Running With Matches

The late Jerry Pournelle seemed to have a second sense for when I was going crazy. Or, you know, he read my blog.

I’d get up one fine morning, and there would be an email saying “Sarah, despair is a sin.” I hated those emails. Because — as anyone who has contemplated suicide knows — despair presents solutions that are simple, satisfying and… wrong. (Which is sort of what sin does, anyway, if you think about it.)

You sit there, and you think “I’m worthless. Nothing will ever go right for me. Everyone would be happier if I were dead.” And then you do it. And the shock, horror and guilty of your death by that means resonates down through seven generations of your family, screwing up the lives of babes yet unborn. Which, if you read about families in similar situations, you’d have known would happen. But that would mean talking back to the black dog, which is very difficult, and trying to pull yourself up by your bootstraps which is even more difficult. And trust me, I know this. It’s not like the temptation hasn’t presented itself multiple times, nor that I wasn’t saved by miracles at least twice.

Despair is wrong and is a sin and the easy solutions it presents will make everything worse, exponentially worse for people who haven’t drawn breath. And when we talk about national suicide for the USA, it will destroy civilization. Probably forever.

Yes, our institutions have been captured, and our voting corrupted. Yes, it is unlikely that someone the establishment approves of can be elected. Which by the way makes it almost the same as during the cold war. No, seriously, until Reagan, the republicans were OPENLY the party of “the same but slower.” A lot of the older hangouts in the party still want that party back.

I still pray we can get out of this without a butcher’s bill, but I’m not sure. If we avoid the butcher’s bill of a civil war, we’ll get hit by the short, sharp butcher’s bill of “everything falls apart and we have to build it again.” which might very well take the rest of my life. Particularly since that butcher’s bill will fall disproportionately on the very young and very old which are more likely to be affected by things like lack of doctors/medicine/food of a certain kind. (Yeah, I know I’m not very old. I’m in fact tilting on the sharp apex of what will become the downslope of old age. It tells you something about the family’s genetics and expectations that my parents sent me a letter for my 60th birthday welcoming me to middle age. No, really. But the point is stress and lack of heating/cooling/food will make me very old very fast.)

However, we’re all aware a reset will come. Has to come. It has to come for the simple reason that no, the US can’t be Venezuela for any length of time without starving. Venezuela and similar shit holes can be sort of fed and looked after in their decay by enemies-external who are interested in exploiting them in their weakness. Mostly Russia and China.

While China is financing the fall here — no, seriously. Who do you think paid for/arranged the color revolution — if they were to get what they want before they fall apart (doubtful), i.e. the complete collapse of the US into socialist shitocracy, they still won’t get what they want. They will in fact be in the position of the dog that caught the car: dragged to death.

Look, China can’t keep us going with minimal amounts of food, whatever, to keep even a veneer of civilization. a) we’re too large and too diverse, something you’d think they’d get, but they don’t. Because their large land is filled with unarmed peasants, so they at least have the illusion of control. b) they can barely feed their own population. Crashing our system won’t feed the two nations. It will just mean we turn and go rogue that much faster. c) we’re used to a level of prosperity the rest of the world has never known. Our pinch will hurt much more and faster than their strangulation.

But Sarah, you’ll say. They know that. That’s their plan.

No, it isn’t. Pish tosh and pfui. You assume Chinese (or Russians, or for that matter most of the EU and let’s not talk about the rest of America) understand REAL economics. They don’t. Part of their primary dysfunction is that they have accepted the basic tenets of Marxism long ago. So long ago that they think that really is how reality works. They are in economics terms Occasional Cortex.

If China did the videos of people dying on the streets, etc (even our side seems to have forgotten that) from what amounts to a bad flu, it was because they wanted us to lock down. Actually they wanted the rest of the world to lock down hard. There were rumors — and fact — their factories kept going, with some handwavium protections.

Because in their deranged commie minds, it went something like this: “We’ll keep producing, while the rest of the world is shut down” — ??????? — World domination. To be fair to them, I heard the same bullshit in right wing blogs in early 2020.

But the thing is that it’s not the massive production of cheap sh*t that makes you rich. It’s customers, who are likewise rich paying for it.

And this is why, when the US sneezes the rest of the world gets pneumonia. Because we are the consumers of the world, wealthy enough to pay for industrialization in a lot of third world countries.

They don’t understand this. They’ve soaked Marxism with mother’s milk, at this point, and they think if the US is removed they’ll be RICH. I recently found myself in a twitter thread where people were blaming crime in San Salvador on the US, because if the US didn’t steal from them, they’d be rich, and not poor. It’s poverty that causes crime. I looked up their main exports, to figure out if they felt we were taking their “raw materials” and thereby making them poor (by paying for things, but never mind.) Their primary exports appear to be clothes, bought mostly — cheaply — by the US market. Think about that a minute. If we stop buying from them, what will they do to be “rich.” Nothing. It’s all insanity, but it’s a common insanity in the rest of the world. And it’s part of the reason why riding out the US collapse abroad is a very bad idea. The other reason it’s a bad idea is that they will be knocked ass over teakettle much harder and faster, because without us buying from them they will for real starve.

China is the same, just with more (largely made-up, btw. I mean, it’s the fiat currency of totalitarians) money to splash around.

If we fall they can’t keep us in not-uncomfortable-enough-to-unleash-hell-on-Earth-poverty. They can’t. The resources aren’t there. And while their lackeys in power are making our armed forces so that soon they’ll be able to be defeated by a regiment of beauticians with nail scissors, that’s not the armed forces of the US. The armed forces of the US are the citizens, many of whom had military training, and almost all of whom have enough weaponry to furnish small countries. Individually. Per capita.

So “socialism will win and we’ll be socialists forever” won’t work.

Which is why many of you are running around going “We should just vote for the left candidate, because he’s going to win anyway, and that will accelerate the fall and get this over with.” Or in other words, suicide. National suicide.

First, let’s talk about your premise. You sound terribly like a guy who says “If I go to the doctor for this pain in my side, he’ll just kill me, so I might as well swallow rat poison and get it over with.”

If the left is going to win ANYWAY why would you want to vote for them? If they can fake any total of votes they want, why would you want to lend legitimacy to their win? Except that you want to kill the country and “get it over with.”

Hell, it won’t even accelerate it. After all, it is already baked in, right? The crazier socialists will win, because they can fraud. The ballot box is effectively ineffective.

So, why do it? So you feel like you’re doing something? So it hurts less when they fraud? So you can give up and wallow in it saying “I did that?”

It is to be fair a very human impulse to go “I can’t fix it. I’m going to destroy it.” Because at least you feel like you have SOME agency, and you’re not a powerless victim of fate.

Most human impulses, untempered by reason, are the sort of thing that worked in small scavenger bands, and nowhere else. Because that’s where our instincts still live. It’s where Marxism comes from. It works well in up to 15 people, who all agree to share, etc. Over that, it fails to scale.

But this one doesn’t even work particularly well. While it might have made sense to kill yourself and all your kin before the band over there who does horrible things captured you, and it might have been right because at least it saved your women from being raped before being killed and eaten, it misses the point that sometimes, rarely, in a case in a 100 one of your females was comely enough, or a woman of the other band had lost a child the age of yours, and after the horrific massacre at least some of your genes would make it to the future.

In this case it’s far worse than that.

Let’s say conservatives despair and buy into this, and all vote for the most leftist candidate. President Occasional Cortex takes office in a landslide that is provably not a fraud.

… And then the same conservatives who created this strategy turn around and say “See, the country is socialist now. I shouldn’t even bother. I’ll just give up.” and despair harder.

The end of this is the same in which we don’t do that: a collapse, fast or slow, after which we rebuild.

But in the second case, the rebuild will come with the certainty that “all of them wanted this” and with baked in hatred for the rest of America, particularly those that the left claims are always theirs: minorities, women, artists, those who are Odd or stick out.

What comes out of this is not America. It is a place of hard and fast apartheid, where women are treated as Muslim women are (and for those who think this is a great way to raise the population, you’ve been buying propaganda. Their population is falling faster than ours.) And where no one is happy, even the rich, because it is the lowest trust society possible. A society where each citizen is armed and armored against the rest.

The rest of the world? They will starve, before the survivors devolve into iron-age principalities and micro-kingdoms forever at war with each other. The only functional difference from the middle ages will be, maybe, more advanced and deadly weapons. Oh, and the lack of universal Christianity, which whatever you think of it at least kept human sacrifice down (not off. Humans find ways) and implanted the ideas that everyone was equally human and everyone was redeemable.

If that’s what you want, sure, go ahead. Embrace the “vote for the extreme left and make their victories legitimate.” Or if you prefer “Commit suicide before they kill us.”

But be aware that in burning it all down, you will be in fact taking down the shining city upon the hill, still shining despite everything they’ve done to it. You’ll be collaborating with enemies-domestic.

And our wretched and starved descendants will rightly call you a traitor. Also, probably a fool.

But you know, despair says it will be fine, and hurt less.

And as we know, despair never lies.

494 thoughts on “Running With Matches

  1. This is why I’ve come to dislike the NPC meme. It seems to run under the assumption that the opposition has no agency or humanity.

    And if they aren’t real people, why try to persuade them or even care what happens to them?

    It later struck me that the guy I first really heard it from was also someone who has started he does not believe people have free will.

    1. So I think the NPC meme is ultimately wrong. Our opponents do have agency and responsibility. However do I think they can the be persuaded? Likely no. Some of them are like the Inner Party apparatchik O’Brien, They have so befuddled themselves that even though they actually see the information they either interpret it incorrectly with the jaundiced eye of Communism/SJW or like O’Brien they doublethink it so much they essentially ignore things that do not fit their universe. Others (particularly the “Karen” types of both sexes and no there are only two ) can not be argued with because the tool we use to reason, basic logic and falsifiable data are not what they use. They reason with their feelings, in the words of Newspeak they bellyfeel it. To them our information is irrelevant you’d get more results trying to reason with a cat in loglan than you will stating facts and noting that A can not be Not A with a Karen. Finally there are those who feel society has slighted them, the eternal malcontents. They have been carefully told by the O’Briens and their nomenklatura that the nature of western society is against them. That its reason and rules not only do not apply to them but will never work for them, as if math and logic differed from person to person. You can’t reason with them because in essence they believe that the reasoning process is inherently flawed and intentionally biased against them. What do these three parties want? The O’Briens desire power and wealth they have fallen into the sins of pride, greed and gluttony. The Karens just want to keep what they have, they fear change and want an emotionally stable world. Their sin is fundamentally sloth with a little greed mixed in for good measure. The Malcontents have been repeatedly told the word owes them things that they have been cheated. Their sins are envy and wrath. This troika of miscreants is what we have to deal with and I’m not sure simple logic or gentle reasoning will get us out of this.

      Our side is not totally clean, as noted by our hostess desperation is itself a failing. It involves hubris, essentially the sin of pride magnified 1000x. In giving up we are saying “No Author, you are WRONG, I in my “infinite” wisdom know better than you the omniscient omnipresent all creator.

      How we get out of this I have no idea, when we get out of this I have no idea. What I do know is that The Author has already beaten the Adversary 2000+ years ago the Adversary is still just thrashing pointlessly trying to avoid that defeat. In the calendar there is a rather black Friday that is coming and maybe that is what we are seeing on a historical scale. Just don’t let go of the fact that a glorious Sunday is coming both on the calendar and in history. As our hostess says ultimately we win, they lose.

    2. Does “willing slave” better fit the “NPC” meme? They choose to disuse agency.

        1. I’m not sure that fits either. Useful idiots were the parlour pinks who loved to talk about the joys of communism and all that but we’re ultimately purged for being to much trouble and not enough use. I.e. antifa.

          The people who live the NPC meme, I don’t get the impression they even care about the philosophy they’re advocating more than they care that they are matching the rest of their group. They’re the ones who will master duckspeak without even being bothered by it, and I do not understand why.

          1. The Reader’s memory may be faulty, but he thinks that the useful idiots he knew back then would have functioned perfectly well as NPCs given today’s minute by minute social media guidance the NPCs get.

          2. A useful idiot was anyone advancing the Communist agenda while missing what it would entail. It’s pretty broad.

      1. Ah Kligonaase’s tokhe straave (maybe struuve?) from John Ford’s “The Final Reflection”. It includes the tharavul, Vulcans who have submitted to a lobotomy like operation so they can not Mind Meld. Truly an interesting model, Fords Klingons see the universe as consisting of two classes the willing slaves, willing to give up their freedom and warriors who die first.

    3. I don’t think it is that, so much as they are philosophically bound to centralized power and lockstep following. They aren’t actually NPCs, but the behaviour rooted in that worldview mimics it pretty well.

  2. I’ve been saved at least once by miracle, which ought to be enough to tell me I am, in fact, worthwhile without having to “prove,” it to myself. So I think I will embrace, belatedly, the message.
    (Almost 50 years ago, living at home after college with no idea how to job search, I found myself thinking I was a drag on my family’s finances and….by the grace of God I had enough sense to pray, “if I’m really worth something, let me have a sign.” The NEXT DAY I got a letter from the Gainesville Sun, which gets hundreds of articles from aspiring journalism students, telling me they were buying an article I’d submitted six months earlier and forgotten about.)

  3. Bravissima! (I think that’s the right spelling) One thing I keep seeing are the hand-wringers saying “We can’t win, the elections are rigged, all is lost.” Now I understand why they used to shoot defeatists.

    Me? I keep remembering my Clausewitz…and make plans for the counterattack that will have Patton grinning down from his seat in Valhalla. Because I think it’s just about time to draw our sabers.

  4. “You assume Chinese (or Russians, or for that matter most of the EU and let’s not talk about the rest of America) understand REAL economics. They don’t.”

