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At one time I developed a really bad ear infection.  This must have been 7 years or so back.  I felt miserable.  But it wasn’t until one of the kids came in from school, looked at me and said “mom, why are you tilting sideways?” that I realized my sense of the vertical was off.  Apparently something to do with the inner ear.

In the same way, it’s possible for our thought to slowly TILT out of all semblance to normalcy until it is in some place very far from normal, but we don’t realize it.  This is not uncommon (at least brought in as a defense) for crimes committed by tightly-wound groups.

It’s entirely possible if a woman fell in with her church choir she would be saintly, but when her only source of support and love is ye little orgy next door, it will be otherwise.

Now, normally — in most cases — it is easier to do this to teens.  To do it to adult humans you need a really powerful narrative, usually a simplistic one that explains “Everything.”  It doesn’t of course, but so long as no one brings in the things it doesn’t explain, or you can keep them away with vigorous excoriating of outsiders, you’re fine.  Or not.

There was discussion here of the never sufficiently to be reviled Zimbardo who is sort of like Rousseau’s evil twin.  Rousseau thought that raising a total savage would make a noble and wonderful creature.  Zimbardo thinks raising any civilized man is BARELY keeping monsters out of the Nazi indoctrination factories at bay.

It’s not either.  Of course it’s not either.

Mostly raising children with no discipline and no instruction creates really dysfunctional eternal toddlers.  But toddlers, while throwing epic tantrums (particularly when the toddlers are over 100 lbs and in adult bodies) aren’t refined enough to think of making lampshades with humans’ skin and/or feeding humans on cardboard.  No, those are refined and civilized monstrosity. It’s the difference between your cat eating you when you die, and your SPOUSE eating you when you die.  One is just the natural beast, the other is repulsive evil.

And no, not every human is just waiting for a little bit of power to become a monster.  Some are.  And some have been socialized to be.  Taught to be.

Which is not the same as being savages.

Rousseau and Zimbardo, the mirror twins, are in fact partners in taking apart human civilization.  There is this horribly dichotomy going on, a similar one to “every culture is equally good, except Western culture, which is evil.”  In the same way “noble savages are just perfect and wonderful, and evil comes into the world through the west/white people/males/people who are minimally competent, all of whom are nazi prison guards waiting to happen.”

The goal is to stop from instilling in kids the necessary training to keep them from descending into mere feral behavior, while at the same time convincing those that have the propensity — and some will or will have acquired it — with the belief that “everyone does it, so as long as you hide it behind virtue signaling, you can. Everyone who says they don’t do it — no matter how heinous the it — is only lying. Or is too coward to do it.”  Which is how you end up with things like… well… high-placed men flying on the Lolita Express.  The president of the united states violating the trust (etc) of his intern, someone at his beck and call.  And the press turning a blind eye to it, because “everybody does it.” And the feminists turning blind eyes to it because “At least he advances the right of women to have abortions. And all men do this.”

It’s also how you get fiction in which the highest, perhaps the only true crime, is “hypocrisy” i.e. claiming you shouldn’t do these things, while, of course, doing them, because everyone does.

Except that of course not everyone does it.  But the entire society has been subjected to gaslighting on the subject since Zimbardo’s crazy was accepted as science, so now everyone is walking a little tilted.  And they think they’re vertical.  Which is why both of those gaslighters need to be debunked wherever possible.

Which brings us to how this happens to groups: look, we’re social apes. We’re designed to pick up narratives, particularly tribal narratives.

It probably saved the lives of many an orphan or lostling to be able to integrate with the tribe and start doing the things the tribe did, even if he came from some place they didn’t.  That’s humans for you.

But cultures can go… weird.

It normally doesn’t happen all at once (and no, it’s not just some kids stranded on an island. Geesh.)  It takes either generations of bad raising (coff. Not that we’re not facing that) or a culture under severe stress for a long, long time.  And people being afraid.  And suddenly you start seeing people doing and saying things that you’d never have imagined a year or two ago.

Yes, to some extent we’re seeing this happen to the left, and it’s clear to us, because we’re not of the left.  And while a lot of them were always this crazy, a lot aren’t.  In fact we’re seeing a lot of it infect the left-fringes of the right who are suddenly saying things like “Better Red than Trump.”

Do I understand? To an extent I did. I was a never Trumper almost up to election 16.  Until I realized the sort of suicide pact was going to land us with Hillary.  It took effort to step away from the group think, to go “Wait, what am I doing?”

Richard Fernandez sometime back did something about “infective memes” that act like demon possession.  Oh, I’m not saying any of the people affected by them go overnight into monsters.  It’s more that you have friends you’ve known for years and suddenly they’re telling you that it’s okay if we elect a socialist because–  and then you get word salad.  And something about how rude or ignorant Trump is (Which I guess after the gentle Obama who gave people the middle finger and talked of the Austrian language… is completely insane, yes.)

This is terrifying.

I’ve been talking for years about how we’re tap dancing on a powder keg.  Well.  Someone decided to add some nitroglycerin to their soles.

