But The Lizard Will Surely Die -A Blast From The Past From April 2021

*It seems like there’s a need to repeat this every April. Not sure why. Perhaps, to mangle Jorge Luis Borges, the idea must return every spring as return the numbers in a periodical cypher. I just felt a need to remind myself of this. And perhaps you have a need too. – SAH*

But The Lizard Will Surely Die -A Blast From The Past From April 2021

Yeah, okay, so we’re back to Rango.

You see, when I was sitting here (minding my own (or at least my characters’) business), what caught my attention FIRST was the owls saying “But the lizard will certainly die” as the poor domesticated chameleon is running through the desert facing a million perils.

There is something…. awfully familiar about those owls.

Oh, yeah, okay, Greek Chorus — though I’ll note those didn’t always predict misfortune, sometimes they predicted great honor, which is I guess next door to it, as far as ancient Greeks were concerned — look, I grew up with the classical forms, to the point that when I first wrote a novel I couldn’t remember any of the novels I’d read, not structure wise, but I remembered the tri-part structure, how scenes were defined, how acts were defined. Oh, and that I needed catharsis. To be fair, I still think you should have catharsis in a book. I’m forever amused by people who tell me their books shouldn’t have feelings. Or the ones who complain of “internal monologue” in first person. Yeah? You think you don’t have internal monologue going on 24/7? What do you think that voice behind the eyes is. Being ADD (AF) all I try to do is prevent my characters thought stream from interrupting itself. Sometimes not particularly successfully. (True story: Copy editor: you can’t end a thought with a dash. The character wasn’t interrupted. There’s no one else there. Me: The heck. You’ve never interrupted yourself?… I guess it should have been an indication I wasn’t QUITE normal.)

Anyway, beyond the Greek choir, it was familiar because — honestly — I’m getting sick and tired of the “Abandon all hope” stream. No, seriously. If I wanted that, I’d be hanging out at Zero Hedge or other sites known to be Russian dizinformazia.

(Gee, I wonder why Russia — or China — would want us to give up, buckle under and just give in to the current invaders’ demands and/or kill ourselves in despair. Either or– I mean the insanity of the left was being capable of believing that Russia would back someone who wanted to “Make America Great Again.” HOW fricking stupid do you have to be about how nations work, and history to believe that shit?)

Even people who know better write long articles about how China is going to win and be the big hegemon forever, world without end. And now that the left stole — remember, they HAD to cheat — their way into power, we’re going to turn into China, and woe, woe, woe.

No matter how often I tell them — and I’m not alone, and frankly like looking at the Diamond Princess numbers when the “pandemic” started, this is only sense — that yes, that’s what China thinks. It might be what the left thinks too (the dumber ones, at least. The smarter/not crazy/not stoned our of their minds ones are just trying to get rich and run out the clock and not get a la lanterned). But their thinking it doesn’t MAKE it so. Yes, that’s what their moves trend to. BUT have you seen their idea of reality and how far it is from, you know, real reality? What makes you think that what they think is the perfect move is in fact a perfect move? They’re not playing 3 dimensional chess. They’re playing 3 dimensional tiddly winks on an invisible chess board that exists only in their minds, while using live frogs as tiddly wink pieces.

Sure, China is going to be the world hegemon forever…. In defiance of their very long history of in point of fact not having a clue other cultures EXIST or that other people are different from them. An history that, back when they were the most advanced people in the world meant they often turned tail and isolated themselves, rather than deal with those icky, icky foreign devils who were so utterly irrational.

But let’s go with that. Tell me, oh, wise ones, how does China feed her people, once they take down the US? Because without us buying their (mostly crap, TBH) products, out of our abundance of wealth, and feeding them with our cheap agricultural produce out of our abundance of production, China can’t in point of fact support itself. It collapses very fast and goes into one of their warring states periods.

Can that happen? Yeah, sure it can because Chinese blind spots mean they don’t understand they can’t stop the wheel of the world’s production and innovation and go on their merry way. They’re the Middle Kingdom. They need no barbarian power, and life would be much better without the barbarian power.

So yes, China will try to grind our bones to make their bread.

But my guess is LONG before they get to the point we’re there, they collapse. However, that’s neither here nor there. The truth is if they try to do that, they collapse.

And what are we doing then, under their heel? Sitting with our thumbs up our butts? Because why? We suffered a paralytic stroke? For one, once the left stops getting loads of Chinese monopoly money, THEY collapse. And probably run away, though you know what, I wouldn’t put it past them trying to rule from a bunker. They almost are right now.

This is the same with “It’s 1984, and the left will rule us forever.” What? Like all the other great totalitarian regimes in history, which within years couldn’t feed themselves? Sure, they’ll rule us forever, because we’re going to live on air and unicorn farts.

Also I’ll remind you that we’re bigger in landmass than Germany, bigger in population than Russia, and that even there the resistance in the form of a black market and various f*ck-f*ck games not only existed but arguably were the only thing that functioned.

