltrate the group. Long story short, they turned up evidence that an attack was imminent and moved to roll up the group. But before they could, unmarked vans and SUVs swarmed the meeting, and a whole bunch of guys in black tactical gear with machine guns ended up in a Mexican Standoff outside the building. Turned out that every single member of the group was undercover law enforcement, and the “white supremacist group” had been set up by the BATFE as a sweep/sting operation to pick up dope dealers and gun runners, while the FBI had “radicalized” it into attacking minorities.

        1. I’ve heard a similar story. Maybe even the same one. They spent more than a year setting it up, trolling for ‘radicals’, and didn’t rope in one single genuine ‘White Supremacist’.

          Maybe there aren’t ‘White Supremacists’ lurking behind every bush after all?

    2. The only things on the idiot box that I find remotely interesting are Fox News, anime and an upcoming series on the History Channel with Mike Rowe. Maybe the occasional old movie I haven’t seen yet.

      What has happened to people who knew how to tell a story? Shows like Bones, and Babylon 5, and even Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Sleepy Hollow started off good, but they ran it into the ground after about 4 years. The Last Ship sunk somewhere in the third season. I gave Krypton a chance, but it let me down. Everything in the last 5 or 6 years has been so bad, even the ADS are crap. The ads that were supposed to make people want to watch those shows had the opposite effect on me.

      Ted Sturgeon was an optimist. It’s all turned to crap.

      1. Marketing, mostly. The Hip New Thing for advertisers to sell to (so I’ve been told) is streaming services, YouTube, TikTok, and their ilk. Anything that isn’t streaming friendly is considered to be a part of “legacy media,” and for the most part that is the market of people that are either so poor that they’ll watch anything and like it, or they’re in the 60+ age range and marketing sells to that.

        It’s amazing what doing a marketing certificate program will tell you about some people’s priorities…

      2. Part of it is the need to keep telling a good story season after season. Even Babylon 5 eventually suffered. I’ve never seen season 5 myself, but there are many who view it as weaker than the earlier seasons. And JMS’s subsequent attempts to tell new Babylon 5 stories all failed. Crusade might have been the fault of the network as JMS claimed. But I wasn’t impressed by Legend of the Rangers. And that – afaik – was all on him.

        Part of it also, I think, is that the lead writers don’t really know where the show is going. They know where it’s going *this* season. But they don’t know where it’s going *next* season. Or the season after that. And so on. And so the longer the show runs, the more it starts drifting aimlessly because there was never any overall idea of where the show was supposed to go in the long-term. And even if the writers wanted to tell a five season story – like Babylon 5 – the executives likely wouldn’t let that happen. If the show does well, the executives will try and force it to keep running. The executives don’t want five year story arcs because those imply that the show will only last for five years, tops. They want a show that will run for twenty – assuming the viewership keeps up, of course.

        1. Nah. It’s a plausible hypothesis but the real world doesn’t bear it out.

          Look up Detective Conan. 😋

          It’s all about the story.

          And propaganda is the death of art.

        2. My understanding was Babylon 5 was planned as a 5 season series, but they got told they were slated for cancellation around season 4.

          Because of that, the authors tried to wrap everything up in season 4, so when it got renewed for season 5, they’d already burned through to lunch of the story to do a full 5th season.

          1. Actually I think they thought they were dead end of Season 3. They got picked up by one of the Cable groups (USA, TNT?) for season 4 and affiliates that had had season 1-3 were allowed to get season 4.
            Season 4 was getting numbers not as good as hoped early in the process(possibly because folks were staying on the original affiliates?), so season 5 became dubious. JMS (show originator/runner) started feeding much of the story he had into season 4 so they would finish in Season 4. To some degree all this additional material made season 4 pop and they got (by the skin of their teeth) Season 5. But many of the storylines that JMS had remaining were meant as NON storyline shows (might call it filler, but much of B5’s filler was better than 90%+ of contemporary shows). Thus season 5 has an odd tempo. Also part of the resolution there is with the Telepaths, and just well didn’t work to my taste as it got a bit preachy. And that is the tale of B5 Season 5 as I saw it 🙂 .

          2. I think Person of Interest had a planned multi-season run, and IMHO, did a good job of keeping the threads together for the duration of the show.

        3. I’m not convinced that you have to plan things out long-term to create good story arcs. A pattern I’ve seen in anime is to plan a good arc for a season, and maybe put little “tendrils” that can act as hooks into the next season, so that there’s good tie-ins and cliff-hangers, but if that season doesn’t materialize for whatever reason, people can live with that.

          I’ve heard how “Back to the Future” is a good example of planning an entire trilogy out, but it turns out that only the first movie was planned, until the Studio came to the Directors and said “We’re going to make a sequel. If you’re unwilling to be a part of it, we’ll find someone else who will do it!” and they managed to improvise two very good sequels from there.

          Star Wars was allegedly planned out from beginning to end, but it didn’t work out so well. Then again, it wasn’t as planned out as Lucas had originally implied! So that’s not exactly the best data point for this observation.

          From looking at how series play out, I have come to two general conclusions: first, any series should have at least two seasons to get their bearings — there’s a surprising number of shows that take about this long to build an audience, and find their direction; second, any series should be limited to 12 seasons, because after lasting that long, the authors begin to lose track of the series, and it goes into “zombie mode”.

          I personally like 13-episode and 26-episode story arcs; while I appreciate shows like “Fairy Tale”, the random-length story arcs can get pretty tiresome.

          1. Keep in mind that many anime series are very successful manga, and run the same stories and story arcs (until the anime catches up). These same manga also often have an overall story arc intended by the author… at least until the author proves too successful, and is persuaded by the publisher to keep pushing back the final story (ex. Rumoko Takashi).

            1. My comments are focused more on the American market, and what screws up shows over on this side of the Pacific.

              Much of it flat out doesn’t apply to what goes on in Japan, where there’s a completely different approach to things like story arcs in the shows. Putting together a show that’s only supposed to last for one season is the norm in the anime industry there.

              1. I’m additionally going to note that Babylon 5 ran five seasons.

                Also, Rumiko Takahashi’s series usually (Maison Ikokku is an exception) run at least five seasons (Urusei Yatsura – her first – ran for six – plus several OVAs, and half a dozen movies). Surely LGoH can do better than a measly four seasons?

                Finally, Detective Conan – mentioned above – has been running since 1996.

                The longest running animated series period that I can find with a quick search comes up to opinion. Doraemon episodes have apparently been airing ever since 1979. But one series of the show ended in 2005, and another Doraemon series immediately started that same year. That series is still running. Meanwhile, in the US, The Simpsons has been running for 32 seasons. So far as I know, both shows are purely episodic (though I haven’t ever watched Doraemon, so I’m not certain about that one), and don’t do the story arc thing.

      3. Remember Fox News went full retard after the election, claiming “no fraud” and licking Biden’s shoes.

        They’re just the other face of the enemedia.

        1. There’s still some good stuff on Fox. Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Jeanine Pirro and Tammy Bruce tell it like it is.

      4. I’ve turned to watching anime on Crunchyroll. At least the stories make sense, and I can compare and contrast the show with the book in many cases. Young Japanese humor is NOT the same as American or young American humor. And it’s way different than what the Brits think is funny.

        1. Be careful about that. Crunchyroll got bought out recently by Funmation, who’s owned by Sony. The Sony localization teams are here in California and there’s been a few controversies of Funmation productions having done some major “social justice” edits-to the point where a few of the rights holders in Japan were making noises of “fix this now or we’re pulling the rights to the show and keeping the money you paid for it.”

          There’s a reason why I went and got a copy of BitTorrent and started to sail the high seas…

          1. I have not found, “Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?” to be overly laden with wokeness. Heroic cuteness. And an interesting take on classic mythology.

            Guess I’ll see how “How Not to Summon a Demon Lord” looks.

            1. My one peeve with ‘Pick Up Girls’ was that the main character was ridiculously overpowered for no particular reason. He ‘just happened’ to have some inexplicable power-up.

              ‘How Not To Summon A Demon Lord’ is a hoot. ‘Diablo’ is also overpowered, but there’s a logical reason. He’s a boss-level character, but also a socially inept nerdboy. The conflict gets him into some wacky situations.