    They don’t even understand real science. “Science” under socialism is what government bureaucrats wish could happen. Two of my far-too-many current projects are (a) running a once-a-year Kolchak adventure at an RPG convention, and (b) reading up on the seventies UFO belief system. Last year’s adventure involved a device that transfers bio-energy between living creatures, storing, for example, the life energy of an ape to increase the strength of a human. The original adventure I was stealing from was set in the twenties; Kolchak of course is in the seventies. The device was ridiculously silly and I wasn’t sure how I was going to update the “G-Ray Vitality Unculator” to Kolchak, despite the series not being particularly serious either.

    Until I happened to run across an article about Soviet research into Pavlita generators in a seventies UFO magazine. “Psychotronic generators, small devices said to be capable of drawing biological energy from humans and storing it for future use…”.

    Even stranger was how seriously some in the US government took this research. Look up the Defense Intelligence Agency document, “Soviet and Czechoslovakian Parapsychology Research”, DST-1810S-387-75

    But it was helpful. A psychotronic generator is a perfect Kolchak device.

    1. I’ve got to get the PULP RPG rules done and published.

      In my misspent youth, Dragon Magazine published a game called “Crimefighters”. 1930s pulp hero RPG. I and a couple of friends took it…and ran with it. Added new rules, I wrote a bushel of adventures. Ultimately did a stem-to-stern rewrite of the system mechanics. Which is PULP.

      And it would fit this sort of thing perfectly.

    2. Look up “Stargate” (not the TV show) our own research into psychic stuff. Yes, yes, people say it was used as a blind, but I’ve read stuff by people involved in it.
      Nah, bra. They bought it, hook line and sinker.
      And while there is stuff we don’t understand, the way it was approached was profoundly silly.

      1. I know a physicist who worked on it. He is a very careful, meticulous researcher. He doesn’t buy anything ‘hook line and sinker’ and in fact helped disprove a number of cold fusion claims. He could not explain the Phenomenon that became Stargate, but found it worked more often than it should by just luck. And no, I don’t believe there was some hidden bias or unconscious signaling as he knows how to design proper experiments to eliminate that. I don’t know if the mechanism is natural or supernatural (he would likely scoff at my concern about demons sabotaging it), but based on the paper he gave me I think it is as likely that he found something as that he made a mistake in the design or analysis. IF the other researchers replicated it (which I wouldn’t know) than I can see why it would not be silly at all to try and use it.

        1. Jimmy Akin has done a couple of episodes of Mysterious World on this, too.

          They mention some of “numbers don’t turn out right” things– I just can’t remember the terms for it, but they went over some of the methods used to avoid it just being weird luck.

          1. Here is an open report you might find interesting bathroom reading, then about some (but NOT all) of the research attempts:

            Click to access ADA169486.pdf

            I would very much have liked to have done one of the replication attempts… but I was and am concerned that even if I was attempting to disprove it the effort might fall into the “Things Man Was Not Meant To Know” category of divination which I believe would be a sin to participate in.

            1. Honestly, I don’t even like listening to those episodes… I listened to the first one basically so I was informed, and then realized that other than being glad that they’d tried to science it, I really didn’t want to actually listen to any more.

              1. I think there may be an element of, “and it’s hazardous to your health.” Not thr Men in Black (secular or otherwise) coming after you, but forcing the brain and body to go in directions it can’t really handle.
                I was peripherally acquainted with a witch many years ago (she was a practitioner and of the power over others variety) and the last time we heard anything about her she was a complete invalid with a host of physical problems. And very lonely.

                1. If there’s a way to make this stuff harmless, I’d say they made it as harmless as they could. And even then, I’m not totally sure it’s harmless.

                  But IF extra-sensory perceptions are a weak natural capability of humans beings, THEN it would not necessarily be an evil thing to experiment about. Kinda silly in most modern circumstances, like the weak human ability to sense direction from magnetic things in one’s nose; but not useless if used correctly.

                  The problem is that it seems to be very difficult for people to keep from imagining stuff about it, which could be psychologically damaging and also would undermine its scientific value. And it does seem like a weakminded or spiritually iffy person could easily open the door to Bad Stuff.

                  (It might be that, thanks to the Fall, this is one of those human abilities that just is mostly ruined, because it was supposed to act in tandem with special graces that were only given in Eden. In which case, it would still be okay to play with, but you wouldn’t expect to get anything useful out of it. Here’s a key, but there’s no lock and no door.)

                  1. I think opening to the Bad Stuff is a definite possibility. Also, I have seen and heard of references to practitioners “sending the power up,” as part of the ritual, which brings up the question of, “Why do the gods want your energy?”
                    Or as Spock put it in the best line of an otherwise forgettable movie, “Why does God need a starship?”

                    1. The Stargate folks believe that you basically do better if you do nothing and know nothing about what you are being asked about, and then you just report any experience that comes out of the nothing you are not doing.


                    2. > “Why does God need a starship?”

                      That was actually Kirk’s line, but yes. It was a good question.

                      But in fairness, I’ll note that a similar question could be asked of Christians who talk about God having a plan for them and wanting them to do certain things. If He’s really all-powerful, why do his plans require anything from you?

                    3. Same reason that my plans for raising the kids to be productive human beings requires their input.

                      It’d be a lot faster if I just DID everything– but that’s not the point. The idea is to get THEM to be able to do it.

                    4. Because He works through human agents, rather than intervening directly. At least that’s the usual theology.

                2. When I was in college, I dated (briefly) a witch (or as she preferred, Wiccan Priestess). She showed me a couple of things that made me go, “Whoa!”, and had me realize that there was something there. But when it became clear that Lutheran-raised (to a point, anyway) and currently atheist me actually was a-theist rather than just not-Christian and seeking and so had no interest in joining her group (even with the lure of, “In my circle, sex is a sacrament,” which should have been irresistable to an 18 year young boy), she dropped me. I ran into her at a con about a decade later and she looked worn and beaten (haggard?), not the svelte and sexy sylph I’d known before.

                3. Manipulation of any flavor tends to leave one very lonely.

                  For the rest of it. I don’t know. I just know that I see some things dimly that others don’t see at all. I’ve pulled together enough evidence that it’s real to convince ME I’m not insane, but it’s not the kind of thing I can actually show anyone else. I think the biggest problem with things like government experimentation in this, is that they can’t categorize where the influences are FROM, even vaguely, which leaves folk open to things, and worse the researchers open to things they may not believe are there so don’t protect themselves from. And none of it really helps identify anything that might NOT be from infernal sources.

                  1. Niven’s “Convergent Series” deals with this; a single epiphany lets some stuff actually work, which turns out to be a Bad Idea (TM); whoda thunk? Good story, and a true cautionary tale, even if the protagonist did manage to (sort of) wiggle out of the initial consequences.

                    1. True; that’s the part I was thinking of. Well, not witchcraft per se; more demonology.

              1. Jimmy Akin’s several shows and interviews about this program include some pretty hilarious moments of Peak Air Force and Peak Army. I’m sure that other agencies also demonstrated themselves being themselves, as the program funding and control was shuffled around DC.

                Sadly, one of these moments actually got a junior officer very badly hurt by being Voluntold to do something stupid, by a general with no business voluntelling it.

                Come down with flu and lots of vomiting, kids, before accepting that kind of TDY.

                1. Now glad that I did miss that part…..
                  If you need to vomit involuntarily on a schedule, B complex supplements will do it.

                  1. Mineral supplements on an empty stomach will do it, too.

                    At least that’s my experience.

        2. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than dreamt of in your Philosophy” . . .

        3. I know they work more often than they should. The problem is that we’re not where we can even make it reproducible, must less use government to research it. Because…. government.

  5. “It’s where Marxism comes from. It works well in up to 15 people, who all agree to share, etc.”
    John Wright and I had a discussion on his blog about this. I maintain that socialism can and will work…at the micro level of a nuclear family. You do your part because you see the people you helped or let down every single day.

    As the group gets bigger – say an extended family – you have to start tracking obligations. At least on an informal basis. You mow Cousin Fred’s lawn, he helps you figure out your taxes. You keep up your end because word gets around, fast, if you don’t.

    With a large group, the accounting has to be formalized. Which is called “money”.

      1. One of the happiest days of my life was when the youngest turned 18, and I finally retired from the post of socialist dictator.

        They do tell me now that I was a benevolent one. On the other hand, I’m still waiting for the statue…

      2. That is a large part of why Japan is such a high trust society. The average genetic difference between them is so small. Plus, genetics is real and has a large influence on shaping society.

        1. The middle east, where they actually have massive issues due to inbreeding, would like a word with you about that.
          (It comes out of it not being safe to marry too far outside of your family.)

          America has a MUCH higher trust society, with much lower genetic connections than… pretty much everywhere.

          Because we’re connected by a shared philosophy.

          The genetic bonds Sarah is pointing to are on the family level, maybe out to clan.

          Anyone who’s read Terry Pratchett’s Witches books can look at Nanny Ogg and go “Oooooh, THAT is what she’s talking about…..”

            1. Sounds about right; after I get past “grandma’s sister’s descendants” it’s basically a novelty thing, even for my family. (We don’t do any kind of favors, it’s just a route for introduction. Basically, if you’re utterly insane, and a second cousin, we know about it. ^.^ )

                1. My family, heavily influenced by on both sides but Germanic and Scandehoovian ancestor types, typically got angry at each other stopped communicating beyond about arms-length. Sad but true, I guess. So I grew up not knowing about dozens of cousins.

                  Then I got access to some details from the “good” LDS on paternal side about how the “bad” LDS on the maternal side treated essentially starving non-LDS on the other side (i.e., my great grands) and began to understand…

                  Now, I won’t make value judgements about how the Lutherans and LDS treated each other 100+ years ago. I wasn’t there and the players in that drama died off long ago. But folks in every family, in every religion, in every generation have stress and competition and make mistakes. Even, although I’m certain you won’t believe it, me!

                  Have a blessed day, wherever you are. If you’re part of Sarah’s “online family”, you have at least a good cup of coffee (or other seasonally-appropriate office beverage) waiting for you here.

              1. I have a lot of extended family locally. Out to 4th cousins and expanding. Best we have is “Friends and Family Discount”, payment for services. With an obligation of word of mouth advertisement if service provided is excellent. Which, you know, latter happens even if not “related”. Otherwise it is just nonchalant “Oh, great. Another new cousin.”

                1. My mother didn’t have a family tree, more a family stick. Huge shortage of unique last names going back literally centuries. It’s a wonder we don’t all have eyes in the middle of our heads. My da, whose family tree wasn’t much bushiers to be honest, used to joke he brought hybrid vigor.

                  My children and my cousin’s children find it fascinating that my generation all know precisely how we’re related.It mattered , a lot.

                  1. There’s Jeff Foxworthy’s comment, “If your family tree does not fork, you might be a redneck. There are New Jersey rednecks, after all.

                2. You know how you keep people from asking about a “Friends and family discount”?

                  Joke about it being 20% more than list price.

              1. In the town on the edge of the Ojibwe reservation where my ex-wife grew up, there were a couple of — what’s Ojibwe for “yenta”? — whose social role was holding everyone’s family tree in their head and pronouncing on who was allowed to date whom.

                I suspect that most “traditional” communities have something similar, except that in some cultures the valence is flipped.

                1. “…in some cultures the valence is flipped.”

                  I guess “European royal families” could be considered a culture… 😉

                2. Nit: “yenta” means a gossipy old woman. The professional matchmakers are shadchan (because the match is called a shidach)

                  1. Ah. Of course, for those of us not fluent in Yiddish and/or Hebrew, the matchmaker character in Fiddler on the Roof is named “Yente”.

              2. Extended family (the very extended) has at least two couples that met in college. Married, and discovered they were cousins. One case it was 4th cousin. The other 2nd once removed (that entwined generational youngest of one family marrying oldest of another).

                    1. probably have ALMOST no DNA in common

                      Which is why most cultures, and even states, have rules against generation of, and begat by, grandparents having children together. Translation: Aunts & Uncles, even if same age generation or younger, 1st cousins, 1st cousins once removed. My sisters children, and my single child, were raised with their second cousins AS 1st cousins. They are off the relationship options too. But 3rd, 4th, and 5th, cousins of the broader extended pioneering family? Most of whom wouldn’t know they are cousins unless it comes up? Becomes a fun family fact. Beyond that. Not forbidden.

                    2. Feral factoid is how I tend to describe it– in context, at the time, fairly accurate, but what it seems to say and is used to say is not that.

                      The percent floats all over the 90s, BUT– it’s based on the idea that only about 2% of our DNA is relevant, ie, not junk.

                      Which is the old science part of it. ^.^

                      This article has a lot of the details:

                      And the now dead link to an article titled “Chimps Not Chumps” also by Westley J Smith points out that it’s based on comparing identified genes– and those were then compared to find “matching” ones in chimps. (article is still out there, just don’t want to double link. ^.^ )

                    3. The bulk of our DNA concerns the life processes of eukaryotic cells. Only a relatively small amount controls how those cells form more complex life forms — like us.

                      It makes sense. Life spent 3 billion years evolving into eukaryotic cells. Multicellular organisms have only been around for the last 600 million years.

          1. “Because we’re connected by a shared philosophy.”

            This is where I keep running into a brick wall with the essay Ian commissioned a couple weeks ago. We’re not blood and soil, we’re creedal. But if you claim to believe in the creed, what are you required to do to demonstrate it? And what then are we to do with people who are not only NOT demonstrating they share the creed, but are actively working against it and our behavior we use to demonstrate it?

            And where does that leave the “trust” in “high-trust society”?

            1. But if you claim to believe in the creed, what are you required to do to demonstrate it?

              Part of the issue is that our creed is such that a demand like that is most likely to get a response of “Who the hell are you to ask? On what authority do you dare make that requirement?”

            2. If the creed is Liberty

              Then the demonstrative bit is “non-conformity”.


              Expanding on that:

              “Demonstrate your love of Liberty by acting as you will.”

              Else you wind up with “demonstrate your adherence to liberty by your obedient compliance”. Or “…voluntary confomity” or something else that amounts to “obey other”

              That just seems fundamentally wrong.

              1. > “If the creed is Liberty

                Then the demonstrative bit is “non-conformity”.”