And I’m starting to see a response on the right.  We’d be more than human if I didn’t.

Look, I understand preparing.  Hell. I’ve been stockpiling necessities for over a year.  I call it “the apocalypse closet”.  I don’t think bad things will happen in my neighborhood, but you never know.  And I’ve told you guys — all of you — that it will get very bad in spots.  It’s already bad in spots. And it will get worse.  And you’ll have to think twice about where you go and what you do in your lawful pursuits.


But I’ve been seeing things like “Kill them before they kill us.”  And no, not just in comments on this blog.

I’m as guilty as the next guy (and the next guy is Bob the Registered) of demanding heads on pikes, or of posting helicopters with “Go be a commie somewhere else.”

And that’s okay.  It’s  probably horrifying for the left, but so is everything we say and do.  So much triggering becomes silly.  Boy who cried wolf and all that.

But the thing is, we too are in our groups, and it’s easier to start tilting. And not notice. We’ve been under stress for a long time. All of us. And we’re looking at the left and seeing their flaunting of the laws and established procedure.  And yes, yes, I do believe them when they say they want to kill us.  I believe them even more when they say they wish we’d all die, because frankly most of their threats to kill us are like the crazy guy who followed me around downtown yelling he was going to kill me with his snake (yes, he had one. No, not poisonous or large enough to squeeze to death.)  Until I got tired and told him I was going to do something anatomically improbable to him with my knife.  And then he backed away from me so fast he almost fell.

Most of the left has a lot of aggression and given complete safety to express it will in the manner of undisciplined toddlers (and a few psychopaths.)  But yes, there are the few psychopaths who are legitimate threats (a lot of them in politics.)  I’m not discounting that.

Or that in certain times, in certain places, you might have to defend yourself/ves.

At this point I will not attend anything that’s likely to attract antifa without being armed.  And since firearms are a problem at most rallies, I’ll have to take knifes or maces.  But frankly I can’t understand people who don’t.  (Yes, metal detectors, but there are ways.)

And yeah, I’m not going to tell anyone it’s evil if one of the antifa kiddies ends up looking for his kidneys on the floor because he messed with the wrong old guy or girl.  Mostly because, though many of them are misguided or mentally ill, they did put themselves in arms way and you can’t give a sanity test to every attacker.  (Nor should you.)

Yes, there will need to be a lot of self-defense to stop them thinking they’re immune.

But right now, where you stand, where I stand, to go after, say journalists or lawmakers with physical force would be — if not unwarranted — unwise.  To the outsider, who hasn’t been watching politics closely, you’d look like the aggressor.

The way to fight a war of laws (or ignoring them) and of lies is to fight them with speech and demands for legal action.


And as for attacking the loudmouths, the every day meme posters, the nonsense talkers of the left, the everyday agents provocateurs on blog and social media?  That’s where you’re tilting so far you don’t realize how far.

Memes should be fought with memes — we will fight them with photo shop, we will fight them with Leonidas memes, we will fight them with gifs, we will never ever ever surrender — and words with words. Even when it seems like you’re throwing pearls before swine. You are. But it’s the spectators, the maleducated, the gaslit, who go “Wait… maybe there is a reason…”

And when and if the time comes to fight? Yeah, there will be crimes.  Our side has its psychopaths, too. We’re not angels. And some people have been under tension a long time (in a way we all have. All my friends’ groups have weird stuff going on in them.) Will there be what we call “War crimes?” of course there will. Look, there are “War crimes’ in every war. That’s why war is hell.

But will there be systematic, organized war crimes? Will we be rounding up people that the left insists are in their “preserve” and just killing them because of skin color, or — yeah, I do have an interest in this one, think on — accent, or how they dress, or their profession? Because we’ve stopped seeing them as people or even thinking about who they might be, and just see them as widgets and “enemy markers.”

I’ve told you before that — in my neighborhood next to Colorado College — I went to vote early morning, 2004.  And the precinct was full of what my mind catalogued as “hippies” and “Lefties.”  Women in lose skirts, with long hair. Men with long hair, in modish clothing.  And then I realized I was assuming their politics.  After all, I was wearing my Indian cotton skirt, had my long hair in a pony tail, and was carrying an art bag slung on my back.

As it turned out, my precinct went Republican that election.

But that instinctive target acquisition is group-think.  Yes, we do it too. And when we juxtapose that and the idea that all them sumsobitches should be killed… evil results.  Monstrous evil.  And then society turns against the people they see as evil and their ideas and — as often happens — throws away the baby with the bathwater.  And we careen into socialism, which kills even more people.

I think right now the left prays every day for some inadvisable violence from the right.  No. Make that “I know”.  I know, because every time there’s a shooter they wish-cast it onto our side.

Let’s not fall into a trap so obvious that it’s like an arrow on the path, saying fud, and leading to a red-painted noose, okay?

No one is telling you that you can’t defend yourself. But step back and think about what you’re trying to do and what the actual immediate provocation is.