              1. Was laughing my ass off watching the first 3 episodes.
                Thank goodness too. I needed something to counter the dryness of tonight’s town budget meeting.

            1. Once again, don’t have the information immediately to hand, but there were a number of “sensitivity” edits in a few anime, some BLM and TDS references, and when Crunchyroll was bringing over a gatcha game from Japan, they had cut out the dating/dress up options from the game because it was “problematic” and “objectifying women.”

              Funmation, I know did some serious sensitivity and political editing on the early simulcasts of Prison School, enough that the creator and the rights holder in Japan were making “stop this crap now or we’ll pull the rights.” Rumors of other edits as well.

              Sony America’s translation branch for Playstation has been known to reject anything that is slightly spicy and do visual edits on anything that might remotely titillate.

              Lots of morons out there in the anime field these days. LOTS.

    3. The CPUSA used to welcome FBI agents. They were the only one who consistently paid their dues. Apparently the Party wasn’t ready to discard capitalism yet.

    4. I have a VIKI subscription now and that’s all I watch, for anything resembling tv. Asian movies and drama, primarily Korean.

      I’m not sure what to make of the fact that for the last several years all the best romantic comedies have come from mainland China.

        1. Only part of it.

          Part of it might be the Beijing’s censorship (Seoul has similar laws) probably doesn’t allow the writers to fall back on gratuitous sex to maintain interest. So the plot has to be what keeps the viewers. It also helps that the Communist Party, and socialism in general, only get mentioned if the series is set in a school (where the students might mention their required Marxism class).

            1. So…. maybe more restrictions are in order generally? cuz I’m quite weary of all these unconstrained results. I’ve sometimes said that big-budget SFX was the death of good media SF, because then they could just dazzle everyone. Whereas if the SFX budget covered three paper cups and a tube of glue, they had to made do with better stories, characters, and plot.

              1. Reziac said “because then they could just dazzle everyone”. It seems worse than that. Because the DAZZLE is what folks look for anything even approaching intellectual gets lost as each spectacle tries to outdo all the previous ones. This seems to start at Star Wars ( The original thank you) and Lucas kept pushing and pushing even in that first set of movies. Although folks have done story (LOTR) although even in LOTR the scale of the battles was beyond things that had been seen before

                1. I’ve spent entirely too much time talking with the people who make things work in H’wood. The writers are abused by the studios, directors, and actors. When you see businessmen portrayed as slime, that’s who they deal with on a daily basis. Look at the Big Men running the studios, Harvey, such a great supporter of women, how about Mel Gibson, or James Cameron? People who aren’t in the limelight, who work their butts off detest what they see as “businessmen”. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t understand business at all. They largely work for corporations created for a project, which then dissolves when shooting is finished. There is no job security, just the next project if you get to bid on it.

                  Imagine that you work for ILM. Now imagine that George treats you like just another vendor, your margin is 7%! As a result you find yourself looking for any project which fits your hard earned skill sets. It’s not a particularly benevolent environment.

              2. Not so much more restrictions as making sure that people build a good foundation before they try to add all of those special effects to hide weak plot and bad acting.

                Trying to work out “good plot” is hard. Sticking additional CGI in to cover the sins of a bad story is easy.

                1. “Trying to work out “good plot” is hard.”

                  I don’t know for video, but plot isn’t *that* hard, is it? There’s enough good stuff out there to pull from, adapt, and file the serial numbers off. Worst comes to worst, the three act storyline still works.

                  It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. To think you’ve written yourself into a hole. I currently have more plots than I can ever write (I think), not enough to last until the heat death of the universe but neither so few they can be told on a Sunday afternoon in full. But there exists a wealth of story out there both in fiction and fact to tell. Stories great and small, wild and mundane, but interesting all the same.

                  Maybe I’m wrong. But I believe many times “hard to plot” has been an instance of getting in my own way, at least for me.

                  1. Look up “elevator pitch.”

                    Seriously.

                    Now, you have to explain to investors that are demanding a major return on their investment that they give you money and you have two minutes-at most-to explain how your story works versus a sizzle reel with explosions, car chases, sex, and a beautiful set of assets.

                    It’s easier to explain explosions or “like (popular movie) but…” than to spell out a complicated plot.

                    1. Makes sense. It’s kind of like writing the book blurb. You need to set the stage, give an idea of the setting and character in the first bit. Introduce conflict in the second bit. Expand a bit and set the hook a bit more in the third. A mini three act plot without the conclusion, something to get the reader interested enough to plonk down the dough. That’s basically book blurbs in a nutshell.

                      I expect investors to be a bit more jaded than the average reader, though.

                    2. Now you’ve got me wondering where my stories would fit a “two movies” pitch. And given that I hardly ever watch movies (too many books, not enough time. Also need to write. Or read. Both of those things), uh…

                      It’s kind of like the Big Sleep crossed with Safehold, if they ever made a film about the latter. Which sounds complicated as all get out, but it isn’t. Quite.

                      Maybe I should just stick to books. *chuckle*

                    3. It’s not so much jaded…as much as “keep it simple, stupid” and big explosions, gun-fights, and tits are simple in comparison to epic-level plots.

                      And, I HATE writing book blurbs. Especially for myself. It’s tricky, but I’m developing that skill.

                    4. Well, it is a skill. Not as important as writing a good, engaging story maybe, but important nonetheless.

                      I’m still working on *not* ending every installment with another damned cliffhanger. It feels like lazy writing, but I swear I’m not doing it on purpose. I’d *like* to write the sort of satisfying conclusion that stops right where it needs to, while still leaving open the possibility of more story in the future. That’s… tough, for me.

                    5. Tie ins can happen without cliffhangers. I hold this as an article of faith! Even though I totally suck at it! I just want to get to the point where the protagonist can put his feet up by a toasty fire, objective achieved, good meal with friends done, satisfied and happy… But then he pauses. Wait a minute. What ever happened to the whatsit on the mountain? Did we ever…? Oh, crap. The End.

                      Little hooks like that. More practice is always good. In theory. As long as you’re not practicing bad habits, of course. But the way to good writing is through the valley of bad writing, all the way. Or so I’m told.

                    6. Fanfiction is not such an egregious sin. You can learn a lot by writing fanfiction and trying to get better. I started out in horror and moved on from there, and when I look back at it… *shudder*

                      Just got to keep putting story to page.

                    7. *chuckle* Yeah, that is true. But the slush pile anywhere can be said the same. I sometimes drop in on Royal Road and throw a few edit suggestions to newbie writers that look like they’ve got talent. Some of the goods are very, very good. But some of the bads are just sad. Those, I don’t even know how to help.

                      There are a few I just want to grab them by the lapels and give a good shake. Put it on Amazon and SELL IT! It’s that good. A few.

                      But I will say this. It’s a very, very good time to be a reader. There’s enough out there to slake the reading appetite for nigh any taste. That also means a good time to be a writer, too, I think. Because finishing a good book tends to mean you want to read another good book. People that keep reading, and like your stuff, will eventually come back around when a new volume comes out.

                      Back in the nineties and late eighties, there would be weeks and months between the next new book sometimes in the authors and genre I read then. Now? The TBR pile, it grows…

                    8. There’s an amazing amount of stuff out there to read. I’m just having trouble sorting out the wheat from the chaff. Or having an author do good for a while…then, hit a level of fundamental stupid.

                    9. Yeah…

                      *types, deletes long winded rant*

                      As a reader, an editor, and as a fellow writer, I know that you can get away with a *lot* of crap if the story is engaging. But breaking reader trance is always, always bad. Doesn’t matter how good you think what you wrote is, if it consistently breaks reader trance, it needs fixing. Or, as I heard it the oncet, “Thou shalt not f*ck up the flow.”

                      Then again the creeping political OMFG, WHY?! moments, those are getting… irritating. Some certain writers I wish would get a come to Bobus moment and realize that when your bread and butter is entertainment, switching tracks to crude political activism is not a winning strategy. You can do politics in a story. Viz. Eric Flint, David Weber, our host here, and Larry Correia. What you don’t do is jam it in there without trying to fit it into the existing story.

                      I’m wondering in some cases if it isn’t an editor or something like pushing this stuff- because I’m seeing more of the crude political stuff lately. It is unprofessional, and that offends me. Doesn’t that mean I win? According to the current popular political landscape?