I mentioned that I’d watched Le Roi Danse, in French for the love of heaven — though not precisely true. I watched various parts of it — and part of what struck me was that the insane man — he invented bureaucracy, you know? — was trying to build the model of the industrial totalitarian state. Except things weren’t to where he could yet. And now they’re well past it.

The 1930s were the ideal world for 1984. Since then? Not so much.

Yes, sure, But spying devices, they know everything about us, and reeeeeeee.

I know, I know, running around with your head on fire is great fun isn’t it? And believing things are hopeless absolves you from trying to do anything.

But if those spying devices/ubiquitous data gathering were so d*mn effective, they wouldn’t have NEEDED to fraud at the last minute, in plain view.

One thing the left can never process is that other people lie to them. It’s part of their conceit of themselves that they are the smartest people in any room, so they know they can lie to us, but us? Effectively lie to them? That’s not possible.

The other thing that none of the people running around with their heads on fire get is that no tech, none can process the masses of information these ass clowns are gathering.

Information gathering ALWAYS exceeds the ability to process it. Sure, they can process more now, but they can gather exponentially more. I recommend you watch The Lives of Others to understand this discrepancy.

This is why, ultimately, totalitarian states are ineffective and starve. Because their terror is ultimately always arbitrary which personally scares the crap out of me, but it doesn’t mean it scares the crap out of me HISTORICALLY. Sure, their random bullshit could kill me and mine. Meh. We all die sometime. But America will come back and go on. ALMOST for sure.

Look, we’re in a pickle and no mistake, and the bullshit we’re letting these idiots get away with is going to make my great grandkids (if I ever have any eh) work ten times as hard to have a decent life, and innovate.

But you know what? We don’t have an America to bail us out and enable us in our stupidity. By our sheer size, and the fact we’ve been the engine of the world for so long, if we fall nothing replaces us. Which is good, because it means we can’t go on playing at socialism while someone else grows the wheat and sends it over to feed us.

In the end, America will have to unf*ck itself, because there’s no America to come bail us out.

Or, you know, we go down into the stonnnnnnne ageeeeee forever. REEEEEE.

Except that’s never happened. Ever. Correction: It’s absolutely possible, if you’re a small tribe, and your place gets covered with a volcano. But with a world-wide civilization?


The Lizard will surely die, yeah.

Just like it was surely going to die when the “hammer” of the Soviet Union fell. Except because the Soviet Union was a totalitarian state, its might was mostly smoke and mirrors, and could only persist so long as people like Jimmah Carter enabled them because they were so scared of this “vaunted might.” And the fact the Soviet Union would “inevitably” eventually win.

I grew up with this shit. No one who lived through it can imagine how all the serious people stroked their chins and told us about the great efficiency of the soviet union, and how they were going to win the cold war, or send the whole world into the stone age.

And then Reagan stood up to it. And told them “We win, you lose” and the whole thing crumbled, like the rotten illusion it was.

So, having been there? This whole “China will ruuuuuuuule us foreeeeeever” is awfully familiar.

Look, the lizard in the Diamond Princess is sunning itself on deck and laughing, while you run around screaming of doom. Just as they were back a year ago. AND YEAH I TOLD YOU SO.

But yeah, we’re in trouble and no mistake, with a Junta having taken over and hating us with a burning passion.

And? It’s not even the stupidest thing we’ve ever done. Tell me another country who ever banned alcohol. ALCOHOL for the love of Bob. And another government who went around poisoning alcohol.

FDR was a greater menace than these assholes. His every instinct was totalitarian and thanks to mass media, he was not even suspected of the shit he puled and thanks to the perilous knowledge/control of history he fooled a good 85% of the people. And those he didn’t fool thought they were alone.

Yes, yes, yes, I know. The Lizard will SURELY die. But not today. Probably tomorrow, by slipping in the shower. Maybe.
But you know what? Yeah, every human civilization is mortal.

But we’re not ready to be eaten by a hawk, or even a blinkered dragon yet. And we won’t be.

Unless, of course, the lizard convinces itself to lie down and die.

In which case, China still won’t win and certainly not forever. The left won’t win and certainly not forever.

But we can CHOOSE to lose.

The question is: WHY WOULD YOU?

F*ck that noise.

To quote President Reagan: In the end we win, they lose.

Be not afraid.

82 thoughts on “But The Lizard Will Surely Die -A Blast From The Past From April 2021

  1. “But the lizard will surely die because we’ll make sure that it dies”. [Very Big Sarcastic Grin]

    On the other hand, why should they be competent at “making sure we die” than they are competent about other things?

  2. We loved the movie when it came out and got a copy so we can watch it often.

    I love how Rango kept adapting to events and moving forward. Guess what – the lizard ain’t gonna die! The preview clips in the above link just reminded me of how he just kept going and never gave up. Thanks for the perspective.