                No. If the creed is Liberty, you demonstrate your belief in it simply by leaving other people free.

                  1. If they likewise leave me free to not conform to theirs, yes. As long as they’re willing to leave others in peace then the rest is their choice, whether I approve of their choices or not.

                    1. If the Left could leave us free to NOT conform to their beliefs, they wouldn’t BE the Left.

                      They aren’t going to stop trying “By Any Means Necessary”. Just how much of a body count is required before Americans accept that fact?

                  1. I know, but I wasn’t talking about the left specifically. Mailclerk was presuming that you have to prove your commitment to the principle of liberty. I’m saying that’s backwards; you let them prove that they’re opposed to it.

                    1. How much proof do you need? We’re well past “reasonable doubt” and headed towards “certain as gravity”.

                    2. Again, I’m not talking about the left. I’m talking about how you figure out which side of the liberty/statism divide an individual is on.

                      I think we’re having two different conversations here.

              2. “Expanding on that:
                “Demonstrate your love of Liberty by acting as you will.”

                And if acting as I will is to impose my will by force or fraud? My neighbor wants to have a gas stove. I don’t think he should have one, so I will invent “studies” that “prove” I’m being harmed and say to my neighbor “why should you be allowed to harm me?”

                At some point, you have to consider Madison:

                “If Men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and the next place, oblige it to control itself.”

            3. Isn’t the core part of that, though, the agreement to what the boundaries are and how they are to be respected?

              I.e. “I’m ok with my neighbor doing crazy and insane things, so long as they are not raining high explosives down on my house.” And the real test is whether people can both agree upon the bounds and then actually respect them?

        2. Genetics is real. It’s not as simple as the stupid racists and ethnocrats believe. The human race as a whole has a very, very low variation compared to any other animal.
          When I mentioned genetics, I mean like YOU KNOW YOU’RE RELATED. Closely.
          It doesn’t seem to work outside second generation.

          1. Something about a massive culling we suffered 70k years ago. Supposedly there was a caldera volcanic eruption around that time, but I’ll go with aliens. 😉

            1. Toba Catastrophe Theory. The Toba caldera on Sumatra produced one of the dozen biggest volcanic eruptions in geologic history about 75,000 years ago.

              It’s a major plot point in a story I’m writing. So are the aliens. 😀

          2. I believe it was Razib Khan’s podcast where he or his guest said that if aliens came to Earth and started analyzing humanity on a genetic level, they would notice about six very different groups in Africa and one for everywhere else.

        3. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha no.

          First off, Japan does have reasonably large genetic variances in their society… but you don’t see those people on television in prestige shows. If you look around from province to province, people do come in different tribes. The biggest genetic differences are with the folks of Ainu heritage, but there are others.

          Basically you’re talking a huge wodge of Korean-wayback, a huge wodge of Ainu up north, and a lot of people who are a mishmash of those, plus Vietnamese, Chinese, and Mongol/Korean (more recent than the original Korean colonists). Oh, and of course the various ethnic groups from the old kingdom of Ryukyu, in Okinawa and other islands.

          Beyond that, however, there are tons of divisions in Japanese society that aren’t talked about, because legally you’re not supposed to admit that they exist. But they do. The young tend to want to fight them, but there are substantial penalties in one’s ability to live, if one tries to ignore them.

          Let’s start with the Eta or Burakumin. The untouchables, descended from Shinto and Buddhist ritually impure professions. Leatherworkers and butchers, garbagemen, latrine workers, etc. There are a lot of concealed “precautions” to make sure that modern people in these professions are not regarded as untouchables; but a lot of times, that’s who is still doing the work.

          There are also highly illegal books and websites of untouchable surnames and genealogies, so that ritually pure people don’t accidentally marry anybody like that. Since Japanese are required to maintain family registers and household registers, and since name changes are recorded in these registers, anybody sufficiently corrupt can keep these databases up to the minute.

          These people have no genetic difference from other Japanese. But they are almost always on the welfare rolls, because they’re not allowed to be employed in most jobs. The exceptions are the traditional fields (good luck if you’re squeamish or vegan), some theater and entertainment fields (because they’re run by the Yakuza), the Yakuza’s businesses, the Yakuza themselves, and Christian/Catholic businesses.

          I would also like to mention middle-aged unemployed Japanese businessmen, who make up the vast majority of the homeless. They do not apply for welfare assistance, because that would bring shame on their families, and would show up on the illegal family register databases. So they usually go somewhere and try to disappear, so that the neighbors won’t talk.

          Then there’s orphans. No matter how neglected, they’re still on their family register and are still liable for any family debt. Japanese orphanages are mostly terrible, but it’s extremely difficult to adopt any child unless one is already a member of the family they’re registered to. Also, the terrible orphanages have been known to send kids away but keep collecting their government funding. Good luck if you’re a foreigner who wants to adopt.

          Disabled people of any kind, except maybe war injuries. There’s a reason you rarely see such people in Japanese society, and it’s not because there aren’t any. There’s a ton of institutionalization, because disabled people look bad to the neighbors or make it hard for your relatives to get married. You can add 200% to this, for mental illness or developmental disabilities.

          People from the wrong provinces, particularly those on the west coast of Japan. Because they’re hicks, and also because their ancestors beat the tar out of the shoguns. And the Christianity, don’t forget that.

          Japan is full of kind people, and many of them are fighting these kinds of divisions. But there are tons and tons and tons of divisions.

          You are looking at the wallpaper, and not noticing all the lumps and bumps underneath it. (Plus an entire set of rooms behind several doors covered in wallpaper.)

          1. Also, deep divisions between shogun-supporting clans and Meiji Emperor-supporting clans, and Tojo supporters vs peace guys.

            People who were adopted into other clans and still have deep ties with the other clan (usually across business/politics, but sometimes it is academics/lawyers/businesses). Also clan marriages (the guy who marries the boss’ daughter and takes the boss’ name is the next CEO).

            One of the highest rates of political assassinations of not just politicians, but bureaucrats and union officials, up until the 1950’s or so.

            New religions vs everybody else vs Christian religions vs newer Christian denominations.

            Army vs Navy, the cause of a lot of assassinations and WWII atrocities.

            I could go on.

            1. Further information on the wallpaper:
              After WWII, and up into the 70s or so, Japan had a massive crime problem– they were definitely low trust.

              Now, if you set your wallet on top of an ATM, you get it back completely intact.

              They did this by having really freaking draconian enforcement of very clear rules.

    1. “I maintain that socialism can and will work…at the micro level of a nuclear family. ”

      It worked pretty well with monastic orders too. Of course, a person was allowed to leave those if he couldn’t stand them.

      1. I was going to post that the only place there is true socialism that actually works is in a religious monastery or convent.

        They key to having not devolve into tyranny is the you must be absolutely free to join or not.

        But even there you you have varying levels of hard work and sponging if the written accounts of religious life are true. And anyone who has done team projects of any kind would not be surprised by this.

        1. The commune The Farm is still going – because they changed the rules to require written contracts. You have to know what you are getting into, you have to pull your load, or out you go. That’s the only even a hippie commune can survive.

      2. And they could, and did, kick people out.

        And even then, we’ve got a bunch of saints where their backstory is basically, “and they were in a religious order, and people were a-holes.”

        1. And boy did they hate it when said saints went to the rule book and rewrote it to fix the abuses that had crept in. (St. John of the Cross had his work cut out for him.)

          1. Was it Benedict who got chased out of his first monastery because the monks revolted?

        1. There was one spiritual writer who said that you really needed a cranky horrible monk in every monastery, and that the abbot should send for one if he didn’t have one. And they do seem to show up a lot in the backstory of saints, including St. Therese.

          I thought this was hilarious, because one of my old pastors had a brief stay at St. Meinrad’s, and tangled with the exact same cranky beekeeper monk who appears prominently in bios of Blessed Solanus Casey.

          Except the beatified dude eventually made the cranky monk give up, because ridiculously cheerful (and also the whole frequent miracleworking thing, which would kinda take the wind out of crankiness). Whereas the pastor, not so much on either. (I would have the same problem.)

          “Metal sharpens metal,” as they say. But virtue sharpening virtue is a little nicer than crankiness as a sharpener.

          1. One of those former monks favorite anecdote was the time the other monks advised him if he got clarvoiance they were leaving.

            By the time I knew him, he had rubbed the sharp edges off and developed quite a sense of humor. 🙂

      3. Some people decided to read up on the Rule of St. Benedict to study intentional societies.

        They were shocked and horrified to find the rule that if anyone wanted to give a monk a gift, the abbot choose whether it was accepted, and which monk got to use it, but after reflection concluded it couldn’t work any other way.

    2. And even so, there are still many stories after everyone’s moved out of the parents’ house about that one sibling that constantly leeches off of everyone else.

      1. I have a sibling who resembles that remark. Second cousins? Nah, within our own family. Sigh.

        One of many reasons why I live 2K miles from most of the rest of the family. My tolerance for drama and BS is limited. OTOH, I stand a good chance of outliving the worst…

    3. David Friedman wrote a substack post back in February touching on running things at the micro level of a nuclear family. Actually two nuclear families: “Two Libertarian Families”

      Were there any obvious reasons for the differences in our child-rearing strategies? One is that we had two children, they had five; the advantages of decentralized market decision making are typically greater the larger the number of people being coordinated.

      1. I personally like David Friedman, and I have eaten at his fireside (like thousands of other people in the SCA).

        It also squicks me out tremendously that one of his kids (whom I probably also met as a nice well-behaved kid) outsourced his wife’s childbearing to one of those poor woman Indian surrogates in a locked dormitory.

        But yeah, she seemed totally okay when we met her under the eyes of her minders. Surrrre.

        I mean, come on. You can’t tell me that struck you as legitimate use of libertarian freedom, when the woman bearing your child is being exploited, even if it was in a gentle way, or even if the woman gets better nutrition than back in the village or slum. There’s making choices, and then there’s making deeply dishonorable choices.

        So yeah, there’s a problem with any philosophy that takes away your tools for objecting to terrible situations. Terrible things can be legal without being in any way moral.

      2. As a parent/educator who spent a lot of time trying to puzzle out child managing tactics, I think he missed a big aspect– the two-child family was organized to take much less work on the part of the parents.

  6. Truth!

    Do not help them. Do not vote for crazy. Vote against them.

    Force them to install their clown candidates through election fraud and quasi-legal trickery like declaring the opposition candidate ineligible to run. Make them show everybody what they are, again and again, until even the most complacent Normies decide they’re as mad as hell and they’re not going to take it any more.

    Then the clown show will start to fall apart.

    There are two parts to election fraud: inflating the vote count for their candidates, and diminishing the count for their opponents. At least make them do that much.
    Elections are far too important to be left up to a bunch of uncontrolled voters. The Party MUST exercise oversight and management to prevent mere voters from electing the wrong candidates!

      1. Hand your children over to people you KNOW are predatory abusers because such rampant abuse must bring wrath down upon the wicked. That’s the level of stupid they’re selling.

      2. Like what Dagny Taggart said in a board meeting near the end of Atlas Shrugged: “I will not lend legitimacy to this directive. I won’t help you pretend what you’re doing is not what you’re doing.”

    1. If someone is actually dying you don’t have to “help” them die. It can’t be stopped.

      If our country is actually terminally ill, then we certainly don’t have to help it die. But it might just be only mostly dead.

      Which, as you all know, means it’s partly alive.

    2. Also make them show how little they care for competence. I mean, Biden, Buttigieg, Fetterman….all, at best, marginally competent but pliable. Let folks realize the Party wants people their unelected leadership can use as sock puppets.

      1. The ‘Progressives’ have managed to assemble an entire administration without including one single competent individual, even by accident. That couldn’t have been easy. The clowns have taken over the circus, and the result is not entertaining.

              1. Like the person who had to get around me so badly, they started the pass just at the (very short) “do not pass” stripe.

                God was merciful, and nobody was just over the slight rise. Not sure if I would have avoided the mess. OTOH, there’s a stretch of mountain road a few miles up that used to do a fine job of giving out Darwin Awards. (Happened once; bad pass from an intoxicated driver, followed 10 minutes later by emergency dispatch callout at the right point. Not my circus, but the schadenfreude was there.) ODOT fixed it a few years later. It did collect too many innocents, so OK. /shrugs

        1. The head of the National Transportation Safety Board (female) called out the people blaming Trump for the East Palestine derailment (pointed out the train was not covered by the regulation they were citing) and asked people from her own party to quit spreading disinformation and let the NTSB work. I think we have the exception that proves the rule here.

          1. Democrat. But nominated to the Board by Trump, same as all three of the other members (one seat is still vacant). Biden only nominated her to be the Chair – and that person has always been a currently serving member.

            In fact, I think she’s the only Democrat on the Board, and definitely the only female; Biden didn’t have much choice there. Chapman is definitely Republican; the other two are veterans.

          2. The NTSB is hard-core about not having their investigations messed with. Plane, train, commercial bus, if they think you might be trying to steer the investigation, they come down like Thor’s Hammer on the you.

            I chatted with one of their aviation people at a meeting one time. Very interesting conversation. She did grumble about politicians taking their final reports and then holding back some bits or over-playing other bits, but that was after she finished her work and the final report had been released.

  7. Not sure if I misunderstood pph 5 sentence 2; should “approve” read “disapprove”? Kick me if I missed something.

    Areas with large extents of arable land and without overpopulation (ex. Canada, US, Russia/Siberia/Ukraine) need not despair. We won’t starve. Toss out some regulations and we will thrive.

    Education programs to serve the truly gifted and talented can be quickly resurrected to produce the best brains in the world within a mere decade or less. Our tech can thrive.

    Regime change is not required. As long as the private sector is mostly free to innovate (sorry, kind of an “if” here) we’ll be fine.

    It matters not if a politician/decision-maker’s head is buried in the right or the left side of the manure pile. The perspective remains the same.