                    10. Breaking reader trance-especially when I can tell your “research” is what you saw on a bad sitcom or in your Gender Studies class-is one of the greatest sins of a writer. It falls down to the first mortal sin of any creative-Thou Shall Not Waste The Customer’s Time. You can get away with a lot if you don’t waste the customer’s time.

                      And, crude political activism in any escapist fiction is the ultimate waste of time. Even if they can’t quite identify it, they can tell when they’re being lectured to. Most people don’t like being lectured to, they get enough of that in their real lives.

                      And, it is unprofessional. And dull. Sad, as well.

                    11. Thou Shall Not Waste The Customer’s Time.

                      Bingo. Boring the reader, confusing the reader, seriously irritating the reader, all fall under this. Used to, I’d complain of the unnecessary infodump, the author’s Favorite Hobby Horse being trotted woodenly out for the fifty-third time, and the lack of character development, plot structure, or another invincible Mary Sue. The One World Government tropes I could ignore, despite the mild irritation. The aliens that acted just like cousin Bob, I could ignore, for a bit.

                      The lecturing is just too much. That’s a good way to put it, by the way. The author that feels a need to lecture his readers has issues that this reader doesn’t really want to know about. Or care.

                    12. The infodump is one of those tools that you have to very carefully use. I’ve always considered David Weber’s use of it in the Honor Harrington series to be one of the best examples for it. It explains everything, but only rarely outstays it’s welcome.

                      The lecture is something I hate. And you can tell when it is happening.

                    13. David Weber writes his infofumps in a particular way that saves them from being boring. And this isn’t my observation, but one stolen from a better man (and editor) than I: His infodumps generally follow the three act structure. They’re like micro stories within the story. Anyone who tends to infodump, look at how David does it. It is engaging, interesting, and follows enough of a familiar pattern to keep you invested in the story.

                      It looks like a simple thing, but doing it well, now that may not be so easy. Deadlifting an engine block is simple- just pick it up. Lift with your legs. Doesn’t make it easy. Unless you’re seriously ripped.

                    14. Depends on your strengths and weaknesses. It teaches some good habits and some bad habits, and depending on what skill set you start with, it may start you off badly or well for original writing.

                    15. True enough. Some people just want to play around with their favorite characters, and that’s fine. Others want better stories… And that can teach good habits. Can.

                      All depends on the person, I guess. You can learn a lot from failure, too, if you’ve a mind to.

                    16. It does, and sometimes you get some of the most interesting interpertations of the original characters and materials in the fan-fiction communities.

                      God knows I had to learn how to build characters when I started writing on my own.

                    17. Or setting.

                      And in both cases, it does the opposite of teach you to file off the serial numbers while stealing. If your main character meets someone on the way to school in an original fiction, and it starts off like Harry Potter meeting Draco Malfoy, it is a good thing to consider whether the Draco character really has to act like Draco.

                    18. It’s Conan the Barbarian vs the hippies, set on Hoth.

                      Granted, it did take me until the third book to realize the nihlistic, grimy, drugged out, violent hedonists were the hippies, the *actual* hippies of the 60’s and 70’s because all I’d seen of them were the haliographies the media likes to push ever since then. Have a very illuminating perspective of what the 60’s and 70’s were actually like…

                      I do need to read that trilogy again…

                    19. Speaking of hippies, I ran across this from a link off Neo’s blog and it’s too good not to share:

                      Inside the LC: The Strange But Mostly True Story of Laurel Canyon and the Birth of the Hippie Generation by Dave McGowan, chronicling the advent of the folk-rock/hippie scene in the second half of the ’60s and how there are all these suspicious ties to the intelligence community and the military.

                      From part 2:

                      The question that we will be tackling is a more deeply troubling one: “what if the musicians themselves (and various other leaders and founders of the ‘movement’) were every bit as much a part of the intelligence community as the people who were supposedly harassing them?” What if, in other words, the entire youth culture of the 1960s was created not as a grass-roots challenge to the status quo, but as a cynical exercise in discrediting and marginalizing the budding anti-war movement and creating a fake opposition that could be easily controlled and led astray? And what if the harassment these folks were subjected to was largely a stage-managed show designed to give the leaders of the counterculture some much-needed ‘street cred’? What if, in reality, they were pretty much all playing on the same team?

                      Unfortunately, the author, Dave McGowan (who is apparently also a 9/11 truther), never really develops this thesis other than to note how a whole lot of crime got ignored by the cops if the perps were famous. What we get is a bunch of innuendo, unlikely coincidences, occult references, family connections, true crime, MK-ULTRA allusions, unexplored Manson connections, and gossip. Most of the gossip is about how awful John Phillips and David Crosby were, which is fine by me, they always creeped me out. Also how manufactured/synthetic most of the bands of the time and place were; it wasn’t limited to The Monkees.

                      Maybe the thesis is better developed when he took a series of 21 blog posts and re-edited them for a book (which I bought on Kindle because why not), but I don’t have my hopes up much. Still: fun, and a very different take on the LA hippie scene from the standard narrative.

                    20. The Skaith trilogy by Leigh Brackett.

                      I think Baen still has them for sale in eBook form.

                      Look for
                      1) The Ginger Star
                      2) The Hounds of Skaith
                      3) The Reavers of Skaith

                    21. Ah, fan fiction. Which led me to propose that many of those authors are graduates of ‘The Infinite Number Of Monkeys School Of Writing’. A few of them must be dropouts. I also made up ‘8 Rules For Better Writing’.

                    22. Because I was young and stupid and could actually write, I edited some of my girlfriend’s Ranma 1/2 fanfics.

                      In massive retrospect, I should have gotten out ASAP when she even suggested this. Or read the first chapter. There were…assumptions that were terrifying.

              3. Part of it. But I think at the same time, a lot of Western Rom-Coms focus too much on the sex, and not enough on the romance. Stricter government censorship from Beijing and Seoul (at least, that’s what I’m pretty sure is going on) that keeps the gratuitous nudity out of the Rom-Coms means that time gets allocated back to the romance, where it belongs.

                Also, it helps if a Rom-Com has at least a certain level of sophistication. IMO, keeping out the gratuitous sex helps with this. An essential part of a Rom-Com is the comedy aspect, and sex mixed with comedy usually (at least, in the West) trends toward the crude. That doesn’t mean that the writers ignore sex altogether. But the censorship means that the writers are forced to keep sex more in the background. It exists. The main couple might even engage in it at some point. But it’s not the primary focus, or even the secondary focus.

            2. And censorship.

              Shakespeare wrote under censorship.

              Mind you, it tended to be mild and unlike the current day, consistent.

              1. So I had a look at the hippie thing Balzacq recommended. very entertaining long on coincidence and innuendo but rather short on ummm facts.

                The thought occurred that you could write exactly the same sort of thing, minus the murders, about the guests at my wedding and 9/11. “His father, unsurprisingly, was an ex Army officer involved with ….. His uncles were west pointers who became Air Force intelligence and were heavily involved in the development of ….. His wife’s father was ex Navy with a long career in the fire department, was on duty in FDNY HQ that day, the best man works for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and lives near Groton Ct, where the US Navy builds its submarines,, several other guests worked for various military industrial complex firms or for secret intelligence organizations. His Brothers in law, both senior policemen who, conveniently, arrived after the towers had fallen. His mother’s family were deeply involved with the British army with family links to …. It’s clear then ….

                Still, a ripping yarn and who knew they were all Heinlein fans or that Heinlein was a rabid right winger? It’s also clear that a lot of these people were just horrible. that’s what I took away, what a bunch of awful, unhappy people.

    5. Until vote fraud of every kind is eliminated, the majority of Americans will never elect a candidate who actually represents them…

      1. It’s always going to be a human system, made by human beings. Which is to say imperfect and able to be fooled.

        I’d like for us to have a higher class and quality of fool making the mistakes. If only because it’ll be more interesting.

    6. The sad thing is we have been living, working, exploring, creating, and just wanted to be left alone. They really do not realize what is coming. I feel such sadness for what could have been. Fortunately the sheer ability to rebuild resides with us not with them as they can only destroy.