  3. Never quit. Don’t give the bastards the satisfaction.

    (resumes sharpening hatchet)

  4. “I’m forever amused by people who tell me their books shouldn’t have feelings. Or the ones who complain of “internal monologue” in first person.”


    NANI? (Japanese: WHAT?!) Okay, internal monologue over descriptions isn’t a great idea, but even the most internal monologue-y story usually has description as part of its modus operandi. NO FEELINGS?!!? What in heaven’s name do these people read – textbooks and how-to manuals? I’d argue even those have feelings because everything written transmits the author’s emotions as well as intentions and thoughts, but…. Sheesh!

    Also, Good Friday blessings, and thanks for the post. It came at a good time.

    1. Yes, perish the thought that we should actually know what the narrator is thinking. A careful author can even use that to justify why the narrator was unreliable in an instance where the author needs to obscure information from the reader.

      1. Without detracting from the utter uniqueness of what Christians commemorate today, it does bear on the whole business of the ruling class thinking it’s got everything under control…

        1. For my two cents– it would be a rather limited faith if it didn’t have themes that repeated in common day to day life!

          1. People who fuss about manners (“Why’d you serve the cheap stuff first?”), schedules (“You’re late and Lazarus is really dead!”), child care (“Where were you? We’ve been searching all over!”), bugging others about their beliefs, (“Maybe Baal’s with his wife. yell louder!”) and family soap operas [see Kings and Chronicles for waaaaaay too many details].

            Yep, some things don’t change, so long as people are people.

            1. For soap opera, see Judges and Genesis, too.
              And don’t forget, “You wasted that expensive ointment. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.”

              1. If you were poor in Bethany, who do you think you’d rather have show up at the door, Judas or Mary?

                Judas would have you filling out forms to verify eligibility, criticize your housekeeping, and tell you that you might get some help from the Nard Fund for the leaking roof in six to eight months (after his kickbacks from the contractors came in).

              1. As I recall, the wine steward at the wedding at Canna said that was the norm in Judea….

                1. Correct. Given the other items he listed, I suspect that TXRed was specifically referencing that event.

                2. And he was astounded when presented with 3 ~20 gallon ewers of the best wine he ever tasted :-).

            2. Ehh, I wouldn’t call Martha someone who was worrying about schedules. Her brother had just died, so she was grieving for him and deeply upset about the whole thing. Schedules… that feels unfair to her.

              It’s interesting to note, though, that Jesus delayed for two days after hearing the news that Lazarus was ill, but when he arrived at Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days. That means that even if he had set out immediately on receiving the news, he would still have arrived two days after Lazarus died. So Martha’s accusation, “You’re late and that’s why Lazarus died; you could have healed him!” is untrue, though she doesn’t know that. But note also what faith she showed in saying, immediately afterwards, “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”

              Martha gets a bad rap, I feel, when people only remember her from that one incident when she was worried about logistics while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened. This incident, where she shows deep faith even when she would normally be worried for herself (I gather she and Mary were unmarried, which means Lazarus’s income was all they likely had to live on), is far more reflective of her true character, I think.

              1. Well, Martha sussed out who Jesus was and said it to His face, and that was basically right up there with Peter’s recognition and some others.

                And that was not information that one got in a normal way, as Himself had pointed out earlier.

              2. I never read that statement from Martha as an accusation, simply as a statement of fact: if Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not have died. Nothing about that conversation suggests to me that she’s saying, “How dare you come now, when you didn’t come in time to save him!”

                I think you’re right that Martha is an admirable character: even in this circumstance, where she’s grieving and heartbroken, she manages to pull it together enough to greet Jesus and the disciples, while Mary is simply prostrate. I don’t think the Bible means to dump on her for the incident in Luke 10, any more than it’s dumping on Peter by noting his denial of Jesus or the three who fell asleep in Gethsemane by noting that. Yes, Martha should have paid more attention to what Jesus had to say rather that exactly what was for dinner, but it’s specifically noted that “Jesus loved Martha,” not a a compliment that many in the Bible receive.

                1. As its own statement of faith, even, with supporting assurance.

                  “It’s not like you weren’t here because you couldn’t save him. And God will do whatever you ask, I am not doubting your power, even though I didn’t get what I wanted.”

                2. Just had a thought–
                  even in this circumstance, where she’s grieving and heartbroken, she manages to pull it together enough to greet Jesus and the disciples, while Mary is simply prostrate.

                  Of course she did.

                  Look at the “making sure that everyone has something to eat” incident– that held her back from something good, while in this case the self-same sense of duty means that she IS there to greet Him, and do what must be done, and even has something to SAY instead of, oh, wailing in sorrow.

              3. Deacon Paul at my Church once gave an interesting sermon on the two stories of Martha and Mary.

                Mary shows the better way to be with Jesus in the first story.

                However in the Lazarus is raised from the dead story Martha knows Jesus can still do something now, and I interpreted Mary not also asking Jesus for aid now, as a lesser faith in him than Martha’s at that point.