      1. If the ratio of entertaining typos to total typos is a guide, the Reader thinks you are pretty good with typos…

          1. Put it this way: there’s a reason we don’t want you to hire a proofreader. 😛

            1. Laughs quietly so as to not awaken the sleeping beauties. (The dog gets up in 30 minutes, $SPOUSE when she’s ready.)

              1. Because, Ma’am, you have the most inspiring (oft-times hilarious, too) typos in Known Space, and several other realities.

                We’re Odd, not bad. :_

                1. Eh, it’s not worth the effort. You get 90% of it with the villainy stuff, and then you can use the time and money for on the job training.

    1. > “Regime change is not required. As long as the private sector is mostly free to innovate (sorry, kind of an “if” here) we’ll be fine.”

      Without regime change I doubt the private sector WILL be free. These people always want more control and aren’t very good at taking “no” for an answer.

  8. “Look, China can’t keep us going with minimal amounts of food,”

    China can’t even feed itself these days. If it couldn’t import food from abroad (iirc, Brazil is a primary source), it would be in serious trouble. AFAICT, this is something that’s happened over the last few decades due to land overuse and mismanagement. Given that, getting the Communists out of power would probably see the issues corrected in short order. But first the Communists would need to be removed from power.

    Also, China appears to be extremely shaky (even more so than usual) economically and financially these days. It’s been mentioned in the comments over the last few days, but things are getting very bad. The best comparison that I can make is probably to a logjam in front of a dam. The logjam has interrupted the flow of water, which is now building up behind the jam. But if the jam is just cleared, then the release of the crush of water will cause the dam to collapse. The only hope of the CCP is to clear just enough of the jam to get the water flowing again so that the pressure behind the jam can start to drop back down to normal levels. It’s not much of a hope, imo, but it’s the only one that they’ve got.

    1. The damage they’ve done to their soils over the past two thousand years or so . . . It’s amazing the amount of serious long-term destruction an entrenched bureaucracy can accomplish. Then along came the 20th century and added a force multiplier (“a little fertilizer is good so dump the entire sack on each plant! A little water is good so Irrigate All The Things!!!!!!!!”) And that’s just what they officially acknowledge. shudder

        1. Something like that. In the case of the Yellow River, people know what the problem was. They knew how to start reducing the problem, if not completely fixing the problem. But the mandarins were too entrenched, and no one wanted to make the huge mental shift needed to change business-as-usual and stop making things worse. The System had too much inertia and too many self-interested parties to admit that “mistakes were being made.”

          The new environmental history of the Yellow River is like reading a fascinating, 1800 year ongoing train wreck.

          1. There’s an interesting book on the management practices of the United States Marine Corp. A couple of things are related. First, the push control as far down the chain as they can, to the point that some people go “huh?”. Second, they tell them what the actual goals are. The example is a case where they tried to take three bridges and failed, the goal was to get across the river, not capture all three bridges.

          2. 1800 year ongoing train wreck

            I suspect that in 3700AD there will be a similar book about the US Army Corps of Engineers.

    2. Chinas reopening wasn’t. Have a look at the quaintly titled Baltic Dry Index for some idea. Baltic Dry measures the price of bulk shipping. It’s hitting all time lows. Japanese exports to China have collapsed and the only thing keeping the headline measures positive is the inflation. Volume of trade is collapsing all over, but especially China. Things are bad.

      I had to go into the office again today and without giving too much away about my actual day job, my being busy is NOT a good sign. There’s what appears to be a bank run underway right now in Silicon Valley and a Crypto “bank” liquidated yesterday. One of the biggest Swiss Banks is in the ropes. Things are bad, very bad, I’m not hopeful because I don’t believe in magic and magic is all they have left.

      1. And yet, people keep talking about, “China’s recovery,” as if it’s a law of nature. Probably because they’re paid to.
        Just how many graveyards are people whistling past?

        1. A lot of it is wishful thinking. There’s a lot of people in China, which means that there’s a lot of money to be made if you can just harness that. And the other three East Asian countries are all amazingly well-off (for countries that aren’t the US). Unfortunately, there’s the twin issues of Communism and corruption. The former invariably includes the latter, but China was already hideously corrupt before the Communists won.

          1. If you an an infinite number of people, but they are broke, you have no market. Potential markets don’t truthfully buy. It is like trying to harness a ghost.

            1. It was never about that “billion consumers” in Red China. Anyone who actually looked at putting significant investment into industries there knew that there were (and still are) between five and ten million mainland Chinese that have the consumption power of the upper level poor in the US, or higher.

              It was always about making things to sell to the two hundred million or so in the US that are in that consumer demographic. With a much higher profit margin than could be achieved in the US, even back in the mid-1970s.

              The political objective, of course, was to make Red China dependent on those two hundred million or so. Which they are, no matter how much Xi wants it to be different. As our hostess has noted, and we all know, if this nation has a cold, most of the world catches the flu. And, if we catch the flu, going into anything like the Great Depression – places like Red China will suffer the Black Plague.

              1. Ever since I started watching The China Show, I’ve been getting information that agrees more with the vague mental pictures that I’ve gotten from people who’ve lived there, or who were writing webnovels set in even an idealized version of China.

                I mean, I don’t pay attention to the stuff people make a big deal about. It’s the small background details that are just throwaways. And frankly, those details are what’s telling. And they’re telling me that things are bad.

                There’s a lot of “keeping face” in China, but there’s also a lot of cultural respect for telling the truth in order to get things done. It’s a way to tell other people that you trust them. But the CCP leaders never ever play this card, even in small matters, because they’re idiots/fearful, and they know they’re in the wrong.

                Of course, this is also true of many woke politicians in the US, but there are a lot fewer bodies to cover up.

                1. A couple of years ago, Michael Totten observed that ethnic Chinese do quite well everywhere in the world… except within China itself. That last bit isn’t a new thing, either. China’s always been a roller coaster.

                  There’s one other element to keep in mind, though the Communists have largely destroyed it. Family and clan used to be very important. Corruption within the government was often on nepotistic lines, with clan members looking out for each other and coming to dominate the government.

                  On the other hand, this also meant that when things got bad enough, punishments could extend to the entire clan, as well. For example, the first Empress of the Han Dynasty was an absolute tyrant after her husband died. And she elevated many of her clan members into important posts to help solidify control of the new dynasty. So after she died and her political opponents (and people in general who wanted the dynasty to succeed) moved to clean things up, they wiped out her entire clan down to the last member.

                  Similarly, the worst punishment that the Ming Dynasty (the second to last dynasty) could inflict was to “execute everyone down to ten generations”. This meant that anyone related to the accused within ten generations or less was to be killed. That’s a very wide-ranging net. But sometimes it was felt that was what was needed to get the job down (though sometimes the Emperor just felt like being a jerk).

                  1. Third to last. The Communists are just another dynasty, with different succession rules.

                  2. ethnic Chinese do quite well everywhere in the world… except within China itself

                    Eric Weinstein on Joe Rogan the other day asserted that diaspora communities — like Jews, Chinese everywhere but China, Gujaratis in East Africa, etc. — are always The Other and are always under threat, so they have to be more successful, contribute more, pay more taxes, and so forth, to keep the country afloat and healthy and wealthy, because in any downturn they are the ones to pay.

                    He was answering the Kanye West/Austrian corporal kerfuffle, and pointed out that Jews historically emphasized not so much wealth per se, but liquid wealth, because the Jews who weren’t rich, or weren’t liquid enough to drop everything and skedaddle, died in the camps (or the pogroms, although he didn’t say that).

                    1. Chinese aren’t diaspora in either Taiwan or Singapore. And yet both locations are some of the most prosperous in the world.

                      The question is what would have happened if the Nationalists had remained in control on the mainland in the decades following the end of World War 2. Would we see parts of the country that resembled modern South Korea or Taiwan? Or would China be in only somewhat better shape than it is under the Communists?

                    2. Singapore Chinese are absolutely diaspora, what are you talking about?

                      Taiwan is arguable, since Han Chinese only started emigrating there in large numbers in the 1600s when it was a Dutch colony. It was only ever part of the Chinese Empire from [checks Wikipedia] 1683-1895.

                    3. Singapore is almost 75% Chinese, according to Wikipedia’s list of basic info about the city-state. There are other ethnic groups within the city. But the city is very much majority Chinese.

                    4. Yeah, and? And Brighton Beach, NYC, was probably 80% Jewish at one point. Doesn’t mean they weren’t diaspora. Ancient Massalia was nearly 100% Hellene; still diaspora.

                      Majority !== not diaspora

                      Not in ancestral homeland === diaspora

                    5. Does it list which Chinese?

                      Because saying that someone is “Chinese” is kind of like saying that they’re “African”– it’s a useful group, but not a unified one.

                    6. Under that argument, every last person in the US is diaspora, aside from maybe the native tribes.

                      Jews might have been a majority in Brighton Beach, but they still had to answer to higher levels of government that weren’t majority Jewish. Singapore is a city-state, so there is no higher level of government.

                    7. Responses to two different comments –

                      No idea on the exact break-up of Chinese in Singapore. I know that Cantonese is spoken by a large sub-set of the population, though Mandarin is more common.

                      “OF COURSE WE’RE ALL DIASPORA.”

                      And when does a group stop being diaspora? There have been European settlements in what is now the US for over 400 years now. At what point do the descendants of those settlers stop being “diaspora”? Were the Carthaginians still Phoenician diaspora when the Romans razed the city at the conclusion of the Third Punic War? The latter seems silly, but it’s only twice as long as an American who can trace much of his or her ancestry back to the initial European colonies along the Eastern Seaboard. Is there a difference? If so, what is it?

                      Yes, people still move into the US from overseas to live here, and Chinese who have immigrated to the US are a diaspora. But Chinese are a group whose entry into the country was almost entirely banned by the Chinese Exclusion Act (which was finally repealed in 1943, during the middle of World War 2). So the bulk of them have only arrived within the last several decades (though there were a number that arrived before the Exclusion Act was passed). The vast majority of them are third generation immigrants at most. That’s still a group of fairly recent arrivals.

                    8. Is there a difference? If so, what is it?


                      Genetics have very little to do with it– part of why the “kill the men, rape the women” tactic is not an invariable win.

                      America kind of… made an entire CULTURE that’s daspora.

                      Like a patchwork quilt as opposed to putting a patch on a quilt.

                    9. Even the ‘Native Americans’ only arrived here some 17,000 years ago, migrating across the Bering Strait during the last Ice Age.

                      20,000 years ago there were no humans on these continents. There were no horses, cows, chickens, pigs, cats or rats until Europeans brought them here in the 16th century. They didn’t mean to bring the rats.
                      Mollari: “Do you know what the last Xon said, just before he died? AAAGHKK!”

                    10. Tiny quibble. Horses were here. They developed in the Americas and went west. Then the new arrivals seem to have eaten them, the ones that didn’t die off in the species collapses at the end of the Pleistocene.

            2. Most people think most of China is like Shanghai. Places like Gansu Province (to pick a “western” province at random) never cross their minds.

          2. Tell you true, I’m most afraid of Pakistan right now. 300mm people, with nukes, bordering India with nukes, Iran with probably nukes and Afghanistan. Their reserves were down to 7 days recently till China sorta bailed them out. Think about Sri Lanka, no fuel, no food, and the bomb. It’s a nightmare.

            1. And a government that’s batguano by our standards.
              I remain afraid that Iran will make its, “Look, we have the Bomb!” announcement by exploding it in Riyadh. Or Tel Aviv. Or Frankfurt (that one would be the, “look, you knew I was a snake when you picked me up,” motivation).

              1. Probably not Riyadh. Apparently the Saudis just made a deal with the mullahs, brokered by China. /eyeroll

                1. Brazil – under the leadership of their flagrantly fraudulently elected president – just brokered an agreement with Iran, as well. This one will allow Iranian warships to dock in Rio. Admittedly, the actual Iranian combat fleet is itty-bitty ships that would likely have trouble leaving the Gulf. But I suspect that the agreement includes “auxiliaries” and “support ships”, as well as actual combat vessels.

                  How’s that BOLD, NEW RESPECT AROUND THE WORLD working out for ya, huh, Joe?

                    1. She’s a converted oil tanker.

                      Like I said, “auxiliaries” and “support ships”. But since there aren’t any Iranian combat ships to support in the region, this one must be supporting something else…

                2. I guess I’m biased, but that almost makes me expect it more. As in, “OK, now it will so much easier to smuggle the bomb in!”

                3. Well, they really didn’t have a choice once China installed their viceroy here.

  9. Spotted this earlier today via a link at PJ Media (and I can’t remember for the life of me where I got the link to the PJ Media article). If you want to go to church in Henan Province in China (located in “Central” China, which means on the more eastern side of the country these days), you need to register with a mobile app. Rather worrying for those in China. Hopefully not a precursor of things to come elsewhere in both that country, and the rest of the world.

    1. Already here, no app required.

      “Using cellular mobility data from a company called SafeGraph, which aggregates location data from 47 million devices nationwide to show movement patterns, the county also set up a geofence around the church building to track how many people visited each day, documents obtained by Zweig show. The county paid Stanford Law Professor Daniel Ho $800 an hour to analyze the data, determining there was a daily peak of 1,700 people visiting in early 2021.”

      1. I know you know enough about technology to be aware there is a massive difference between “there were cellular device connection pings in this area” and this:

        According to the “Smart Religion” requirements formulated by Henan’s provincial religious department, if religious believers want to participate in religious activities, they must make online reservations before they can attend services in churches, mosques, or Buddhist temples.

        Local believers must register and make an appointment through an application called “Smart Religion,” developed by the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission of Henan Province.

        According to the application’s requirements, religious people must select the religious venue they want to attend before booking. Still, the use of religious identification keywords such as “mosque,” “temple,” “Christianity,” and “Catholicism” is not allowed.

        Applicants must fill in personal information, including name, phone number, ID number, permanent residence, occupation, and date of birth, before they can make a reservation. Those who are allowed into the church must also have their temperature taken and show a reservation code.