  4. The “demonstration” on the 18th was in theory a protest that people are still in solitary from the Jan 6 brou-ha-ha. The joke of having nothing but a demonstration of FBI, Capitol (Pelosi’s Own) police and other false flag types just makes me wonder if the video of Jan. 6 would show the same people encouraging trouble. Whose insurrection? Looks like Pelosi’s.

    More important, good fortune with repairs, moves, driving and home sales. Once through this things will be better.

    1. Antefa and BLM were sending out messages for weeks before January 6 telling their ‘activists’ to dress up as Trump supporters, infiltrate the crowds and cause trouble. Many of them were caught on video there, identified from previous videos of them rioting in multiple cities throughout 2020. NONE of them were arrested. Instead, the Fibbies are conducting SWAT raids on grandmothers who weren’t even IN D.C on January 6. Even granting that they are evil, they are still stupid and incompetent.

    1. Somebody’s gotta run the thing. And everyone involved always fools themselves into believing it will be them.

      1. Of course! They’re the only ones with the organizational knowledge, the management skills, and the secret handshake.

        That someone else might not give a damn about their organization, management, or clique is usually a surprise. France had to learn that lesson three times in the 19th century, three more times in the 20th, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have to learn it again soon.

        “Tumbrils? NON! Watch what the hydraulics on this garbage truck can do…”

        1. The problem is – and what they never realize until it’s too late – is that they’re invariably up against someone who is quite willing to burn the whole thing down if they can’t get their way. Oh, the bureaucrats might make noise about doing the same. But they don’t really mean it. They’ve invested too much into the system. They can’t really imagine life without out. It would be easier for them to rip their own hearts out than it would be to carry out on a threat to burn their system down.

            1. Yes, they have hearts. Those hearts might not value the same things that you do. But they have them. You can tell this by how strongly they end up clinging to the wrong things.

  5. You really do wonder if these guys’ dresser looks at the menswear pages in the Wall Street Journal (the funny pages, as I’ve been known to call them) and decided that indeed, “Middle America” dresses just like that, but in the cheaper version.

    Black socks. Really?

      1. Not just black crew socks, but I think those are fairly high end (Bombas) that are beloved of the wealthy aristoi. Somewhere there was a meme of the influencer dude with the long nails saying, don’t worry I dressed them so they’ll blend in nicely….

    1. I saw a Gab posting awarding major points to whoever convinced the Glowies to wear “jorts”.

      Hell, I have a pair, but post-op when I was uncomfortable in long pants (that damned scar was sensitive. Sigh.), the jorts stayed in the closet. The fact that they’re a dirt magnet has something to do with it, but they’re damned impractical. (I really like cargo pockets. Amazing what can be carried in one.)

  6. The good news is the level of mockery this is getting. Yesterday ‘s Twitter was rather entertaining.
    OTOH I’m waiting to get shellacked for telling a mask Karen that maybe the guy at the car wash who WASN’T WEARING A MASK! has a better sense of risk assessment than she does. (She thinks he’s a part of “the Death Cult,” who doesn’t care about the danger he’s putting himself and, more importantly, her in by his refusal to Follow the Science).
    Also noting the small but growing number of tweets pointing out conservatives, red states, and evangelicals are happier, more relaxed and just doing better than secular liberals in big, blue cities.

      1. I want to point on one observation here. Small round shields are primarily for OFFENSIVE use. They’re meant for bashing and limb breaking. The large rectangular ones are what you use for defensive crowd barricades and for protection from throw objects and cover from small arms fire. These “police” were meant to be a flying offensive unit against a large crowd.

  7. Um. There was a protest scheduled in DC yesterday? Must have gotten left off the memo, again. Not that I’d head that way anytime soon, or the rest of this decade.

    1. It was supposed to be a protest over the Jan 6th people who are in solitary without being charged.

      Most people who found out about it (myself included) learned of it when they started hearing that the Federal government was putting the fences back up in response to a planned protest on the 18th. This meant that none of the people who run big conservative sites – including Ace and Instapundit – had heard anything about it until the Feds mentioned it.

      1. It is interesting that feds would arrange a fake demonstration about something the Biden regime might prefer not be publicized.

        Before coffee, metaphorically speaking, so my initial analysis suggested internal rebellion.

        Then I remember that this regime has idiotic statements of power written all over. So perhaps there is a moron somewhere thinking that Americans are not aware enough of the solitary without charged/prisoner abuse, angles.

          1. The January 6 ‘insurrection’ was supposed to be the Reichstag Fire. They used it as an excuse to turn Washington into East Berlin. I was waiting for them to put in the guard towers and mine fields.

            Now, 8 1/2 months after the Reichstag Fizzle, they’re still hyping it up.

  8. The comment about the USSR pulling tubes on trucks to look like missiles reminded me…back when that was first revealed in 2000 (I think) I mentioned it to one of my intro American politics classes. I used it as an example of Soviet propaganda and how even US agencies had been suckered. The next time class met one of my students mentioned that they had told their history prof, who was a friend of mine, about it. And the prof had expressed deep disbelief. Same prof, next time I saw her, told me what student had said, and used a tone to suggest a “can you believe how badly this student misunderstood you” way. I responded, no, it’s true, and yes, I did tell the class. She stared at me. I said, I’ll send you the article. She had a really hard time with that one. Her reaction was not out of the ordinary either.

    1. sad part is, this was not new news to many, and a well used through history method of camouflage and subterfuge. Like using logs to convince Red Coats you got heavy cannon upon that ridge, they best beat feet and not try to take the place.

      1. Even sadder when you know she is an American history prof. But I don’t think she considered military/propaganda history to be of interest to her.

          1. Speaking of empty propaganda. Crypto is crashing this morning. World stock markets are starting to realize that Evergrande is an effect not a cause.

            Here we go, here we go, here we go.

              1. Better to get it over with. The margin calls are going out q.v., Sitic. may be something, may be nothing.

                If China lets evergrande and the rest fail, they’ll actually be more capitalist than we are. In the US the FED would have bailed Evergrande out in April. Just sayin. And the three red lines that show how oppressive China regulation is are (a) actually not very restrictive and (b) common sense. Were US companies not backed by the Powell Put — which follows on the Yellen Put, the Bernake Put, and the Greenspan Put, the market would put similar limits on them,instead they’re loading up with debt to buy back shares that they then reissue to themselves as equity compensation. Again, just sayin.

                That said, Crypto remains the wildcard. No one knows where that is and how much money was borrowed to buy it.

      2. Or the decoy divisions of inflatable tanks, trucks and airplanes we used to convince Hitler the D-Day landings would be at Calais.

        If you look at a map, Calais seems to be the obvious place to invade. Unless you know something about the terrain.

        1. I doubt they were inflatable…

          Plywood and wire work just as well, and don’t pop in bad weather. 😛 I’ve actually seen pictures of fake planes built that way during World War 2 to fool photo German photo recon aircraft (though these particular fake planes were in North Africa).

          Also assigned Gen. Patton to command that army, knowing that his presence would cause the Germans to give the decoys extra weight. That lasted until he took command of the Third Army in July after the landings.

          1. they used rubberised fabric and made tanks and large Dueces that were inflated and anchored in place. You can find old footage of soldiers tipping the tanks over and laughing about it.
            iirc a Hollywood set smarty was involved

            1. If memory serves, (the correct book is elsewhere) the general for the fake army was one G. Patton, before he got to run a real army.

              1. Patton did over-see the Fake Army but the reason he did was that he had commanded Real Armies so the Germans knew about him.

                The Germans thought Patton would have been a good choice to command an invasion force.

              2. That must have been an interesting entry in his resume: Commanding General of Inflatable Army, Feb-June 1944 😛

              3. One of the reasons why Patton was available to “run” the fake army was because he’d been involved in the infamous slapping incident, while commanding the US 7th Army in Sicily, and subsequently been relieved of command due to the public outcry when word got out.

    2. In think it was “Inside the Aquarium” where the author was talking about the “rail bridge” they build across the Rhine. Apparently it was so flimsy they had divers on top of the rail cars to grab the train operators ins acre the train broke through the tracks.

      A Western observer noticed them and asked what they were for. He replied, anti-aircraft. He was astonished, and amused to find it published in the Western papers in the morning.