              4. Deacon Paul at my Church once gave an interesting sermon on the two stories of Martha and Mary.

                Mary shows the better way to be with Jesus in the first story.

                However in the Lazarus is raised from the dead story Martha knows Jesus can still do something now, and I interpreted Mary not also asking Jesus for aid now, as a lesser faith in him than Martha’s at that point.

                1. Given that he didn’t suggest Martha join Mary, and given this was after the Lazarus thing, I suspect, as I have said here before, that Martha didn’t need to be at the feet of Jesus then. She had already gotten the point that Mary hadn’t quite.

                  1. I don’t believe it was after. John describes the raising of Lazarus as happening right before Jesus headed into Jerusalem for Palm Sunday.

            3. child care (“Where were you? We’ve been searching all over!”)

              We had a sermon recently about that passage, and I remembered that Jesus’s ministry started when he was thirty. My guess is that that was when he was finally ungrounded from the running away at Passover incident!

              bugging others about their beliefs, (“Maybe Baal’s with his wife. yell louder!”)

              We’ve had some discussions of that passage in church too. As I recall, “Maybe Baal ‘s with his wife” is one of the … politer things that Elijah suggests during the contest. (How many prophets of a minority religion get away with suggesting that the majority’s god may not be answering prayers due to a serious case of diarrhea?)

            4. And guilt-tripping (“If you’d been here, my brother would not have died.”)
              Although I like to point out that after saying that, Martha gives a profession of faith equal to Peter’s).

    2. Japanese (especially stolen-from-anime Japanese) is just so perfect for conveying the feel of “WTF, over?” without being mildly rude. 😀

      1. I have never heard, in any language, a better summation of the last three years, than

        Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over.

        Not even close.

    3. “…forever amused by people who tell me their books shouldn’t have feelings…”

      There is a style of writing, sometimes known as “flatness of affect” (see just below), that takes no “direct” notice of emotional content or context at all… it’s simply another thing to be described, hopefully accurately and dispassionately (in this mode, at least), and never even really mentioned. And some of its practitioners are writers that many readers (including me) find quite worthwhile.

      If that makes it sound like “flatness of affect” misses emotional content or cannot convey emotional events (and there are such things), I’ve misled you quite badly. Because some of the most powerfully effective, emotionally-descriptive scenes I’ve ever encountered have been written this way.

      So that the emotional content is purely in the narrated events… with no “pointers” or commentary otherwise in the writing to tell you what you’re seeing, only the substance itself.

      Example: the opening scene(s) of David Drake’s Starliner… if there is such a thing as a purely-emotionally violent and bloody scene, that involves no physical violence, no harsh words, no overt discord at all — even total, patent ignorance of what’s going on by half of the participants involved… this is one. And since (IIRC) that “flatness of affect” tag came to me originally from Drake himself, it’s arguably applicable here.

      So, even if “the book” (as such) doesn’t have “feelings” — you, the reader, still do, and are even invited to use them. This indeed can be (massively) competent storytelling.

      Further note: Being about 99% sure I had the right book, still felt obliged to look it up, and found (unexpected and direct) confirmation of my above interpretation… as well as learning something else I did not want to know.

      From the “Starliner” page on Drake’s own website, quoted from an interview in 2000:

      My viewpoint character is a young man who likes women and who — because he doesn’t understand women at all — treats them the way he’d like to be treated himself. By so doing he wrecks lives with complete innocence.

      I only mention this because occasionally I’m accused of being ignorant of the negative side of characters I’ve drawn as so job-focused that they take personal relationships at face value — and trivial. (Ritter in Northworld: Vengeance has a similar attitude.) No, I’m quite aware of what I’m saying, as surely as I am when I describe reconnaissance by fire — shooting into a clump of trees that might hold a sniper; or an old woman digging roots, of course.

      That thing I did not want to know, by the way, was near the top on the same page…

      Due to health issues, Dave will no longer be writing novels. There may still be occasional newsletters and he will continue to respond to emails as he can.

      Really going to miss all those further Drake books I might (otherwise?) have read.

      [see: david-drake dot com slash 2017/starliner/]

        1. Okay, that’s what I was half-aware (or maybe more like half-afraid) the people named might really be saying… their books ‘should’ never make them feel anything, at all. (Does that go for their music, too?!?)

          That’s so pathological (or something), I’m not quite sure how to react; but “books should not have feelings in them” is likely very close to the ‘right’ way to say that, after all — such people would likely perceive that those emotions had somehow been hidden in books (much like an armed ambusher or a roadside bomb), then injected themselves into their unsuspecting and unwilling victims upon reading, much like a virus’ RNA/DNA.

          Nothing rightly to do with the reader(s), themselves; purely foreign and alien.

          For heaven’s sake, even Soviet “Socialist Realism” was (sometimes) supposed to make you feel things — Mat’ Rodina! and so forth. If what they want is even grayer and blander than that… words just fail.