        1. While this wasn’t the same thing that is happening in Henan, there was some pretty blatant anti-church stuff going on during the lockdowns in multiple blue cities. It got bad enough – all from local governments – that the US Supreme Court had to step in.

          1. Heck yes there was very obvious malice against religions other than Progress!— New York Freaking City wasn’t even SUBTLE about targeting observant Jewish communities!

            Heck, in this cellphone situation, they had literal physical watchers on scene.

            That does not change that “used advertising data from cellphones to track about how many people went to the church” (and wow would I not want to try to defend that one in court) is an entirely different creature from “must have gov’t permission slip on gov’t phone to get reservation to enter a religious service.”

            1. Now I’m remembering the guy with 99 cellphones on a little red wagon who creates virtual traffic jams….

              1. Bingo!

                :snickers: Oh, and there are even more ways to make it fun, for things that only require a ping rather than making a use request.

                Then you have all the stuff that is cell-communication enabled, but not actually in use– such as my old cellphone that has all the stupid apps on it– inflating the numbers.

        2. Oh, I do. Of course, I also know the difference between what they’ll admit is available and what actually is available. Most people (including here) probably weren’t aware that the tech has already been deployed to seamlessly alter your title deeds. Heck, I didn’t…. until I actually saw it in use.

          1. Wrong conversation; this is the one where you claiming that advertising data is the same as your gov’t-mandated phone having a mandated app with a permission slip filled out to be allowed to go to a religious service.

            The one where you affected shock that online, searchable recordings of currently active covenants can be edited to reflect the currently active covenants was over here, when it became obvious that people were actually cleaning up voter rolls in California of all places, and it had been verified by checking those rolls.

            1. It’s not advertising data; it’s simply the record of who was where. Was it “advertising” when your Good Guys used it to determine who was near the US Capitol to be harassed over January 6? How about when True The Vote used it to identify and showcase the 2000 Mules?

              The data is what it is, and can be used for any purpose someone wants to use it for.

              1. It is literally data for targeting advertising, and is absolutely NOT in the same category as China’s totalitarian abuses.


                Was it “advertising” when your Good Guys used it to determine who was near the US Capitol to be harassed over January 6?

                There is no way you are ignorant enough to be unable to tell a data collection firm from cellphone GPS data from Google obtained via a warrant

                1. Sorry, Foxfier, I work with location data daily. It is simply a record of who was where. It isn’t gathered for advertising; it’s just a data lake sitting there for an analytics query “Tell me what phones were near this location within this time frame.” Could be a store, a polling place, a church, the address of a murder, etc., etc.

                  1. :points at the literal website for the data which was involved:

                    The data existing, anywhere, in some form, is not the data being in someone’s hands and complete.

                    No matter where you have worked, or how much you really want the US to be fallen.

                    Have fun LARPing how we’re living in Literally Worse Than Hitler world, even if you do have to franticly change the subject every time your doom demands are met with facts you dislike.

                    1. As opposed to LARPing in Norman Rockwell, where The Cops Are Your Friends?

                      To each his own.

                    2. :points, again, to the the facts while he wants to pretend to be in as dire a situation as the Chinese who are prisoners in their own country:

                    3. No, I want us to avoid letting it go that far.

                      The technology is available to make it happen. SCOTUS ruled that the government must have a warrant to get that data itself…. so, once again, they took it private and went around our civil rights.

                      “In its landmark Carpenter v. United States decision, the Supreme Court held that government agencies accessing historical location data without a warrant were violating the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable searches. But the ruling was narrowly construed. Privacy advocates say the decision left open a glaring loophole that allows the government to simply purchase whatever it cannot otherwise legally obtain. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Defense Intelligence Agency are among the list of federal agencies known to have taken advantage of this loophole.

                      The Department of Homeland Security, for one, is reported to have purchased the geolocations of millions of Americans from private marketing firms. In that instance, the data were derived from a range of deceivingly benign sources, such as mobile games and weather apps. Beyond the federal government, state and local authorities have been known to acquire software that feeds off cellphone-tracking data. ”


                    4. Then you should go tell you:

                      junior says:March 9, 2023 at 3:47 pm
                      Spotted this earlier today via a link at PJ Media (and I can’t remember for the life of me where I got the link to the PJ Media article). If you want to go to church in Henan Province in China (located in “Central” China, which means on the more eastern side of the country these days), you need to register with a mobile app. Rather worrying for those in China. Hopefully not a precursor of things to come elsewhere in both that country, and the rest of the world.

                      snelson134 says:March 9, 2023 at 5:46 pm
                      Already here, no app required.

                2. Oh, you mean the comment you linked that had jack shit to do with location tracking. Sorry you can’t read.

                  1. I’m starting to think that you don’t bother reading your own posts.

                    I linked to the conversation where you jumped from it being shown, repeatedly, that people were doing effective work on the voter roles, over to being shocked that online, searchable databases can be edited.

                    In direct response to you jumping from conflating “using advertising data, here is the company that sold it to them” from “literally required to have a government issued phone, with a government required app, and mandatory reservations, in order to enter a religious service.

        1. “What if I need to call for…”
          “A handi-talkie and a membership to a repeater club with an autopatch.”
          “But anyone with scanner can listen in.”
          “SO? NOW you are actively AWARE that someone is listening.”

        2. In China the government gets around that by essentially making it impossible to do much of anything without a phone app. You frequently can’t even leave your apartment building without using a phone app to open the building door.

        3. Yep. Although the latest thing (one of the DFW auto dealer holding companies did it) was to put an “add-on dongle” on the diagnostic port that had it’s own cell phone and would dial up and dump engine diagnostic stuff. Phone bill paid by dealership; apparently the actual service is pretty cheap in bulk. People were getting amazingly timely e-mails about “now that you’ve driven x,000 miles, these are the recommended services”.

          What got them in trouble is that they put in a plug that would only talk to their dealerships’ diagnostic equipment. That ran them afoul of the Federal law that says the seller can’t stop you from seeing your own mechanic. Supposedly they removed / replaced them with one that was universal and didn’t phone home….

      2. Mentioned in that or another article on the subject was the fact that the Santa Clara PTBs had not-so-undercover cars doing surveillance of the megachurch in question. So, even if you left your phone at home, if you drove, you were counted.

        Oct 31, 2003. The last day I set foot in Santa Clara County. Ever. It was bad then, seems to be much worse now. Far worse.

        1. Thinking about it, where the surveillance is bordering on harassment, wouldn’t it be a shame if somebody strolled up to the snoop cars, took pictures of the plates and really good pictures of the snoops? Posting on the web? Maybe.

            1. Tech town; might be possible to a) use telephoto and b) obsfuscate the pics. TOR ain’t the only game in town.

              The article in PJM had them being more creepy than I first thought. Peering into windows to see if youth-groups had the nerve to be unmasked.

              It’s a different country (sort of), but if that were tried in $TINY_TOWN, the surveillers might find themselves on the wrong end of 3S. Note that the OR-OSHA mask-nazis never showed at the rural stores.

            2. There’s a US Supreme Court decision from not all that long ago (Obama was in the White House, iirc) stating that you’re allowed to take pictures and/or video of the police. Doesn’t mean that the cops haven’t arrested people anyway. But there is a precedent decision on the matter that’s not going anywhere with the current make-up of the court.

  10. Re the black dog, the Tumblr meme comes to mind: “I’m in this picture and I don’t like it.”

    Despair really does offer the legendary “to every problem there is a solution that is simple, easy, and wrong.”

    I keep going because I’m too mulish bloody-minded to stop. And because if I die, who’s going to finish my stories? The characters need me, even if it seems no one else does….

    That said, I honestly wish the Great Author would write me a Breather Episode. Y’know, just for the novelty.

      1. I’m going to get back to Oni. I just need my brain to calm down and stop panicking.

        …I’m paying bills back, it’s going to take a while but I will. I just… need to believe I can pick up the stories and keep writing them.

          1. Hugs back


            …Dratted panic brain, set off by things as small as “oh noes I set the alarm to wake up early”. Meaning no matter how early I went to bed I can’t sleep until after midnight because only utter exhaustion will do it, meaning the day I most need sleep to function, I generally have had 4 hours or less….


                1. If my van’s tank is on empty, and it manages to limp along to where I need to be anyways, I don’t get upset– I’m amazed and happy it made it.

                  But people are generally harder on themselves, especially when there’s nothing to be done to fix it.

                2. And the Inner Critic (or Bitch) which makes it very clear that no matter what you do, it Isn’t Enough.
                  Been there, done that. She/he/it lies. I’m adding another hug and saying, keep going. We’re all rooting for you.

              1. Coworker needed early shift covered for a doctor’s appointment, and I needed the hours. Given the physical havoc wreaked, though, I’m definitely going to pause and reflect before doing anything like that again.

                1. Brown noise recordings are pretty helpful. Or audiobooks that aren’t very exciting, set on a slow setting. I also like the box fan recordings, but they have to actually sound like a fan.

                    1. That’s what I generally try to do. Fortunately I’ve only been so stressed I was awake three straight days once.

                      …Seriously, if you think you’ve been exposed to Lyme, get treated. That spirochete is one nasty bugger.

            1. MeToo. 0200, wide awake, “Oh no, I didn’t e-mail the person I needed to e-mail and will she be angry with me and will she complain to my boss and we might get sued and . . . .” In a dizzy whirl for hours. I have to stop reading about the collegiate cancel culture. I’m not in that environment any more. But some things linger.

        1. Sometimes, all I have left is the memory of my mom’s voice repeating, over and over:

          “I think I can. I think I can.”

          “I -know- I can! I -know- I can!”

          Thanks, mom. You were right.

        1. You can find one. Even a small one. Heck, even blogposts of “I read this genre book and here’s where it’s good, and where it truly sucketh”, has turned out to be a Useful Thing for people. You matter.

          1. When you have little income, Kaiser of Mordor has a thing called MFA that lets you skip copays, which can save thousands. Ours expires soon, so needed to call to find out what this years hurtles were. Spent time going from “Phone # no longer valid”, to calling member services, to finally being transferred to some one who knew.

            But this story is not about me. It seems the real reason I called, was to bless the woman who gave me the info. She needed to hear what I had to say. Read her a couple of my poems about hard times, offered to pray for her. Prayed for her. She said I was just what she needed. God will use our pain if we let Him.

            I have had several divine appointments this past week, waiting to get blood drawn, getting money at the bank, in the frozen food of Safeway, on the phone. In addition to the lifesaving miracle of not being hit by the guy doing 50 in a 25 zone as I was making a U turn. I figure he had to have somehow traveled through my car without hitting it. That does not surprise me.

            We all have opportunities to be a blessing. One thing I suggest: take a blank piece of paper, write down 5 things you take for granted. When you do, and you realize you should thank someone. Go to them. Thank them, and suggest they take a blank piece of paper…Suggesting that to the lady on the phone led directly to the prayer. We do not appreciate what we take for granted. The two secrets of life, Joy and Gratitude.

            1. Oh yeah, “Three Nice Things”.

              My siblings and I hated that one when we were growing up.

              Whenever we were sniping at each other, but it wasn’t serious enough for spanking, Mom would punish us by making us say three nice things about the sibling we were fighting with. It’s really hard to say something kind about someone you’re mad at.

              But by the time you’re done, you aren’t so mad at the person anymore.

              Of course, she wouldn’t allow backhanded ones. She’d add to the number of nice things you had to say if you did those. I think the record for additions was nine.

              It works for life, relationships and employment too. Even if you have to start at the most very basic level, like “I have a roof over my head” or “He doesn’t beat me” or “It pays enough to cover my bills.”

          1. Pretty much this. “I didn’t scream at anyone. I did not throw anything at anyone. Not even That One Dudette. I win.”

            1. I’m so isolated that there isn’t anybody to scream at. Which is probably just as well.

              1. You’re here with us (virtually), aren’t you? Even at a distance, you’ve got a connection. We want to see you here again, Matt. Drop in tomorrow, or on my site when you feel like it. Leave a comment or two. I leave likes on comments even if I have no specific answers or am too tired to chat right away.

              2. Umpteen years ago, I had a major depression crisis. Scared to death of trying to commit suicide (beat that one back, though it took several tries to get the @#$%^ gunsafe open to remove that level of temptation). For reasons, I had nobody close by I could talk to. (God was collaborating with Murphy that night. Not sure why, but it didn’t kill me. Might have made me stronger. Flips coin.)

                Got on line, though I had to jump a few hurdles; my regular login (preeeeeeeeee web) was broken, so I used an admin account. Sent a “I’m hurting” email to a list I frequented. No immediate response, so I crawled off to bed.. Just doing the data dump helped.

                The next morning, replies. It helped more.

                The morning after that, I was able to contact more people, including a relative who was a pro at this type of situation. That got me on a road to dealing with the issues.

                TL;DR: I was able to “talk” to people online, and it helped. Professional help is/was optional. YMMV.

                1. I suppose one could always try making one’s depression work for one.

                  “No, you can’t kill your self by {suicide method}, you’d probably just mess it up anyway, and be in even worse shape afterward. It’s not worth the trouble.”

                  As far as finding purpose…

                  For a while there was “You have to get up and go to work, the cats need kibble.”
                  And then I ran out of cats.
                  So now it’s “My parents house is not going to get built without my help.” and “I haven’t finished remodeling my apartment, it would be rude to leave it in an un-rentable condition.” and “But what about the houseplants?” and “You haven’t finished your gardening experiments. You have to find out what happens!

                  Unfinished business: It’s not just for lingering ghosts anymore!

                2. Glad you got some help. When I ask for help all I get is abuse and ridicule, along with being told by quite a few people to go ahead and kill myself. I have learned to never ask for help.

                  1. Maybe you were just asking the wrong people. We’re not the type to encourage suicide or kick people while they’re down.

                    Hell, Sarah (and others) would probably go ballistic on anyone here who did that.