      The Russians have always been very good at overstating their capabilities. Americans have always been very good at under stating their capabilities. Yet each assume to other to be lying the way they themselves do. It often causes difficulties when either party is suddenly disabused of their illusions…

    3. > pulling tubes on trucks to look like missiles

      Pakistan still does that. It’s a military shell game; good defensive practice; ‘x’ number of trucks are rolling, how many have missiles? Some trucks pull into a covered area, then leave; even if you knew which trucks had real missiles before, you can’t necessarily tell one from another from orbital or high-altitude reconaissance.

      We did the same thing during the Cold War; on alerts, some B-52s carried nukes, some carried conventional weapons, some weren’t even armed. SAC made great efforts to conceal which were which. They would “orbit” in a long loop along the west coast and up to Alaska when saber-rattling was going on.

      1. Oh, yeah. My dad’s unit in Germany on the German-German border did that. The difference with the USSR is that the large majority of their “missiles” on trucks, weren’t. But for some reason, the US decided to count them all. That started the arms race. Problem for the Soviet Union was that they couldn’t afford to make real missiles and that eventually broke their system.

    1. At least one story that I heard, the police confronted a person that they thought was armed and he carefully showed that he was armed but also showed them his id as an undercover police/FBI type.

      The police apparently didn’t handcuff him but did take him out of the area.

  9. No, no, we are totally doomed.

    How do I know this?

    I just got the latest edition of the tables of reference, and it says so. That is authoritative.

    If it is in a book, it must be true.

  10. Heck, just finished an unofficial history of the CIA, ‘Legacy of Ashes” and all the examples of them going beyond their mandates, if not downright disobeying presidential orders, are mind-blowing. And then you read about them paying for ‘intelligence’ that is at best completely fabricated, if not enemy psy-ops. These are the nitwits who are supposed to protect us?

    1. There’s a small minority of people in every organization who are trying to do their jobs well, and a large majority of people who are idiots and lazy, or idiots and industrious, or on the take, or…..

      Unfortunately the CIA is full of idiots. Not completely full, but very full.

  11. You know, I hate this. Because those guys could be any gathering of military I’ve ever seen. From the mid-80s to now. They don’t look like Feds to me, they look like military in civilian clothes. And yes, if they’re from a single unit, they might have all bought identical sunglasses. Because they can be dorky that way.

    I just REALLY hate this whole meme.

    1. On the other hand, look closer and you’ll see some of them printing, strongly suggesting they were carrying concealed firearms.

      You know, the kind of thing that’s illegal in DC if you’re not a gov’t agent or kissed enough of the right political butts.

      1. Really? Which ones? I don’t see a single guy in that meme photo printing. They’re all carrying huge wallets in their front pockets, but that’s not unusual. I think carrying that much stuff in your wallet is absurd, but I see lots of guys doing it.

        I really would appreciate having the printing pointed out to me. I blew the pic up and examined it closely.

        1. I was referring to the front pocket bulges, which seemed more to me to be a compact pistol than a wallet.

          That said, while I have heard of people carrying a wallet in their front pocket to make it more difficult to steal, I didn’t think of that possibility.

          In any case, it’s one of the lesser suggestions of undercover agents.

          1. A lot of men’s shorts don’t have back pockets for some reason. If you’re lucky you’ll get one small disco pocket.

          2. I don’t carry a gun, so I don’t know from printing. I can say, however, that I carry my phone and my wallet in my front left pocket and a big bundle of keys in my right front pocket, which create bulges. So much so that a woman I was canoodling with a few years ago asked me “what is all that stuff?”

            Wallet in my front is harder to pickpocket, and doesn’t throw off my back from perpetually sitting crooked.

            1. I always carry my wallet in the front pocket and I don’t keep all my money in it. Left overs from growing up in NYC in the 1970’s when it was dark, dirty, and dangerous, you know, urban and edgy, what all the a—hole hipsters are pining for. if you were held up by a junkie, and it usually was a junkie, you’d show him the money, throw it one way and go the other.

            2. … and doesn’t throw off my back from perpetually sitting crooked.

              THIS. So very much this. I have never liked sitting on things in my pockets, so I always have everything in my front two pockets. As it happens, same as balzacq: wallet and phone front left, keys front right. But the important thing is not sitting on them. I can’t find the quote, but I still remember a chiropractor (I think) saying that the best thing you can do for your back is to stop putting things in your back pockets.

              1. In my case it was my regular massage therapist, who also convinced me to switch from a messenger bag to a backpack for my laptop and EDC stuff.

          3. The high black socks are to help hide small pistols in ankle holsters; black hides them much better than white tube socks would. Standard LEO practice.

          1. My P365 pocket holster makes it look like I have a packerback book in my pocket. Need bigger pants I guess.

            1. Mrs. TRX sometimes uses a “belt box” to carry her Ruger LCP. It’s a rectangular box with a magnetic flap. Not inconspicuous in the least… but most people mistake it for a cellphone holster.

          2. Most of my carry pistols have mounted lights, and with a StickyHolster look more like a trucker’s wallet than a firearm. I’ve been thinking about running a chain to them to complete the subterfuge.

          1. We had a very nice GOP fund raiser cruise this weekend. 50-60 folks, 3 brand new congressional candidates, a couple of local office candidates. 4 hours out to the Isle of Shoals and back, beautiful weather and calm seas. Just about perfect.

            1. (Unfortunately, the Coast Guard prohibits carrying firearms on board commercial motor vessels. I didn’t notice anyone printing, so I assume most left their ccw in their vehicles.)

    2. Honestly, they look like military to me, too – the haircuts, the fitness and body-language, the general sameness of clothing, watches and sunglasses – as if that’s all that was available at the PX.

  12. Remember Robert A. Heinlein’s piece after his and Ginny’s visit to the Soviet Union about the population of Moscow?

    Yep the “intelligence” community accepted their numbers.

    1. Yeah, I read a couple of days ago that the guy who called for it appears to have been legit.

      Having said that, he apparently didn’t publicize it in an effective manner.

      1. How do you publicize something like that when the largest social media sites will ban you for mentioning it?

  13. “And tag, you’re it, you’re Atlas“
    Not sure if this is reference to the Annihilation series, but it would fit perfectly. They’re idiot-arrogant because they are part of a power structure so blinded by its own self importance that they can’t comprehend the possibility that anyone lesser could have their measure.

      1. So was Tag’s Atlas.
        I didn’t mean to offend bringing up another author. (Andrew’s books in audio are a guilty pleasure suitable for someone like me who can’t think and do at the same time – its meant as a compliment to say yours require my full attention).

  14. I mean, they believed the bullshit fed to them by Russia and China to the point they put them in the CIA world fact book.
    As to this, it’s only official and unclassified information that goes into the CIA “World Factbook”. They have to use published information. and there wasn’t any published data on the Soviet and Chinese economics that reliably contradicted what those folks put out.

    1. Incidentally there is an idiot, whom I believe to be chlamydia, so I’m not approving saying they’re distractions and play into the “right’s prejudice that government is incompetent” — because you know, from the new deal to the war on poverty, to …. well, everything the government has done, unless you assume they are at actual war with humanity, we have SO MUCH proof of their competence.
      Not one thing the federal government has done has resulted in anything good Yama-gooshy, none ONE thing.
      Sure, they used to win wars. Despite themselves. And lately? not even that.
      Go sulk in a corner about our “prejudice.” While you’re there, study some history.

      1. I’m facing this now. “Everyone” is running around saying that Chinese regulators are super smart, chess playing, strategic geniuses and all this is the outcome of a long term plot for world domination. The notion that the regulators there might be even more surprised about this than the regulators here doesn’t occur to them, yet I believe it’s true. The thought that the regulators might be corrupt has not occurred to them either.

        “Everyone” is convinced that the CCP will be able to roll up a $400 Billion firm along with the other 28% of their hugely over leveraged economy without any adverse effects outside a few scapegoats. I doubt it. I suspect this is not a Lehman moment and the idiots will run around saying contagion, like subprime or WuFlu, is controlled. Nope, this is the culmination of an awful lot of really bad decisions made by the hyper competent overlords of the CCP.

        Bureaucrats are incompetent. Even if one or the other is competent, the fact that they’re in a bureaucracy renders them so. It’s its nature. Fat, dumb, and happy might not be the way to go through life, but it is how bureaucrats do.

          1. Or so frustrated by not being allowed to get their jobs done they either retire in place or just plain retire. (Probably best decision other than marrying the right guy I’ve ever made).