          [No, I still really don’t know Russian; but a few characters (Mars, late 21st century) do, and talk about going back to the pre-Bolshevik spelling, with the old letters ‘yat’ and ‘soft-dotted’ or ‘decimal’ i, and the old gender-based case endings. Call doing this the ‘1916 Project’ too. Hazards of the ‘gateway writing’ thing, I suppose…]

  5. Everything is under control.

    Like a steam tank that’s making little “tik” noises, or a combination of two acids and glycerine that starts turning brown.

  6. (Gat-go Lizard) “Fifteen minutes on the range can save you hundreds of rounds fighting tyranny …”

  7. Everything I’ve learned in a lifetime studying China was summed up by that Hong Konger who said “don’t trust China, China is assho. “.

    1. Pretty much. The more I read about China’s government*, the less I think that they really will rule the world. Mess up a lot of places? Oh yeah – look at the Yellow River. The Ming and Qing dynasties knew what needed to be done to reduce the erosion and start making it a living, “working” river again. But they didn’t because of court politics. Ditto a number of other messes.

      *As much as the “Chi-Com 2.0: The Son of Mao” government copies the imperial system, it might as well be just another dynasty.

      1. Keay, who seems to have had government help if not approval, said China has consistently messed up every effort to become an international power. He noted they just don’t seem to be suited for it.

        1. The Chinese developed in a somewhat unique situation geopolitically. China was the sole “big fish” in that part of the world. It’s neighbors were Korea (half-conquered for a while; technically, one could argue that it still is, and I’m not talking about North Korea…), Vietnam (also half-conquered for a while), and lots of aggressive nomadic horse cultures. It had no peer rivals. The nearest was India, and for most of China’s history the two regions were separated by some of the previously mentioned nomadic horse cultures. And the reason why those cultures were nomadic horse cultures is because the lands that they lived on sucked for pretty much any other use.

          AFAIK, almost every other nation has had to deal with neighboring peer rivals that represented a potential threat. China did not. Further, China’s status as the primary source of some of the most valuable consumer goods in the pre-industrial world (silk and porcelain) meant that it was in the best interests of neighbors to at least pay lip-service to Chinese dominance (so long as the current Chinese dynasty wasn’t actively trying to invade). So before the “eastern barbarians” (the Europeans – the ports they visited were on the eastern side of the country…) arrived, the Chinese were the world power in what was a uni-polar world. News occasionally reached them about other distant countries, but they didn’t matter except as stories. They had no ability to affect China itself. China was the most important power in the world if you lived in or near to China.

          And here’s the fun bit – the Europeans, who came from an environment that was the exact opposite, believed it all too. IIRC, McCartney was the first to suggest that might not be the case. One of the two British embassies (I believe it was his) took a route leaving the country that gave the ambassador a chance to view some unexpected bits of the country. And the view that he came away with was not favorable to the Chinese. Nonetheless, the prevailing view in the West was that China was a world power, deserving of respect and admiration. The China Mystique prevailed.

          The First Opium War was a shock to pretty much everyone, everywhere in the world. China wasn’t the power that everyone had believed. That marked the start of the co-called “Century of Humiliation”. The Chinese call it that, but imo it really represented China being forced to acknowledge that the world no longer revolved around it. China was no longer in a unipolar world. Worse, the real powers in the world were able to crush any Chinese attempts at resistance almost effortlessly. And while China had mechanisms in place for dealing with conquerors – i.e. let the invaders win and then turn them into Chinese – the Europeans didn’t want to conquer China. They just wanted a market for their goods (and the British needed to buy tea; assume that coffee is only available from a single country in a distant part of the world, and you might start to understand what I mean by this…). So instead of kicking out the Qing and taking over, the Europeans just kept issuing new demands (the Americans mostly didn’t, but instead took advantage of a unique feature of the treaties between the Europeans and Chinese – if a treaty granted one country particular rights, then all of the foreign powers received those same rights).

          China’s place in the bigger world wasn’t the same as it was in the small world that it had occupied. Ordinarily, this might then blossom into an opportunity for China to figure things out, and eventually take a prominent place in the new world. South Korea and Japan have both done so, and there’s no reason why China theoretically couldn’t as well. The Qing Dynasty fell in 1912. I won’t get into all of the details (except to note that while both China and Japan joined the Entente in World War I, Germany’s Concession in Shanghai and its holdings in Shandong were given to Japan by the agreements that marked the end of the War; China got nothing, afaik). By 1916, China was effectively split up into numerous regions, each controlled by a warlord. The Nationalists (or KMT) under Chiang Kai-Shek (who took over when Sun Yat-Sen died) started the slow process of trying to bring the country under their control while also dealing with the CCP, sometime neighboring ally the USSR, and Japanese aggression. Ironically, while the Sino-Japanese War (as they call it) was a very real threat to China’s existence, it also helped bring a unified identity to the Chinese people. Following the end of the war, the country was under the control of the Nationalists, and China might have been able to think about regaining some stature. Corruption was still a huge problem, but my understanding is that South Korea had similar issues at that time. And I think we can all agree its doing well enough these days. A victorious United States would likely have attempted to help China find her spot in the sun, especially in the new Cold War that was rapidly beginning. China’s position as a direct neighbor of the USSR would have been strategically invaluable, and its reliance on the powerful US might have granted enough clarity for China to be able to properly evaluate itself in comparison with the other countries. And influence from the US might have put Sun Yat-Sen’s ideas back into play, much as they are in Taiwan today.