                    1. No. I’m just in a lot of pain. But I shouldn’t expect anything but ridicule and abuse.

                    2. It’s not ridicule or abuse. Ken came in claiming to be in a lot of pain and I swear not to know how to wash himself.
                      IF you are real and who you say you are, you definitely should, soonest, go see someone about it.
                      Yes, I know most of the psych profession is corrupt. So? You’re in enough trouble it doesn’t matter.
                      Alternately, buy 12 rules for life, and read it. REALLY read it. Then move on to watching his videos.
                      I think your most obvious issue from what you say is that you’re isolated to a point NO ONE GETS ISOLATED without some active participation that drives others away. Sorry, but that is true. And if people are reacting with hostility to your cries for help, you should consider how you’re conveying those, and why people are doing that. Or if perhaps you are imagining the hostility and ridicule — as you did with my answer, which was a legitimate query since I finally seem to have blocked Ken and he presented much as you did to begin with — and therefore self-isolating.
                      You can’t tell us everyone around you is a villain, and every potential acquaintance nefarious.
                      Note I’m not saying you’re a villain either. I’m saying something is wrong with your interface with your own species, and fixing it passes through fixing that.
                      So, consider ways to do it. Because you know, human beings are social apes. Isolating voluntarily or on purpose, will kill you — as Heinlein said.
                      And your brilliant idea of going abroad just increases the isolation. I know you don’t think so but that makes me wonder how “off” your perceptions are.

        2. Some days it is so bad for me my purpose is “don’t quit” and -maybe- “wash dishes”.

          I know where you are. Don’t give the shadow-lurking lying prick the satisfaction.

        3. When matches first call you,
          And you hear the baying hound,
          Step to your window,
          Look up not down.

          Take a breath of the dawning,
          Draw a second breath too,
          Open eyes to the morning,
          That brings welcome to you.

          Some mornings come shadowed,
          With fog and with strife
          Some morning come blazing
          With great joy of life.

          Chains bind your spirit,
          But they are not you,
          Turn your eyes skyward,
          Let daylight through.

          While life burns to embers,
          In the hole in your chest,
          Yet still it remembers
          Moments then blessed.

          Turn from the darkness,
          Come into the light.
          Run to the dawning,
          To our candles at night.

          Take a true look around you,
          Open your eyes,
          See those here surround you,
          And the despair all is lies.

          Something for you, I hope to the refreshment of your spirit.

  11. Yep, despair’s a sin, and if we feel helpless and that all’s beyond our control it’s far too easy to fall into that pit.

    J. B. Shurk, over in American Thinker, includes a quote from Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy’s Douglas Adam’s book six in the trilogy, that well describes where we are;
    “On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

    “Odd,” said Arthur. “I thought you said it was a democracy.”

    “I did,” said Ford. “It is.”

    “So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”

    “It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”

    “You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

    “Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

    “But,” said Arthur, going in for the big one again, “why?”

    “Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in.”

    Perhaps the best way to avoid disrepair is to first establish a clear understanding of the way things are and why they’re that way, possibly then we can change things.

    Else wise we keep voting, supporting, aggrandizing, lizards and are dismayed at the results.

  12. Only a handful of countries produce enough food to feed their populations, including the US, Canada, Russia, Holland, and formerly the Ukraine…In Africa, none..So if we just settle down to concentrate on this huge strength, the world will need us desperately..As to giving up and voting for the evil in DC, that’s insane…Despair is a sin, one of the worst sins, and we should be happy to fight on, even if the cause seems hopeless at times…Our kids require it..

        1. The country currently called Zimbabwe was food self-sufficient. And then along came Mugabe-the-Cursed, who knew less about farming than Athena T. Cat knows about operating heavy equipment. But he knew how to “reward veterans” with other people’s land, and how to eliminate the productive people in society.

          1. More really ought to take notice that when those seeking absolute power get it, the result is disaster – every time.

            And that forced wealth redistribution (of wealth that is NOT treating People as Things – redistributing slave ownership to the enslaved by freeing… ) the result is also disaster.

            And when combined, a HUGE disaster.

      1. It’s a tough call. Russia is the largest country in the world. Lots of land, so even if the percentage that is arable is small, there is still lots of land. Pair that with a population that is less than half of the United States, they may very well be able to grow enough.

          1. Cool. I haven’t been to Russia, so I don’t have any first hand experience. I have spent a few months in parts of Ukraine and it’s really interesting to see them figure out capitalism. I thought it was a really cool place.

            1. I have a theory that Russia’s garish color sense in the traditional clothing and architecture comes from their weather: dominant colors white and muddy gray for nearly nine months of the year.

              1. Like why Vienna, Prague, and the other old Habsburg cities are all pastel. You need something cheerful to get you through November-April (not counting Christmas).

        1. Russia is what? China stopped existing, then?
          As for the population — bah. maybe a quarter what they claim. No, seriously. Heinlein exploded that before I was born.

          1. Russia is 6.602 million mi²
            China is 3.705 million mi²

            Russia is the largest country in the world. Not the most populous. Not the richest. Not a lot of things, but it is BIG. It even borders North Korea.

            1. It is the biggest country in the world, land area wise, but most of that is… Siberia. Which is some of the worst ‘miles and miles of miles and miles and miles of useless miles’. A huge chunk of it is above the artic circle. They have trouble with their gas field because the containing layer is PERMAFROST and all extraction methods generate heat, and there just isn’t the infrastructure in Siberia to support a lot of things.

              They have, relatively speaking, very little land that’s even as far south as Canada’s southern border. Much of their southern land in Siberia is the high steppes and mountains, rather arid, and better for herding than farming. (and mostly populated by very stubborn tribesmen who remember the purges.)

              Most of their farmland is actually along the Ukrainian border stretching over to Volgograd east to west. But even there they have issues, especially after all the damage the soviets did to their farmland and their understanding of farming practices. South you get into the Caucus mountains and it starts getting arid again.

              Most of their population in Siberia is along the Trans-Siberan Railroad in the south. The population West of the Urals tends to be concentrated in a few scattershot cities, mostly along old trade routes. their growing seasons are short. Their population is smaller than they claim (back in school I noticed how theirs always seemed to be exactly 100 million less than ours. Always. EXACTLY.) Their farming methods are, relatively speaking, primitive compared to ours.

              Their size is a cute trivia fact for us and a massive defensive problem for them without a lot of benefit. (And their answer to defensive problems is ‘conquer more stuff until there’s no one left to defend against.’)

              1. containing layer is PERMAFROST and all extraction methods generate heat, and there just isn’t the infrastructure in Siberia to support a lot of things.

                And bad things happen when the Permafrost vegetation layers are destroyed.

  13. I do not understand the type of mind, which, when presented with an — apparent — no win / no acceptable surrender scenario lies down and dies, or if they take any action it is to try and convince everyone else to lie down and die with them.

    The proper response in that situation is to force the enemy to bleed for every single step. Maybe the apparent scenario isn’t quite so unwinnable, that would be ideal. But at worst you make the enemy limp away from their win and you retain your own honor.

    1. The Kobayashi Maru! Cheat if needed.
      My son was given a lesson in school (almost 20 years ago, so this isn’t new). Faced with a impenetrable wall, unclimbable and unable to dig under, what would you do. The correct answer was to sit and wait for help. My husband was furious that they were teaching the kids learned helplessness. He told my son, the correct answer is to start walking or climbing. You may not make it, but you won’t be dead in place.

      1. furious that they were teaching the kids learned helplessness

        In wilderness situations the “correct” response to “What do you do if you find yourself lost?” is “sit and wait for rescue”. They do not mention it should be “situational”.

        I was taught. That if you are part of a group in the wilderness, that is true. Do not want to get further from the group you are with. However, if part of a group, group finds itself lost, or out alone, there are rules to the ground. 1) Consult map and compass; triangulate. 2) Go down. Follow water down. Etc.

        Locally there was a very sad tragic outcome in ’89. An 8 year-old out on a stock round up, with family, got cold, so the party had him ride back on his pony to the parked rigs. Kid, and pony, never made it. They had S&R, USFS, Foresters from Weyerhauser and International Paper, and S&R scouts and explorers, regularly out looking for the kid and his pony for months. Found the pony in a clearing loose, where it had obviously chewed itself free from being tied up, sometime that summer. Clearing wasn’t that far from where the 8 year old was finally, with saddle, and blanket, found years later. Kid did what he’d been taught. Found himself lost. Stopped and waited to be found.

        Year remembered because it happened just as we were bringing our new infant home as it started. Another reason to remember the area? Same area where scouts went missing out of our troop on an outing. They didn’t stop and hunker down. They did stick together. They found a road, went to the first house seen and admitted they got lost, please call. Turns out person knew where they were suppose to be and instead drove them back, to very relieved adults; who had triggered the scout lost emergency protocol, but not fully mobilized by the time scouts got back. I’m one of the parents who got the call “your scout is lost” … Dad was there. I wasn’t. Teach me to take the weekend off.

  14. There’s a joke about an Englishman, a Frenchman, and an American being captured by a tribe of cannibals. Now the cannibals had heard something about western customs, so they would give each of the men a last request before killing and eating them.

    The Englishman requested to write a letter to the nearest British Consul, and so he was given pen and ink and paper, and he sat down to write a long and indignant letter of protest.

    The Frenchman requested to make love one last time, and so he was given a young and nubile cannibal lady to make love to.

    And the American bent over and requested that he be kicked in the rear. The cannibals looked at each other muttering “crazy American” but a last request was a last request, and so one of the cannibals kicked the American in the rear. The American then pulled out a Tommy gun and shot all the cannibals dead.

    At which point the Englishman and the Frenchman asked, “If you had that Tommy gun all along, why didn’t you just shoot them at the start? Why ask to get your rear kicked first?”

    The American answered, “I couldn’t just shoot them in cold blood; I had to get mad first; I had to feel that they deserved it.”

    I suspect the “vote for the crazy and bring the collapse faster” may not be despair and suicide, but rather a last request to be kicked in the rear, so that the cannibal crazies can then all be shot.

    1. “I suspect the “vote for the crazy and bring the collapse faster” may not be despair and suicide, but rather a last request to be kicked in the rear, so that the cannibal crazies can then all be shot.”


      1. BUT that’s not how it works, and I have proof. Back in 12 when I was screaming “IT’S FRAUD” every commenter on our side was going “Well, the country is socialist now, abandon ship.”

      1. I suspect they may also be trying for, “Let the leftists do their thing. That’s the only way the normal folks will realize we were right, and then they’ll join us.” Problem is, you’re giving your enemies a clear shot at at least cementing their programs into place. Plus, as you said, convincing said normal folks you never really cared, so why bother joining you?

          1. Yes. Denominations that try to pander to current fads because they want to be welcoming and inclusive fall into the same trap. “If you don’t believe your own doctrine enough to defend it, why should we believe it?”

            1. Yep. I’m watching a denominational split from one side (the place where I worship has voted. Alea iacta est.) I hope those on both sides of the divide do not come to realize that both have watered down the doctrine too much to survive. I’m cautiously optimistic.

              1. Two semesters of seminary drove me away from all the churches because of their wokeness. Churches are run by women, so they have to pander to women.

                1. Methodist? My church is holding off on a decision until the last possible second. (For TRex. WPDE!)

                  1. Yes. Everyone – no matter their thoughts on the split – agreed that Church of the Nazarene would not be a good denominational “fit” for moving to, if the congregation moved. Other than that? No one was happy, but everyone also agreed that the process was as clear, open, and honest as was possible.

                    1. Church of the Nazarene has some nice people, but WOW THEIR THEOLOGY SO DIFFERENT FROM EVERYONE ELSE!!!

                      I mean, obviously a lot of megachurches and evangelical-run churches are unaware that they have theology, but eventually it will start to show up. At some point.

                      Of course, one of the US styles of churchgoing is “Just find a place with good sermons that don’t get into theology,” so a lot of Nazarenes are unaware of their own church’s theology being different from their previous Baptist, Presbyterian, or Lutheran churches. (Just as they were often unaware that those churches had different theologies from each other, or from the next church’s denomination that they end up attending.)

                    2. ““Just find a place with good sermons that don’t get into theology,””

                      I mean, you’re right, but good grief, what’s the point of going to a church that doesn’t teach theology?

                2. The solution then is to teach the women to think with heads and not feelings. Doesn’t come as naturally to some women but it’s not a reason to blame all women. I come from a family that smacked me upside the head if I gave a feelings-based answer. Makes me very practical.

                    1. No problem. Wokies actually have a problem with wrongfeel, almost as much as wrongthink. “How dare you want to console X! You can only sympathize with Y!”

        1. Sometimes the normal folks, even those who reflexively vote Democrat, DO realize they were wrong, even if they can’t bring themselves to admit we were right.

          Seven out of nine members of the Seattle City Council are retiring and not up for re-election this November, and 80% of Seattleites polled say the city is going the wrong direction on crime and homelessness. That’s huge.

          Lori Lightfoot got defenestrated by Chicago voters, even the dead ones, in favor of the guy supported by the police. That’s huge, too.

          1. There’s at least one other candidate in the runoff. Chickens, hatched, etc. But, yes, the Deep One is headed back to Innsmouth.

            1. That one other candidate is a creature of the ‘teachers unions’ so I expect he’ll be installed by the usual epic fraud and not much will change. There hasn’t been an honest election in Chicago in about 150 years. Al Capone just took over the existing political machine, and was less corrupt than most of them.

              1. This! And his platform makes Groot’s seem conservative by comparison. If he is elected, and the Reader agrees that it is the likely outcome, the Chicago Board of Trade will be the Miami Board of Trade inside a year. The idiot wants to, among other things, put a tax on all financial transactions that occur in Chicago.

  15. What kills me about China is that Xi Jinping and his cabal of true believers basically came out of nowhere. Prior to about 2010, nobody actually believed in communism, certainly nobody that I met, to include Party members. People joined the party to make their lives easier (-ish; there was always trepidation about it), but official CCP organizations were bringing over people from the Ayn Rand Institute and the Ludwig von Mises Institute to teach people about free markets. Random people on the street would ask me if I knew about Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad) and when I did, if I wanted to join a group that played his proprietary board game.