        1. Listening to the History of China podcast has convinced me that “China plays the long game” is just the latest version of the “inscrutable Oriental” racist stereotype. China is every bit as prone to incompetence, short-term-ism, and politics trumping reality as any other human culture on the planet.

          1. just so, That narrative lasts until you spend time with actual, existing Chinese people. The culture tends to be more short term oriented and significantly lower trust than the west. A tendency, not a rule of course but that’s what I concluded and I’ve spent 30+ years working with them. I suppose the fact that everything got taken from them by either nature or grasping bureaucrats isn’t conducive to long term planning,

            1. I was speaking more to the Emperor or other leadership, but yeah. There’s also that article that Instapundit keeps linking to: How to Conduct Business with Chinese Companies That See a Dark Future.

              I get the feeling that a lot of “elites” internationally are thinking that things are all converging on a crisis, whether that’s the Fourth Turning or just the snake oil salesman having to beat it out of town.

              So everybody is looking like they’re going to make that one last big score and scram (if they can). Which is the Chinese businesspeople screwing their partners, and the Democrats screeching about their giant mandate and clicking the ratchet as many times as possible while they still have their wafer-thin majority, the public health types imposing restrictions on top of restrictions ever more neurotically, and woke hysteria being driven higher and higher by the usual activists grifters. Because their whole edifice is about to come crashing down. Reality always wins, eventually.

              1. Speaking of China and public health authorities, I don’t recall anybody here mentioning this article, which is definitely worth a read. And maybe even a dedicated post once Sarah has a chance to digest it.

                The Masked Ball of Cowardice: How fear of admitting error in trusting China’s coronavirus propaganda is driving Western societies into a doom spiral

                (Apologies if I’m misremembering and it has been gone over here already. After a couple of days, Instapundit open threads and Neo’s blog and here tend to blend together.)

                  1. Increasingly, it seems that “our” (western) top researchers are members of the CCP or Chinese military.

                    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/amp/politics/article-chinese-pla-general-collaborated-with-fired-scientist-at-canadas-top/

                    A “Canadian” scientist named “Xiangguo Qiu” isn’t going to be a 2nd-generation Sino-Canadian, or even a 1st-generation trying to assimilate (or they would have taken a western name). Sorry. That’s a man spy, baby.

              2. The narrative of three thousand years of history, wise emperors, and wise scholar bureaucrats is a construction of those same scholar bureaucrats, you know. Bullsh-t. Western “scholars” are in love with the examination system since it flatters their ego. nah. The only people in Chinese history to take a long view seem to be the rare scholar bureaucrat who usually ended up being executed, messily, for his pains so there’s that. The only long term patterns in Chinese history seem to be autocracy, corruption, natural disaster, degradation of the land, and the periodic looting the productive by the bureaucrats. Much like now. Oh and eunuchs. China always seems to return to that. It’s such a tragedy since the other side of the culture is hard work, invention, and good eating.

                I think Chinese business behavior was more a change to normal Chinese business behavior than any inside knowledge by Chinese businessmen. Like I said, I’ve been working with them a long time. You once wrote here and I completely agree, that incompetence can be indistinguishable from malice. How could our global elites see the future clearly enough to predict a crash when they are so utterly useless at everything else?

                Bob Farrell was a legend at Merrill Lynch. He had 10 market rules to remember, Number 9 was “when all the experts and forecasts agree — something else is going to happen.” All the experts and forecasts have China taking over the world, though that’s starting to change a little. The consensus now is that all the trouble will be “contained”. Like WuFlu? On the other hand, canaries are singing and the cost of insurance against a sovereign Chinese default is rising.

                1. I keep wondering if those ten million “extra” men are going to end up sterilized — y’know, for the good of society — and be recruited as the newest class of eunuchs.

                  You’d think that in a society with a continuous historical record going back 2000 years, that occasionally someone would tell the Emperor “um, your majesty, we tried that back during the Han/Tang/Sui/whatever, and it didn’t work out at all”. But no, they keep periodically handing over all functional power to the eunuchs, or dosing themselves with heavy metals to give themselves immortality, or some other stupid sh*t.

                  On that last point, I keep reading that Xi is pushing Traditional Chinese Medicine* over western (real) medicine. Maybe he’ll go for immortality after all.

                  *(which seems to be mostly “kill endangered animals for parts so old men’s willys will stand up again”. Wasn’t there a study of acupuncture recently that showed that people who got the placebo treatment actually did better than those getting the “real” one?)

                    1. The first time I read and interview with Sergei Brin, it tripped off all my “Mack away slowly until you can run” alarms. He’s . . .um . . . his idea of the ideal for humanity and mine don’t mesh well.

                    2. He’s very creepy and so are they all. All the evil corporation science fiction tropes seem to be coming true in our lifetime.

                    3. The guy who reported on internal Google culture last year (Damore?) portrayed a very Maoist place where people are encouraged to report on one another.

                  1. The Emperors never said, “Hey, let’s hand over power to the eunuchs, and let them run things!” It was a number of problems, and power-hungry Eunuchs is just the most well-known. The reason always came down to politics, and who exercised the power.

                    The most important thing to remember is that political power is largely held through consensus. Systems work because everyone agrees to follow the rules of that system. If people within the system come to the conclusion that they can do better by not following the rules, they’ll do so. The Emperor needs to hand out a certain amount of power, because he can’t do everything by himself. But the moment he tries to take any of that power back, everyone within the court immediately recognizes a potential threat to their own power base. If you’ve got a strong, politically savy Emperor, this probably won’t be a problem. If you don’t – for instance, your strong, politically savy Emperor just died, and his twenty year-old son (who was elevated to the position of Crown Prince a year and a half ago after his brother, the previous crown prince, got caught in what the late Emperor thought was treason) has just come to the throne. No matter how pressing the urgency is on repealing some of that authority, it’s going to be difficult to pull off.

                    And then, if the Emperor blows it with a political miscalculation and is forced to back down, he’ll look weak, and cause his administrators to seize even more power for themselves.

                    Even worse, the new emperor could be struggling with his own mother. It wasn’t uncommon for the Dowager Empress (that’s the Emperor’s mother) to openly meddle in court affairs, and often effectively run the empire. As an example of this, our Hostess has occasionally referred to a “human pig”. When the first Han Emperor died, his son from his second wife ascended to the throne. But his second wife – who had served as the Empress during her husband’s reign – reserved all of the power to herself. She punished the third wife (whose son had been considered as a possible candidate for the Crown Prince job) by turning her into the aforementioned “human pig” (I’m not going to go into details; look it up if you’re curious). After she finally executed the third wife, her son – the Emperor – attempted to spare the son of the third wife from any further wrath from the Dowager Empress. But one day when the young Emperor left the palace without the third wife’s son, the Dowager Empress had the third wife’s son killed.

                    At this point, the young Emperor basically said, “Screw it, I’m not really Emperor as I don’t have any power,” and drifted into a life of hedonism. His mother wouldn’t let him do anything of consequence.

                    When she finally died (one of her grandsons was on the throne at the time, iirc), the supporters of her late husband who her weren’t part of her clan (which she’d been putting into positions of authority) deposed the current emperor, put the son of the fourth wife (who was supposed to have been a very intelligent woman, and who stayed far, far away from the capitol with her son during this mess) on the throne, and executed every last member of the late Dowager Empress’s clan to prevent them from taking revenge against the government.

                    It essentially had to be done to save the Han Dynasty. But it couldn’t be done until the Dowager Empress was dead because of the political power she wielded.

                    At the other end of the dynasty, the last Han emperor ascended to the throne in the middle of a power struggle between two factions. On one side was the Dowager Empress and the corrupt Eunuchs (whose corruption was probably the root cause of the just defeated Yellow Turban Rebellion) On the other was a powerful court general backed by various nobles (warlords, really). The general summoned the warlords to assist him against the eunuchs, and the various warlords came with their armies. But the general was killed just before the warlords arrived. This didn’t stop the warlords, who proceeded to put down the corrupt Eunuchs and Dowager Empress. That didn’t necessarily help matters all that much, though, as the warlord that ended up coming out on top after the battle – controlling the palace, and acting as the young Emperor’s regent – was a particularly infamous fellow by the name of Dong Zhuo.