          So China might have turned out decently by the end of the century. Maybe. The corruption still might have screwed everything up. Gen. Stilwell was a man who never should have had a post that required any bit of diplomatic sensitivity, but that doesn’t mean that he was wrong about the corruption.

          Unfortunately, circumstances aligned to let the CCP into power. What followed was decades of pure insanity. Any chance China might have had for properly figuring out its place in the world went down the toilet. Mao stuck with the USSR until Stalin died, and then decided that he was going to set up China as the head of a third pole of power. The fact that China was utterly incapable of that was something that likely never crossed Mao’s mind. And just to put it into perspective, while Xi Jinping also appears to think similar things, his China is lightyears better off than Mao’s China (at the moment; might not be for much longer…).

          And that’s where we are right now. China remembers that it was once great. China remembers when the world suddenly turned upside down and China turned out to be a paper tiger. China had a window in which it might have been able to properly evaluate and come to terms with its status on the true world stage. But the Communists took over, and wrecked that opportunity.

          1. That’s a lot longer than I’d originally intended, but also a lot shorter than it threatened to turn out at various points…

          2. the so-called “Century of Humiliation”

            Which shoulda been the Century of Getting A Clue.

            1. Or maybe the “Century of Humility,” if they absolutely must insist on something close to their original. (“Pride goeth before a” — what, again?)

          3. By shipping container-loads of Fentanyl to the US, China’s leadership may be quite consciously fighting the Fourth (?) Opium War. They may think they can win this one.
            If you don’t know the history of the Opium Wars, it’s worth a look. They were a large part of the Century (or so) of Humiliation.

            1. Sort of the fourth, though the “third” didn’t involve mainland China. The first was in 1839, and the second was in 1853. The official reason for both wars was a demand for restitution for illegal opium shipments seized by Qing government officials. Unofficially, the British (and later French, who helped in the second war) wanted greater access to China’s markets. The justification for the wars was seen as immoral even at the time. I have an audio book on the first one, and while the lead-up is fascinating the war itself was utterly disgusting. At the same time, though, the opium was just the excuse. The Westerners (the Americans had started to show up, as well) were desperate to get access to the Chinese market (and the British were just as desperate to ship tea out of China; it’s not an understatement to say that by the nineteenth century, loss of access to tea from China probably would have brought down a British government), and the Qing were being incredibly stingy about that same access. Sooner or later one of the European powers would have found an excuse to go to war.

              I have just discovered that there was another “Opium War”, though this one was just a three day battle, and not a full blown war. In 1967, a Burmese general decided to take over the Opium trade in the region. He formed a massive caravan of pack mules, and sent it to a particular refinery in Laos. However, he’d been setting himself up as a challenge to the group that had been “guarding” and charging tolls for that smuggling route – elements of the Chinese Nationalist army that had been cut off and stranded in Laos following the Chinese civil war (I don’t know why they weren’t repatriated to Taiwan). When the caravan didn’t pay for protection from the Chinese, the latter mobilized and went after it. A confrontation ensued, the Royal Laotian Army was called in (the Laotian general in charge owned the destination refinery), and both sides lost. The Burmese deserted and abandoned their cargo. The Chinese were surrounded and compelled to withdraw. And the Laotian general got the opium. He apparently ended up setting himself up as the new opium drug lord of the region, refining it into heroin, and sending it to Vietnam…

              Anyway, that particular “war” didn’t involve a Chinese government, or Westerners. So it wouldn’t matter to Beijing.

            2. The thing about the Opium Wars is that while they were market-opening wars for an evil product, nobody was holding a gun to the heads of millions of Chinese and forcing them to smoke it. That particular cultural decadence was entirely the fault of the Chinese (okay, including their Manchu overlords) themselves.

              Parallels to the War on Drugs are entirely intended.

              1. Absent a demand, little reason for supply.

                But if there is a little-used supply, someone may find a use for it.

              2. The real problem for the Chinese wasn’t the drug use (even the Emperor during the First opium War had indulged in it while he was still a prince). The real problem was all of the silver leaving the country. China only allowed the China traders to use Western silver coins for the trade. Chinese silver currency wasn’t allowed to be used. So the cash that the opium traders were paid (Chinese silver coins) for the opium couldn’t be used to buy silk, tea, etc… It had to be taken out of China. And the silver that the traders used to pay for what they bought was largely kept by the Chinese Canton merchants to pay for merchandise sold by the Western traders.