    The accepted wisdom now is that the accepted wisdom of the ’90s and ’00s, that China’s liberalizing markets would lead to liberalizing politics, was not just wrong, but impossible. This is just as wrong as thinking the former idea was inevitable. It was actually working, until Xi’s cabal decided power was vastly more important than anything else. And the people who wanted to get rich, without conquering anybody, and loved America? They’re still there, and I doubt all of them changed out their ideas for the (admittedly, deeply embedded in the culture) notion that the Middle Kingdom must be the center of the world.

    In fact, come to think of it, the average young Chinese attitude toward the CCP in the ’00s was similar to the young German attitude to their country’s past in the ’90s: annoyance at being burdened by the stupidity of their elders, and a wish to move on to something more positive.

    As for a national breakup here, I’m starting to take Michael Malice’s view, with attenuation. He views national divorce as inevitable (and is an anarchist himself; not of the bomb-throwing variety), and a Very Good Thing. I’m not sure it’s inevitable, but I do know that if it happens, it won’t stop at a Red State/Blue State division. The Red states will prosper, while the Blue states will founder (just look at California). And if you think a tyrant like Gavin Newsom is capable of letting his ideas “fail” while “bad ideas” he despises “win”, without violent response… I’m afraid you might need to read more history. Biden keeps bragging about how you can’t fight him because he has F-15s, and Eric FangBanger Swallowswell threatened to use nukes on Republicans who didn’t obey. If you think they don’t mean it (however incompetent they actually are), you might want to rethink.

    There’s a butcher’s bill coming. Exactly when, or precisely what form it will take, none can tell. But I don’t see how we avoid it. The ignorant and incompetent are far too committed to killing their enemies if they don’t get their way.

    1. Well said. Part of the reason I support the TEXIT movement is because Texas is larger than any purely European country (Russia extends into Asia). Those countries get by just fine with being smaller. I want to see the government become much more local, just as the Bill of Rights spelled out in the 10th Amendment.

      1. My difficulty with TEXIT is the same problem I have with the national government – the center of power is distant and ignorant about what my region needs or wants. Austin and Houston see this part of the state as a source of stuff that can be looted, then ignored. How to change that . . . I’m not certain.

        1. Okay, good point. My only response is that the folks in charge will be a whole lot closer.

        2. Brit: Why can’t you Americans all just get behind D.C.?

          Yank: When was the last time you thought London knew what was best for you?


    2. I think I’ve commented before, but a national divorce won’t actually do anything. The things driving centralization are mostly the fusion of transnational corporations with DC.

      Separating from DC will do about zero about Discover building gun registeries. That is only deal with by state governments criminalizing it and suing credit card companies over trying to do it.

      That also gets you discovery where they can dig out the various agencies that are colluding with the megacorps to get around their own rules.

      Federalism is the route forward, otherwise all you do is cede the authority to investigate and prosecute.

    3. The separate blue state would immediately attack. Elaevit inevitably dies. No slave nation can survive alongside freedom. They must extinguish hope or the slaves escape and or rebel.

      All out war, with WMDs, in 10 years or less.

      No thanks. It’s much harder for them to use WMDs when we are all mixed together. We fight for and hold it all. No surrender to tyrrany of any part of USA.

      And they would use them.

      1. I don’t think the Marxists and crazies realize how close they are to opening a Pandora’s box of enmity at the behest of the Puppeteers.

        I don’t see a divorce. People who say that are living in fantasy land as much as the insane Left is…

        But I’m going to be positive and not talk about Rwanda or the insane amounts of ammo people are buying. I will plant some more flowers for the bees and sign up for another class.

        1. the insane amounts of ammo people are buying

          Well we’re not buying 2535 for the 1898 Winchester rifle I inherited from dad, who inherited from (my) great-uncle.

      2. The advocates of national divorce and/or succession strike me as akin to a woman regularly beaten bloody, who is certain that a divorce will be a peaceful and friendly remedy to the situation that she is in.

    4. They didn’t come from nowhere. They came from the 1970’s Red Guard. They just got old enough to do something about it, and get revenge on the Red Guard being put down.

      Boomer stuff, basically.

      1. Xi’s father was punished during the Cultural Revolution and Xi got sent to the farms, I’ve read. Did he go, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em?” I wonder.
        I also read an article last year that said he had a mentor, of the, “The young people today are corrupt! Weak! They have abandoned the True Way! We must restore discipline!” Very archetypal, but the old man (Yes, older than Xi) is fixated on Communist doctrine, not Confucianism.

        1. I think it’s more like Xi suffered from the out-of-control Red Guards in his youth, and when he got into power he vowed he would never allow anything out of control again.

          I’ve heard multiple places that he was intended to be a relatively inoffensive compromise candidate between the Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao factions, but that he turned on both of them and ruthlessly eradicated any and every possible factional challenge. He Will Have Control.

        2. So, my feeling is in disagreement with both Dorothy and balzacq.

          Chinese web novel main characters, in among the relatively decent people, have some real psychopaths.

          My takeaway? Mao was a massively abusive psychopath, the current communist officialdom is abusive, and various local family groups figure out that finding some folks to abuse is an effective strategy to relatively succeed under the bureaucratic schemes. The PRC school system is massively competitive, and tries to gatekeep success, so if you can make others fail, your own scions might do relatively better.

          So, there are a fair number of very angry readers, who feel mistreated, and want to experience revenge, but understand that sharing such fantasies about certain targets is an extremely bad idea.

          Thus, we have the genre of xianxia, which basically exists to be chock of revenge power fantasies.

          Some fairly decent MCs in among the xianxia protags.

          Also some extreme psychopaths. These are I think heavily written by and for the folks who react to serious mistreatment by taking the mistreatment as something that they want to do to others.

          Examples outside of Chinese web novels include Redo of Healer and The Hero Laughs While Walking the Path of Vengeance a Second Time.

          Communism/Marxism seems to assist personalities in developing this way.

          So, Jinpeng Xi’s parents were murdered, and his sister was raped, etc. He seems to be pretty clearly the type who imprinted on that as what he wanted to do to others.

          1. Agreed on MCs. I’ve similarly noticed the disturbing prevalence of main characters who basically appear to be looking for a reason to kill people (and set those series aside for just that reason). So long as you don’t stand in the MC’s way, the MC won’t attack you. But the moment you lift a finger against the MC, you’re dead. A lot of main characters aren’t like that. But a lot of them clearly are.

            Of course even when the MC isn’t looking for excuses to kill people, an enemy who survives the first battle with the MC will almost always turn up later on looking for revenge purely for the sake of revenge. Given that, the more troubling MC attitude is the more pragmatic one, since in those works of fiction the MC is almost always going to end up killing that particular enemy anyway. The only question is how much petty mischief the enemy will be able to get up to against the MC before dying.

            But it doesn’t make the MC likeable.

    5. There’s one not-so-little problem with the notion of a “national divorce”: There are no “blue” or “red” states. The primary division is between urban and rural.

      In, f’rex, California, there’s of course Sacramento, LA, San Diego, San Francisco, and a handful of other cities, but the only reason the state is “blue” is because of the population concentrations of those cities. Outside of them, a lot of the state is varying shades of “red”, but they don’t have raw numbers like those concentrations of insanity mentioned above.

      See also Texas with Austin in the other direction. Austin itself is a glowing blue, but the most of the rest of the state is “red”, and can reign in the excesses of the leftards.

      1. Yes, that’s why it will have to be along county lines or something very similar to that.

        1. However it’s proposed, it’s wishful thinking. Those who want people to be controlled, to borrow from RAH, won’t let go willingly, and even unwillingly they will do everything they can to try to subvert the areas where no such desire for control exists.

          (Also, please note that it’s not Republican/Democrat. There are plenty on both sides who want control. Those on the left are just louder and more numerous than those on the right.)

        2. Even that wouldn’t really work. The only place where you would have contiguous “blue” areas is along the coast. Everywhere else, you’d have a blue urban area completely cut-off from any other blue areas.

          1. Heck even our county is Blue in the middle (Eugene). Maybe Blue in extreme west (Florence, huge Maybe). There is a reason why Springfield and east have a different BSA district (Cascade) than Eugene and west (Greenwood). For that matter, for a few years Greenwood was split into 4J (Evergreen) and Bethel and rural western lane county (Applegate) districts. Recombined back again. Never did discover why they were recombined (not because LDS abandoned BSA, happened years before then).

  16. “Which is why many of you are running around going “We should just vote for the left candidate, because he’s going to win anyway, and that will accelerate the fall and get this over with.” Or in other words, suicide. National suicide.”

    :takes deep breath: WHAT THE HECK IS THIS?!?! You slouch-backed curs, get up! I said get UP! Whatever happened to “Give me liberty, or give me death?” Haven’t you figured out yet that when that little “get it over sooner” voice picks on you it means you’re winning and they’re losing – AND THEY KNOW IT?!? I’m ashamed of you. Every last one of you. Up. Get UP. You don’t get to decide when you go, and neither do they! If you have to go down, at least go with your head held high. Look at the sky, not the ground – which is all you’ll see if you pull this stunt! Shame! Shame, shame, shame! If you want to roll over and play dead, then get out of everyone else’s way. We’ve got work to do and your self-pity isn’t helping. So either get out of line or get UP.

    Those are your only two options. Now MOVE!

    1. If I must go, G-d grant me that I got out like Fabrizio Quattrocchi and spoil the bastages victory and rally the opposition on my way out.
      None of us knows how he or she will act in that circumstance, but I pray I’m given the grace of that final courage.

      1. Even better, the way Jack Vincennes in the film (not the book) L.A. Confidential goes out.

        He gets shot by the bad guy (whom he did not know was the bad guy) right through the heart. The bad guy asks if he has a valediction, and Vincennes laughs and smiles, quietly because he’s been shot through the pump, and whispers “Rollo… Tomisay…” and dies.

        And he dies knowing that he’s just screwed over the bad guy, because Rollo Tomisay doesn’t exist, it’s a made-up name that another character in the story uses as a stand-in for the never-caught killer of his father. So when the bad guy starts asking around about the name, this character will know immediately why, and how the bad guy ever even heard it.

    2. Aren’t you the generous one.

      I’m well past the point of considering them enemy agents in every way that matters.

      I just wish they would ask themselves what happens to people in minecraft who commit treason.

      1. And I always wonder how well they think carrying out the sentence in Minecraft will carry over to the real world.

    3. No one I know will follow stupid emo logic and vote for the Left. ‘spit’

      In some venues words like “wood chipper” or “helicopter” or “gallows” might proposed by hotheads that feel the most aggrieved and threatened, but never “vote”.

  17. I can’t fix it. I damn sure don’t want to destroy it. So, I’m going to have to do what I was planning on for the Nuclear Apocalypse, and try to salvage the good parts and rebuild after it comes down. HELPING it come down will destroy even more of it, and leave us with less good parts to recover. THAT’S why we shouldn’t help it along.

        1. I could see you as Mdm. DeFarge with your knitting needles crowing “guillotine, guillotine!”

            1. How else can I see you? If you claim to be normal, the laughter will be heard on Mars.

              1. Her nightmare is a very literal nightmare, and it has her kind of freaked out, because if it comes true a lot of good people are going to die very horribly.

          1. Given that she’s spent a good bit of effort talking folk OUT of the blood thirsty response, I think you may want to go back and read a bit more of the blog.

              1. Knit red coats for leprechauns. After all, that’s what they wore until they got Americanized with green outfits. I wonder if they all live in Vermont nowadays?

        2. I’ll be honest, after watching 2 years of centrally mandated child abuse, I want crosses ringing Parliament Hill.

          1. And knowing that Canadians are quietly angry at the regime up north has given me great hope for a future of peaceful coexistence with the Canadian people.

            I do still find you guys pretty scary.

        1. Hey, it works for the Clintons.

          “Near as we can figure it, he was sitting here, naked, alone, in his office at 2AM cleaning his knife when it went off accidentally thirty-two times in his back.”

          “Poor bastard. Could’ve happened to anybody.”

          1. The one that bugs me the most was the guy who got his throat crushed while doing bench presses by himself. There are so many things wrong with that. Use a spotter. Use the safety bars. Don’t put retaining clips on the bar. How did it wind up on his throat? Bench press has the bar coming down to about your nipples.

            1. That one at least falls into the realm of the physically possible, it just needs a couple truckloads of stupidity to go with it. There are others that were literally impossible, as to the “official” explanations.

            1. Mr. Furious : [talking about Carmine the Bowler] Seems there was a little controversy there regarding your father’s death.

              The Bowler : Yes, the police said he fell down an elevator shaft. Onto some bullets.

              The Blue Raja : You know, I’ve always suspected a bit of foul play there.

              The Bowler : As have I.

              — Mystery Men

  18. You pay for Liberty and Freedom one way or the other. What the elites have forgotten is that when the ballot becomes corrupted, all the people have left is the bullet. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Until it does, keep your powder dry and rage, rage, against the dying of the light.

  19. “If I go to the doctor for this pain in my side, he’ll just kill me, so I might as well swallow rat poison and get it over with.”

    I believe that’s how the “free health care” up in Canada works.

    1. Well, they give you the rat poison for free…

      Your tax dollars at work! If only they’d feed the rat poison to the government instead…

    2. Fentanyl sounds like much nicer way to go. In smaller doses, it’s a hell of a drug, an anesthesiologist used it in his mix 4 years ago. Brought my blood pressure down as well.

  20. I get what you are saying.

    At the same time though, I look at someone like Mitch McConnell or my own Sen. Burr and seriously wonder what the point is?

    I’ve always emphasized to my offspring the importance of voting – but it’s getting harder to rationalize when the Stupid Party works that much harder to throw us collectively under the bus at every opportunity.

    They are so busy filling each others bank accounts with public money that they are willfully blind to the danger barreling down on us, figuring there is infinite elasticity in the system and it can take ever hour much graft, corruption and abuse they can throw at it and the biscuit wheels on the gray train will just keep on rolling.