                    1. Let us not forget that it was always easiest to blame the eunuchs and not the emperor, no matter who was actually responsible.

                    2. That was true during the early and mid-points of the dynasties. But most dynasties tended to have lots of child emperors (who tended to suddenly die while very young…) during the last few decades of the dynasty.

                    3. It is also easier to blame the eunuchs than the Dowager Empress. Or anyone else, really. They were slaves, generally, of lowly birth in distant regions.

                  2. Xi believes in Western medicine for himself, and traditional medicine for other people,and involuntary organ donation to make money and get rid of compatible political prisoners.

                  3. > Xi is pushing Traditional Chinese Medicine* over western (real) medicine

                    Well, thanks to the Chinavirus, we know “real” medicine isn’t quite as real as we thought. Not that it was any great surprise after my encounters with the medical industry over the last few years.

                2. How could our global elites see the future clearly enough to predict a crash

                  I don’t really think they see a crash coming in terms of being able to predict it or know what it’s going to entail.

                  I’m trying to say that I think a whole lot of people in high places (and low) are getting a subconscious sense that they’d better get while the getting is good. And that’s what’s driving the escalating levels of crazy in the world right now.

                  1. You might be right but I think they’ve always been that way we just have more visibility into it than we used to. Criminals aren’t known for their impulse control and most of these people are just criminals.

                    I’ve been thinking about this. I would almost prefer they were evil since the fact that we’ve given stupid people all this power is terrifying to me. Evil is predictable, once you identify their interests you can predict their actions. With stupid, you don’t know what damned fool thing they’ll do. My wife likes to say I’m not a control freak, I’m an in control freak. I don’t really care what other people do but I need to be in some sort of control over what happens to me. All this stupidity is terrifying.

            2. Look at sports: If the Chinese (and for that matter the Japanese) were so future oriented and skillful in planning, they would have embraced Test Cricket (aka 5 day Cricket).

              Instead you find that they are going in for sports that are over in less than an hour, at the most 6 hours.

          2. I think the Chinese genuinely try to play the long game. The problem, though, is the same one that the US had with body count tallies in Vietnam. The butter bar who just got back from a patrol reported to his superior how many Charlies his patrol killed. His superior bumped the number up a bit to make himself look better, and passed it up the chain. His superior embellished that just a bit, followed by a third superior, etc, until the report on dead “Charlies” finally reached Johnson’s desk, but was inflated beyond any usefulness.

            I’m confident that the Chinese bureaucrats are doing the same thing.

            1. Some other issues.

              One, revisionist history. They believe a lot of that ‘vast, ancient history’ narrative, but each and every one of those dynasties tried to put their own spin on things, /before/ the current bunch of nutjobs got in on the game. Doesn’t seem to generally result in a sound historical and prehistorical foundation. You can’t successfully take the long view without being able to forecast from an understanding of previous behavior. Simplified or skewed historical narratives throw off the forecasting, which throws off the ability to be long term. Now, I am now not very confident in my ability to take the long view, because my forecasting has gone strange.

              Two, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Wide literary influence, and a lot of people seem to regard it as a textbook for scheming. My feeling is that this leads to a lot of mediocre ‘genius master minds’. Sometime the better move is /not/ engaging in a bunch of plotting. Yeah, sometimes the incentives favor a nest of vipers, but accepting it on faith strikes me as dumbass. But maybe there is a selection bias in the types of minds which make literary reference to Three Kingdoms.

              1. Using Romance of the Three Kingdoms as a guide for scheming is especially foolish because it’s a fictional novel (and ridiculously long political tract) that’s only *very* loosely based on the historical events (and there’s at least one decent history – Record of the Three Kingdoms – that’s available for comparison purposes). All the schemes in the novel? The details are made up to push the author’s political viewpoint. Many of them didn’t even exist. The same applies to other details from the novel, including the famous – but completely fictional – battle at Hulao Gate.

                1. Might be bad as a manual for plotters but at least us gamers got quite a bit of fun out of RotK-based stuff, especially the Dynasty Warriors take on Hulao Gate. “I-It’s Lu Bu!”

                  1. Yes, Dynasty Warriors is fun. ^_^

                    The novel has also left a strong mark on both Chinese and Japanese culture, and there are an absurd number of mobile games that use the period as their basis. On the other hand, I’ve heard that the Three Kingdoms TV series that aired in China roughly a decade ago caught some flak because it didn’t always adhere as closely to the novel storyline as viewers thought it should.

              2. Mao and his people did their best to exterminate every last vestige of Imperial Chinese culture. What they’re presenting now may share some dates and major events with that, but it’s now 100% compliant with the dictates of the Party, that is, largely propaganda.

                As Benito said, “Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.” And the CCP has the power to make that so, far more than the Fascisti did.

                1. “Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.” -the Democratic Party motto.

        2. Even as they’re blowing up never occupied fully built skyscrapers built for their ever expanding population….

          I recall a liberal friend telling me how brilliant the Chinese were building complete empty cities in the middle of nowhere for future population growth. He got out of Isfahan back to the USA just before the hostages were taken. That’s the type of person who works at the state department.

          1. This is a very interesting article about China’s population: https://nationalinterest.org/feature/coming-demographic-collapse-china-180960

            The writer rounds up a number of opinions on China’s size in 2100. It could well be that the US, at around 434 million at that time, will be larger than China.

            Many of the Chinese government’s actions make sense if they are facing a far lower TFR (total fertility rate) than the officially published stats. If the fertility rate falls to 1 or below, the population will plummet. That means that even with increased longevity, the population will halve (at least) every generation.

            I also recommend the ADV podcast about China.

            1. One the one hand, Gordon Chang has been predicting the imminent collapse of China for at least twenty years. This time for sure. Okay, how about this time. Any day now, any day…

              On the other hand, he cites good sources.

              David Goldman/Spengler attributed Iran’s extreme aggressiveness to their imminent demographic collapse as well. Is this more getting while the getting is good?

              1. I agree about Gordon Chang, I admire him but he’s a bit of a stopped clock. The demographic crisis is very real though. Possibly the greatest demographic decline in history is underway and they did it to themselves. It’s one of the reasons I don’t think the CCP are actually playing the long game.

                On the other hand, South Korea may beat them to it and they really did it to themselves without being made to by the emperor. Japan is well known and the decline has been underway for 30 years. Brazil, Europe, Russia. Only the US has at all healthy demographics and WuFlu seems to have put a dent in that.

                All of this can be known 25 years or so ahead. I think we’re all just unable to act on those terms. In publicly traded markets it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Acting on something that won’t happen 25 years from now doesn’t do you any good if you’ve lost your job for missing the next year’s number.

                Jerry Pournelle asked a provocative question. Aliens come from space and want to take the planet. they’re patient so they offer unlimited resources with the proviso that we humans stop breeding. They’ll take the planet when we’re all gone. Using discounted cash flow analysis, do we take the offer?

            2. It’s pretty much acknowledged by everyone that China’s birthrate numbers are inflated. The only year in recent memory when they *might* have been accurate is the year following the nation-wide lifting of the one-child rule, when there was a temporary jump in annual births.

        1. Not incompatible but not necessary either. I think we look for intent because we can’t believe that they could be that stupid.

        2. “At war” does not disprove “incompetent” but it does render it logically unnecessary. It is important to realize your enemy may be quite crafty despite his acts appearing foolish.

  15. That one book about life in the OSS and early CIA… Argh, can’t remember the name…. Anyway, it turns out that the secret location of the Farm and the mystification of how you got there was not mystifying at all, if you grew up in the county and had spent many long summers as a caddie at the old country club that used to be there.

    Which apparently was equal parts aggravation and “I told them so” to the instructors, who basically just asked this guy not to reveal his local knowledge to his fellow students, unless there was a really good reason.

    1. You mean the guy who would periodically go nuts, and murder his wife and kids in a fit of insanity?

      <.<

      1. You realize you just described half the guys in the world? Probably why the divorce rate is so high in the U.S. Well, I guess it IS easier to serve papers than it is to hide the body.