                Further, China also used copper for it’s coinage. But silver was the standard, and the value of the copper coins was tied to silver.. The silver leaving the country screwed up the ratio of copper to silver coinage, and caused the copper currency to lose much of its value – similar to what inflation does.

      2. China is the people, not the government. In reality china hasn’t really changed in several thousand years. China reminds me of the WHO’s song. ‘We won’t get fooled again’, with the lyric, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. Xi is really no different from the old Emperors, just a different name.

      3. I grant I have only skimmed China’s history, but so far it looks like they have a cycle going of “put Boss in surrounded by bureaucrats, watch as succeeding generations of bureaucrats make anything useful impossible, burn it down and start over.”

        1. The idiots in D.C. have pretty much completed Step 2 there. Everything useful is impossible, everything useless is mandatory.
          The government can mandate stupidity, but they can’t make it not be stupid.

  8. The American people don’t pay much attention until they come for their children or their guns. They’re making a run at the children right now and it won’t end well for them. Joe-boy and his team come up with one scheme after another to get those guns, with the results that the total number of guns in private hands keeps growing. The danger is that they’ve gone crazy and it’s hard to predict how far crazy people are willing to push it.

    1. Another lawsuit has been filed in Oregon. So, the 3 day rule came about because Oregon was slow going through gun sale background checks. Federal not. Federal approvals been coming in immediately. But Oregon found a loophole, short of denying immediately. They auto “hold” now. Sometimes, as in rarely, that hold is removed quickly, and quick approval. Which requires actual eyes on application. This is now what is typical: Application 1/31/2023, approval came back 4/24/2023. This now requires a new application to be filled out. On which approval took 3 hours (dealer said up to 3 day limit). For a firearm already fully paid for 1/31/2023. Per firearms dealer, this isn’t getting any better. Thus the new lawsuit on the auto hold delay. There isn’t a gun dealership remaining in the state willing to release a firearm after 3 days when the purchaser’s form has a hold on it, automatic tag or not (unless just refilling form because of 30 day requirement after prior for approved). Having your passport as well as your drivers license might put one higher in the queue, or better the chances of auto approval. Having current concealed permit does put one ahead of anyone without one, but at the end of those who do. Oh, for reference. The list on 1/31, was at 60k and counting.

  9. A few years ago Lesley, from my critique group, asked what Ray was thinking in the scene where he meets Clancy. So I told the group all about his thoughts. Lesley looked at me with a hint of a smile.

    “Did you let the reader know what he was thinking?”

    After a moment, I said: “I thought they’d just know.”

    And then we all laughed, and I sheepishly took my pages home and got to work.

    1. This relates to a peeve I have as a reader– writing teachers who urge “show, don’t tell” and then interpret that as “don’t bother to convey anything, force people to work at it and guess randomly what you intended to convey.”

      No wonder they hate popular writing so much, it lets them preen the lazy (author) stuff is better but unappreciated.
      [continued grumbling]

  10. I remember in what was it the 80’s or 90’s? When everyone was hyperventilating about Japan buying everything and going to run the world. Ya, that lasted a long time didn’t it. China’s government sees weakness, so they are trying to use that weakness. There is no way in hell that works out for them, because Biden can’t stay in office long enough for them to win. They don’t have the time and anyone who could help them, is being ravaged by the Ukraine mess. Europe and the other nations of the world are already tired of Biden and his corrupt ineptitude and wonder when the USA will come back to it’s senses. Because an insane United States puts too much stress on their economies for them to survive in power. Besides here’s a monkey wrench for their liberal thought patterns.
    ‘It is Racist for Biden to not stop down and let Carmel Colored Harris take over’. Tee hee

    It really wouldn’t matter who sits in the oval orifice, the real power is those behind the scenes. Biden will do whatever they want, so long as he can keep stealing from the treasury.

    1. I remember in what was it the 80’s or 90’s? When everyone was hyperventilating about Japan buying everything and going to run the world.

      That was the ’80s. A big-time recession hit Japan in the early 1990s, which in some ways is still going on, and that ended the hysteria almost overnight. The last gasp of the panic was the film adaptation of Michael Crichton’s risible novel Rising Sun (the adaptation of which became even more risible when it changed the identity of the murderer for no reason).

      1. We had a broker friend in NYC who told us the Japanese “dominance,” was built on their real estate market, which was badly overheated. He predicted that when their real estate market crashed, that would end the “world domination,” theme and it would be years before they recovered. And….he was right.

    2. other nations of the world are already tired of Biden and his corrupt ineptitude and wonder when the USA will come back to it’s senses.

      At this point, ~2 years. World watched the CCP & Russia invest Biden. They cannot let that happen again. They can’t afford another 4 years of Biden.

      At least one hopes they know that if the US catches a cold, then the world catches pneumonia.

  11. They cannot win, but at this point it looks like they’re in full Dark Knight/Johnny Ringo territory: nihilism, destruction purely out of hatred of reality.