    Reminds me of European leadership facing something like the Mongol or Muslim invaders and fixating more on undermining their supposed allies for short term personal gain than creating a united front against an existential threat.

    So what to do?

    Societies have gone through collapses before, and I’m pretty we are going to see it again in my lifetime.

    What crawls and claws its way back out of that ruin of civilization is going to be the descendants of those who persevere.

    As someone smarter than me once put it – the future belongs to those who show up.

    So….I want my blood to be among them.

    So I focus on my immediate family and work outward from there, building relationships I can trust (which sadly sometimes does not include some extended family members) and making what preparations I can to get me and mine through the coming troubles.

    Not much more I can do than that.

    1. Primary the hell out of the bad apples. Bleed them dry. Make them bleed for every inch of territory.
      And on the day? Clothes pin your nose and vote against the commies.
      At least it shows willing and makes them fight to fraud.
      The idea here is to bleed the bastards. Monetarily if nothing else.
      Honestly, I hope I’m wrong, but what BGE says… I’m afraid we’re about three inches from tipping into the Khaki. It’s making things very difficult in terms of concentrating to write.

      1. I agree we should primary the RINOs.

        The problem is that’s likely not enough at this point as the system is just too corrupted and politicians are so greedy while feeding at the public trough that they can’t lift their snouts up far enough to see just how bad things are….or are going to get.

        So they keep manipulating, pushing, lying….. getting their 10% off the top.

        The mindset I find myself slipping into is just a realization that this is the end game.

        There’s no avoiding what’s coming.

        It’s just a question of when it hits.

        I don’t necessarily feel fearful – just resigned to what I think is the inevitable.

        It’s going to be unpleasant and stressful – but worrying over it isn’t going to change things.

        Anticipating troubles and taking reasonable measures to address such troubles is a constructive mindset.

        Worrying over it isn’t.

        I’m just convinced things are going to get more worse than a lot of folks can imagine and, since it can’t be avoided, it’s best to accept that possibility/probability and plan accordingly.

        Doesn’t mean stop doing everything possible to avoid the mess in the first place – after all, as long as you are breathing there is always a chance no matter how minuscule.

        Kind of like driving a car and finding yourself in the middle of an accident.

        Even though you might know in the back of your mind that there is no way to avoid the crash that’s going to happen a split second later – you are still inclined to try even up to the last second to do so.

        Or perhaps like knowing you are going to have to fight someone, and it’s going to hurt, but you are resigned to the fact you are going to have to deal with it anyway so best to accept that fact and get on with it. Doesn’t mean you throw the first punch – just that you are resigned to the fact you are going to have to throw a punch whether you want to or not.

        On a national – and international – level, that’s kind of where I see us at.

        Best to brace yourself, accept the coming unpleasantness as simply a fact of life, accept that you are probably going to do things you’d rather not have to do, and think ahead as to how you’re going to deal.

        It’s less about being fearful and more about getting your mindset right.

    2. They can (will) cheat, but MAKE THE BASTAGES WORK TO DO IT!

      It’s no longer about getting the better candidate it, but revealing to everyone just how messed up things are.

      1. Very true. I still maintain there was a lot of voter fraud in the 2016 election, but the polls were so far off that there wasn’t enough for the Dems to win. They didn’t make that mistake in 2020.

        1. And yet they still had to pile on more blatant fraud at the last minute.
          Candidate Joe Biden, August 2020: “We have assembled the most extensive, comprehensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.”

          Minutes later: “What do you mean, I wasn’t supposed to say that?”

          1. What happened in 2016 was mostly the absolute arrogance of the Hildebeeste. She knew it was in the bag, and that attitude was contagious.

  21. The power-lusters have always and ratcheted toward totalitarian control. I’ve always wondered how we could change the direction of that ratchet, and make every step one toward individual liberty.

    But there are probably too many people who have a deep psychological need to control others for that ever to work. Call it the Karen Gene.

    1. Maybe. But I think we’re almost at implosion. And hey, the tech allows us more individual freedom, actually.
      So, build over, build under, build around, and don’t get depressed.

      1. I mean, arguably, we’ve had such regressions from totalitarian bullshit at least three times in the past — the end of the Civil War, the end of the Wilson Administration, and 1946 when FDR’s regime of control over the economy was skuppered by a ballsy Republican Congress.

        But we are now at the point where all of those in power are shrieking that we cannot be allowed to know the truth, because telling the truth is exactly what the Nazis did. Maybe that means an implosion, or maybe that means a widespread psychotic break in the deep state. I’m not depressed, but neither am I precisely happy with the state of the culture.

        1. > “But we are now at the point where all of those in power are shrieking that we cannot be allowed to know the truth”

          If everyone in power believed that, Tucker Carlson would never have been given the J6 footage.

          And progress is being made on some other fronts. Gun control is dying, for example, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the NFA gets struck down this decade.

            1. He’s somewhat protected, as are we all with our necks out by a mile, because people ARE watching.
              It’s much safer than being a conservative in the closet.
              For those whose professional situation allows it, I recommend noisily coming out of the political closet.
              it’s something I didn’t anticipate. Yes, you got some cancelling, and there’s harassment, but overall it’s SAFER.

              1. Reminds me of Herbert’s, “The Dosadi Experiment,” where being sent out to the pointy end by one’s lover was actually, weirdly, a way to protect him. (By making it clear he couldn’t be used as a hostage/blackmail point).

    2. Says the woman with zerohedge on a tab. Something her kids define as “running a nice bath, with the toaster ready to drop in with herself, once it’s ready.”

          1. I am reminded of a throw-away detail in Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. The Coldbringer EMP missile is inbound for the US, and the news is, typically, getting “the scoop” on what will happen in the most glib, with-it kind of way. You get just a few snatches of conversation, but “renowned science fiction author” is announced in one panel, and in another panel you get the end of his take “…in short, we’ll be eating our babies for breakfast.”

  22. “There are some arenas so corrupt that the only clean acts possible are nihilistic.”

    Every once in a while, you understand the temptation.

    (Today was one of those days. Dealing with the mentally ill is draining. Being told off because I wouldn’t play along with the mentally ill was frustrating. Being told that I could be arrested because I wouldn’t play along with the mentally ill makes the nihilistic act of slitting throats in large groups so very tempting…)

    Just watching the news, watching just how crazy people are…you understand the temptation.

    But at the end of the day, it’s all about hope and I will hope that tomorrow is better than today.

  23. I’m certainly not going to vote for the left but I also don’t think we gonna vote our way out of this. It’s probably completely foolish on my part but I’m hoping for miracles.

  24. So, um… Off-topic, but I just found something that manages to be both funny and a bit horrifying at the same time:

    No good will come of this, I think…

      1. We have made an uneasy truce with the possums here: They keep the Skunks from living under the house… we’ll tolerate them living under the house.

        1. Eat Ticks, Slugs, Snails, Snakes (including Rattlers), Cannot get Rabies. Generally* will leave cats alone, dogs too if dogs are willing to leave them alone. Also run off rats. So, yes if they are running of the Skunks, this is good.

          (*) Know for a fact, contrary to what others have argued, “generally” is not always. We had a $1500 veterinarian bill, in ’82, for a cat bitten by a possum. Don’t know who cornered who. Heard the hissing and yowling. Found cat days later on our rocker sick. Massive infection in the bite shaped like a possum across her hips. () Bottle raised 2 year old cat.

          1. They also kill chickens. One reason for my son’s opinion was finding a bloody-mouthed possum in a friend’s henhouse.
            The other big reason was dealing with the Possum That Would Not Die.

          2. As much as I have an “eeeeccchhh” reaction to possums, I’d rather have them around the yard than the f***ing raccoons.

  25. Hey, Sarah, I know we’re all out here in the fog, but we love you. And perhaps more even than that, we’re all grateful to you–and for you.

    I just posted this over on CRQ, but it seems appropriate here, too.

    “Genius has its limits, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.” — I suspect that this is because stupidity is a force driving toward chaos, and chaos is the ultimate primal amoral state.

  26. Think of all the disasters we saw coming that haven’t. Full-out-superpower-exchange-thermonuclear war. Malthusian catastrophe. Running out of petroleum. Triggering an ice age by burning fossil fuels. Triggering a runaway greenhouse by burning fossil fuels. The Ai apocalypse (though admittedly, the jury is still out on that one).

    It’s obvious to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear that present political/economic conditions are going to change. Across the West, the post WW1/WW2 bargain of “we will hand over more and more power to the educated elites and bureaucracies you couldn’t even name, and they will deliver prosperity and security” is breaking down.

    It’s easy to say that the change will be catastrophic. But even if one can’t see how it can be avoided, realize that doomsaying is like economics — successfully predicting 17 of the last 2 recessions. So sure, keep alert, be ready to run or hide or fight as needed, keep your clothes and weapons where you can find the in the dark. But most catastrophes don’t happen — or don’t happen in a way we would have predicted.

    Fight the fight of the day and don’t worry over-much about tomorrow.

    1. It occurs to me that Odds don’t have a normalcy bias, we have a catastrophcy bias.

      I think this also applies to the weird-in-other-ways, not just Odds. This came up in an IRL discussion with a bunch of nudist polyamorists [sic] (GF’s friends, whachagonnado). When one person says “yeah I had an alcoholic father”, they get a response “yeah me too” from the one other person in the conversation who also did, and the other six people whose fathers were just fine just nod sympathetically. So the first person starts assuming that everyone had an alcoholic father. Or were raped, or whose mother beat them, or are depressed, or chronically ill, or [insert trauma here].

      So your garden-variety woke urban liberal who moved from a small town assumes that everyone in their small town was a racist, because their parents actually were, and they never encountered anyone who told their parents off — because “okay, whatever [eyeroll]” is more likely in small-town America than “STFU, racist” because of not wanting to start fights with your neighbors.

      1. While I think you’re probably right, because it fits some observations — HOW THE HECK DID THEY NOT HEAR MOM/AUNTY/ETC DOING THE AFTER-CHAT GOSSIP WHERE THEY ALL TALK ABOUT HOW NO, SO AND SO’S DAD WASN’T ALCOHOLIC?!?!

        I swear, it seemed like 95% of the very dramatic “oh, my (tragedy), you know” folks at various family gatherings resulted directly in the sympathetic nods, followed by– as soon as they were out of the area– most of the polite smile and sympathetic nod folks checking “wait, was that absolute BS?” or informing other members of the “be sympathetic” group that yes, that was absolute BS.

        ((on a completely unrelated note, for some reason I didn’t tend to TELL any traumas– and, eventually, even my annoyances– to my extended family, on either side; funny, that. 😀 ))

      2. The media don’t help, either. I heard a talking head yesterday intone that “one in three women in the United States have been sexually assaulted or raped.” Wait, what? Now, in my first college, the odds were probably closer to 20% because it was an ALL WOMEN’S COLLEGE and some of us went there to get away from guys for a while. But that’s an outlier. It’s gone from 20% (still high) to 33% in 30 years? Really?

        But what woman is going to be the one in a group to say, “I wasn’t abused or assaulted. No one I know has been abused or assaulted. What gives?” Because it becomes blaming the victim or something. (And like Fox, I generally don’t discuss stuff, because, well, private is private, na ja?)

        1. Much of which depends upon what your gefinitions are. Does sexually Some of that may be attributed to a change in the definitions of terms over time. Does ‘sexually assaulted’ now include, “He looked at me funny and now I feel offended?” It may also reflect an inreasing willingness of people to report unwanted sexual contact as the social acceptance of ‘boys will be boys’ behavior becomes less tolerated. Gotta delve into the details . . .

          1. I looked– the talking head was playing shell games, it’s one in three globally.

            Which is far, far more believable.

        2. Definitions have been shifting. Because women are always victims and have no agency, doncha know. Patting someone on the ass is now considered sexual assault if the guy isn’t hot enough.

            1. Me being me, I’d say, “Thanks Bob,” and keep working. Unless the guy is being lascivious and gets too close, in which case the “elbow distance” rule would be applied. Firmly. But I’m Odd.

              Different generations, different responses.

  27. Which is why many of you are running around going “We should just vote for the left candidate, because he’s going to win anyway, and that will accelerate the fall and get this over with.”

    No, I think we should vote, early and often, for the Democrat in order to ensure he or see is the first US President to get the votes of 125% of the population, or more (if we can get them to 1 Billion votes, even better).

    Instead of trying to suppress the fraud or stop it, make it so damned obvious that everyone knows the elections are a joke to inspire a lot of Irish Democracy.

    1. The fraud is already obvious enough for anybody that wants to see it.

      The ones that don’t want to see it, won’t. No matter how much more ridiculous it gets. They didn’t see when Pennsylvania counted 2.4 million mail-in ballots, even though they only sent out 1.6 million. The numbers were right there on the official state election web site!
      There’s statistically improbable, and then there’s ‘violates the fundamental principles of the universe’ improbable.

    2. Herb! This is stupid. Because of the machines they have adaptafraud.
      They’re not going to spin votes they don’t need.
      The way to get your result is to vote against them, as they then have to create an implausible number of votes to overcome the will of the people.

      1. So, just keep doing, and losing, like we have.

        Right now they’re requiring us to believe Biden got the mostest votes ever.

        It’s this “keep voting Republican harder” mentality that drives more and more of us to not bother voting.

        Remember, if you give people two options, one that requires effort and one that doesn’t, with the same outcome, most people will take the one that takes no effort.

        1. No. It’s not requiring us to believe any such thing. It’s showing the normies what is going on. And no, they ARE seeing it. Because living under the Kakistocracy is SO MUCH EFFORT.
          How do I know? I raise you Let’s Go Brandon going viral.

  28. “Despair is a sin”?

    Well, at least I’m Christian enough to know that God will forgive me for it.

    1. No. Not if you don’t try to avoid the occasion of sin and REPENT it, which you don’t really seem to care about.
      Think on it and learn some real theology.

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