  16. Today’s bookmark led me to 2 Kings 10:18. Jehu, a zealot who wishes to restore the worship of Yahweh to the wayward, calls all the priests of Ba’al for a great sacrifice…

    1. Jesus took care of Jezebel, too.
      It’s a shame one of the first “power couples,” of history were such rotten people…

            1. I call it “Stupid Android voice to text!” to its face and then, believe it or not, sometimes it wises up.

  17. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. would be proud. Not. These fedbois aren’t even at the “gang-that-couldn’t-shoot-straight” level of competence here.

  18. I laughed so hard when I saw the police arrest an insurrectionist and it was an undercover agent. So yea– the insurrection is being formented by the FEDS and this is called entrapment.

  19. They may be disjointed but the observations were still good. It’d be funny to see such incompetence if it wasn’t for the very last part about the institutions and me likely still being very screwed if things do blow up that badly that quickly. Here’s hoping we all make it through reasonably intact at least, though the playing Atlas part isn’t going to be fun.

    1. Yup we just restarted a bunch of insane xenophobic idiots with 80 Billion in hardware and the folks that are to protect us make the FBI and CIA of 2001 look like the Untouchables or Man from Uncle. Heck even the Keystone Kops look good compared to the folks that showed up at the 9/18 rally. The FBI have essentially become a cross between zampolit and KGB, except the KGB was occasionally effective.

      1. On the other hand, what, exactly, are they going to do with all that hardware? Attack Uzbekistan?

        Sure, they’ll give an Apache helicopter to the Chinese and Russians. You don’t think the Chinese and Russians already have the blueprints? It’s a forty-year-old design. And do you think we equipped the Afghan National Army with the latest and greatest versions of electronics? Because that’s what all this stuff was: transferred equipment, so no longer technically “ours” to blow up.

        And I keep seeing people say “those small arms will show up on the Mexican border” and I think “this is more and different from what the cartels already have how exactly?”

        No, the scandal is in the monetary waste, not the military capability.

        1. Right they’ll be lucky if the can keep the Apaches and the fixed wing stuff running, M16’s, they can get (or AK’s) in Mexico so not so much need on those either, Mortars worry me a bit, large quantities of C4 more, and millions in US cash the most. With buckets of cash you can send folks across the border and they can buy what they need to be a nuisance. the materiel will be more useful to co religionists in say France or Germany where some simple trucks can take it. Pakistan perhaps ought to be worried, although right now ISIS and the Taliban seem to be duking it out (Can’t they both lose?). My concern is that FBI/CIA didn’t put the pieces together for 9/11. With their focus from the top being White Nationalist Rogues (all 50 -100 ineffectual looney tunes that exist) they’ll miss ANY sign that might be a 9/11 (or the Paris thing or the schools attacks in russia or…). Importing lots of poorly vetted Afghans will not help the situation, at a minimum it gives a place for folks to hide if not recruit via intimidation.

  20. “Sorry, but even if there are good field agents, our intelligence agencies were always a festival of fail that could only be more obvious if it wore a fruit hat and shashayed to samba in the Carnival in Rio.”

    There used to be. There were bright eyed kids that went that way, bunch of ’em post 9/11, that wanted to make a difference. To protect America, and its citizens. There were old veterans, I am sure, that were true to the cause of liberty and protection thereof from malice within and without. And, because to do the proper job of an intelligence service, like as not you’ll never hear of the bad things that didn’t happen because somebody was there to see it and stop it before it could harm the innocent. A proper secret squirrel leads a boring life, so far as you know, and never has a thing about him show up in the news.

    I could list the failures that have happened that we know about. They’re bad. Yes, that bad. Successes? Threats vanquished before they could harm one hair on a baby’s head? Shouldn’t ever be in the news. At least not until a long time after.

    Where are the agents now decrying the stupidity going on in full view of the public? And former agents, too? Perhaps they are forbidden from commenting on some things, but blatantly obvious failures, publicly visible ones with court records- those exist, too. Using the agencies as a tool against political enemies is wrong, and beyond stupid. There are good and practical reasons to *have* good intelligence services as a country. When you corrupt that purpose with politics, you are using resources against the very population you are supposed to defend.

    Sounds a bit like domestic violence doesn’t it?

    I worry that the good ones left because of all the bullsh!t that we know about (and like as not plenty we don’t). I worry that there will be fewer bright eyed kids joining up to defend our country and its people. Malice within and without, sure enough. We know America is under threat. Always will be, like as not, because when you have something worthwhile and others do not, at least some of them will want to take it from you just so you don’t have it anymore.

    Just like we need good policemen, we need good agents. And leaders thereof. Lord knows the burden of leadership is a heavy one, but honestly folks. We can do better than this. And we bloody well should.

    1. Successes? Threats vanquished before they could harm one hair on a baby’s head? Shouldn’t ever be in the news. At least not until a long time after.

      And therein lies the heart of the problem; if you don’t have any way to distinguish little old ladies from witches you have to either assume all LOLs are witches, or none are.

      “Honest” (using the term loosely to the point of breaking it) intelligence agencies are stuck with an impossible problem. To function most of their operations have to remain secret. Any failures will be known. Any successes will be unknown.

      Corrupt ones on the other hand have an easy job of it; they can generate false successes and publicize them on demand, and they can suppress their failures.

      1. To further your correct, I believe, point: You need to have someone in power with the knowledge to tell the sheep from the goats, the will to cut out the rot, the intestinal fortitude to weather the storm that will come upon him when he begins, the professionalism to get the job done right and on time, and the dogged determination to push through the obstacles that will be thrown up against him by an entrenched and mean spirited bureaucracy. Not a common combination of traits, that.

        And to complicate further, intelligence and law enforcement are intertwined. You need to clean house on both of them to get anywhere in one. The levels above law enforcement and intelligence are also subject to human failures, which notably includes bureaucratic busybodies that serve little function other than to create mostly meaningless paperwork and collect a paycheck.

        This is going to take far more than one good man, in the right place, at the right time. Much more.

        1. This is why they had to take out Flynn. He knew. They silenced him. Imagine if he had been able to help Trump, with the knowledge he had. A very different world, perhaps one that might have avoided the coming evil. Remember, they still must hide what they intend. Trump did not know who he could trust, yet he did much.

          We must always remember Jerry P’s mantra: “Despair is a sin”. Our current Bible reading is Samuel, ( we read a chapter every day) . David had plenty of reason to despair when Saul was trying to kill him. It looked pretty hopeless when David escapes, and Saul has the priest who helped him, and everyone in the town killed. David did not despair. Read who comes to join him in “exile”.

          The rot was there. We just didn’t know. Now we know. The members of the Australian union now know who their “bosses” support. We thought the FIB was on the side of good. Now we know we must demolish the entire building and salt the earth. It will not be easy. Do not despair.

    2. A cousin -in-law of mine was a naval attache with intelligence experience. He told my husband that in the six months after 9/11 US intelligence had thwarted over 50 further events…but the problem was we have to stop them all, they only have to succeed once. He’s no longer with us, and we miss him.

      1. I’m sorry for your loss, and may Himself grant you and yours His grace. Your cousin in law sounds like he was a good man. And I believe he is right. They only need succeed once. It’s a tough job.

  21. They keep telling each other what geniuses they are. So, since they are geniuses, anybody who disagrees with them must be stupid. Obviously, the geniuses should organize everybody else’s lives for them. They will probably resent having their lives micromanaged by the geniuses, but it’s all for their own good. They’ll settle down when they see how much better life will be when the geniuses finally have the power to make all the decisions, for everybody. There will just be some unavoidable disruptions during the transitional period.

    “Trust us, it’s for your own good, it just LOOKS like a totalitarian oligarchy right now but it will get all better when we’ve got absolute power.”
    ———————————
    George Carlin: “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are even stupider than that.”

  22. guys

    what if U R overthinking this

    maybe the military and the federal leos have gotten really radicialized, and this is them being on our side

    what if this is a legitimate protest, but they tell their bosses it is undercover

    but it is real

    they did not budget for advertising because they do not want congress to know that it is for real

    maybe they are as bad peaceful protesters as they are agents provocateur

  23. Hienlien back in the 70s said by ananalysing the railroad and road connections to Moscow it was obvious that there were only 30% of the population they claimed.

    1. Possibly Our Hostess and others already know this stuff. But Bob and Brad (and a guest doctor) have a video on lung rehab after sickness. (Or maybe after masks for a year.)

      Hope this helps!

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