    (Dark Knight: “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” Johnny Ringo: “Johnny Ringo wants revenge.” “Revenge? For what!?” “Bein’ born.”)

    The younger ones want the fantasies in their heads to be true, and when they finally grasp that it’s just not possible, they want revenge on reality for the disappointment (see the Nashville shooter, e.g.). The older ones mostly just want power, and to punish those who ever opposed them (thus, the prosecution of Bad Orange Man for being orange, and bad, and a man).

  12. What do you think that voice behind the eyes is.
    Um, ackshually, there are many people out there who don’t have a voice behind the eyes:

    I’m utterly boggled. Yesterday, out of nowhere, I learned of a fundamental divide in how peoples’ mental lives work about which I had had no previous idea at all.
    From this: Today I Learned That Not Everyone Has An Internal Monologue And It Has Ruined My Day.
    My reaction to that title can be rendered in language as – “Wait. People actually have internal monologues? Those aren’t just a cheesy artistic convention used to concretize the welter of pre-verbal feelings and images and maps bubbling in peoples’ brains?”

    Now I’m not a “quiet mind” myself, but I don’t hear my “head voice” as actual sound either. I understand the words as if they were spoken aloud, but silently, with a volume set to zero. It’s unlike my occasional hypnagogic auditory hallucinations which I do perceive as having sound. OTOH when I dream, all the talk and sounds are in this zero-volume head-voice.

    My head-voice is very clear when I read, or read-as-I-type. It’s a form of synthesia where I both see and head-voice-hear (at zero volume) the written words. The head-voice also there when I’m thinking in a format suitable for being expressed as speech or writing. (Which is most of the time.) But it’s absent or overwhelmed when I speak aloud or when I listen to someone else talking.

    1. Gack. I wanted two blockquotes, with the “Ackshually… being an unquoted paragraph between. Oh for an edit function! And WPDE

    2. Huh. I’ve kind of got both. There’s “the welter of pre-verbal feelings and images and maps bubbling” in the brain and there’s also a deliberate voice in my head that I guess you could call an internal monologue, which I use to make my thoughts more concrete, logic my way through things, and form plans of action. (Not sure what it means that when I talk to myself about myself, I’m “we.”)

      When I’m really (really, really) tired, I do have auditory hallucinations. Weird phrases and snippets of conversations that come out of nowhere and sound as real as someone standing right next to me. I’ve heard that it’s not uncommon.

      1. Mine is similarly at least two, maybe three– there’s the bubbling mass, that has to be translated into words kind of like translating physical sensation does.

        Then there’s the kind-of verbal, which can go from a high end of basically me talking to myself inside of my head, to a more organized form of the feel/see/know/move bubbling mass.

        Then there’s the Characters, some of which are actual people, like when someone says they could practically hear so and so telling them-

        None of mine are actually audible. Sometimes the “oh yes I’m thinking in words– oh, no, that one was a dream word, where I grok it but didn’t get the actual vocabulary for telling anybody else.”

  13. As Dr. Pournelle kept reminding us, despair is a sin.

    WRT China, they have always been the big kid on the block in East Asia, accustomed to receiving the kowtow of their neighbors. The Western Christian world has long been divided into states that were relative equals, habituated to dealing with peers. They are a threat and danger, but not unstoppable. Not when you consider that they are surrounded by neighbors who have good reason to fear them…and are significant military and industrial powers in their own right.

    Quite aside from the not-insignificant fact that much of their oil supply goes through the Straits of Malacca…and it’s easy to set up interdiction of the eastern approaches. If you would understand the strategy of a U.S. v China conflict, take a close look at the naval side of the First World War. In particular, the blockade of Germany by the Grand Fleet.

  14. “Tell me another country who ever banned alcohol. ”

    Every Islamic one?

    (What astounded me is the discovery that there is pork smuggling in Islamic countries. I rather like pork, but I’m not going to venture to the black market when there are all sorts of legal meat to eat.)

    1. Pork in all of its various forms is a wonderful food. I can believe it.

      However, I suspect that a lot of the pork smuggling involves “wink and nod” policing. There have always been Islamic countries where the rules involving alcohol have only been paid the slightest lip service (mind you, the specific countries can change over time). It wouldn’t surprise me if pork is treated similarly.

      1. Most smuggling is wink and nod. Only desperately needed stuff is worth smuggling when the authorities really try to keep it out. Idiots who think otherwise are poor at smuggling for other reasons

    2. I was amused by Poul Anderson’s, “Operation Chaos,” where a heretical Islamic sect takes the place of the Nazis for WWII. One thing that made them heretics was their assertion that while the Prophet forbade wine, he said nothing about whiskey, beer, akvavit…

  15. Canada ran prohibition before America did. (Apparently the smuggling went first one direction, than the other, at least according to the boat tour I took when we went to Alexandria Bay.)

    Hadn’t heard of it before that 🙂

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