The left is acting so crazy, that it’s making everyone crazy.  But are they like pre-historic man trying to stampede the bison over the cliff?  Or are they an actual clear and immediate threat?  And should we throw ourselves over the cliff to certain death, or think how to defend ourselves, rationally?

Step outside the group and think.  We are unfortunately social apes. It does influence us.

We are also, in this blog at least, goats.  We shouldn’t stampede easily.  Think.

If and when the time comes you need to defend yourself, be prepared. No one says otherwise.

But even if it seems impossible, try to avoid a conflagration that destroys the civilization we’re trying to preserve. Think of the mal-educated, indoctrinated, gaslighted generations who would, of necessity, do the rebuilding.  Don’t rush.

I pray every day that a conflagration won’t come. For the first time in my life I have A prayer life.  It might not help.  But who knows, it might.

Be ready for the worst, but do try to avoid it.

Be not afraid, but neither jump, arms wide into the void.

Be of the group, but not so wholly immersed you don’t see how things look from the outside.  (Given the lively arguments here, there’s not much danger, at least on this blog.)

Watch for tilting.



I realized I was getting better in the middle of yesterday afternoon, as a great depression settled upon me for no reason at all.

Weirdly, and for no reason I can figure out, that’s one of the symptoms — for me — that I’m starting to “turn the corner” on a viral infection. All of a sudden I’m weepy and feel like the world is coming to an end.  It’s entirely possible this is because until then I’m just trying to stay awake/drag myself around to do the absolutely necessary. Suddenly I have a little more energy, and my body uses that to worry and be really sad.  Fortunately I’ve learned to identify it for what it is.

It is, what my dad used to refer to as “that which burns, heals.”  In the same way, while I hate the weepy and depressive part of the recovery, I also know it means I’m getting better. Not well. Nowhere near well, but better and on the way to being well.

This is not just my health update. I think this is where we are, nationally.

Look, part of my being where I am, emotionally, just now, is that I can’t see a way out of the mess we’re in: from things getting ugly with China — and they need to be, or China will take over the world — or the the people retaining vestigial control of the media and various parts of our bureaucracy and trying to override the voters while they careen us towards socialism.

Right now everything looks horrific.

But a friend told me yesterday what the president is engaging in is economic war, and maybe it will save us from real, shooting war.  Maybe.

The one thing I’ve noticed… Take the Trump “gaffe” yesterday about how people can’t go to the grocery store without ID.  Look, it’s hyperbole, obviously. If you walk to the store and you pay in cash, you don’t need ID. How many people in the US go to the grocery store on foot or public transport and pay in cash? Because if you drive there, even if you pay in cash, you need ID. And if you pay in any way but cash, they’re supposed to look at the ID anyway.

But all of a sudden he has everyone talking about ID for voting, one way or another.  And it allows the left to expose their monstrous ignorance.  And it allows us to engage them.  Yes, okay, I did get in the middle of it on Facebook, but come on, I was apparently arguing with someone who thought that Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty was the law of the land, or perhaps that the Constitution was engraved on the statue of liberty.  I’m not sure which, my mind kept bending away from the stupid, like a finger from the fire.

It is part of it, though. Almost everyone complaining was exposing their own — often very strange — ignorance of either how you buy groceries or of what the law of the land is.

I’d like to think Trump is doing it on purpose, but perhaps he’s not. I don’t know. And frankly I don’t care.

When I called this the second year of the masks coming down, (almost the third year, counting from election night 2016) it is this effect I was talking about.

Think about it.  Three years ago even Hillary Clinton was pretending she wasn’t a socialist.  Now the comedy skit known as the Democrat primaries is openly socialist and frankly, openly against you, yes, you who love America and want it to remain America.

Three years ago, although they’d been playing gatekeepers on opinions for years, the New York Times would never have published an editorial anti free speech.

And if people were marching in the streets screaming “No America at all” (seriously, people, let’s buy these children tickets to Cuba and China already!) there were no echoing voices in the Senate agreeing with them.

Oh, and the house of representatives would never try to impeach a president on collusion, when it is obvious they’re the ones colluding.


The masks are coming off.

Here’s the thing about masks, though: they prettify.  While they stay up, you can pretend that the faces behind them are normal, that everything is fine.

When the masks come down, you see the decay and the horror.

Here’s what to remember: be it China or the extent to which our own country has been subverted by the dying contortions of the Soviet snake, or the hatching of the Chinese one: those things were there.  They’re not worse now.  It’s just now we can see them.

And though the things we can see are unsettling, frankly if I had to navigate my way out of a hall filled with spinning knives, it would be better if I could see to avoid them.

It’s the same for the country, I think.  Our chances have actually gone up.  We just don’t feel like it, because look at all those horrors surrounding us.

They were there before.  They’re just visible now.

That which burns, heals.  Or at least it can.  And sometimes the depression means we’re getting better.

It just doesn’t feel like it.

Be Not Afraid!  This is no time to go wobbly.


Rare Monday Vignettes and Book Promo

*I am better and for the people who think it’s more serious, psychosomatic, etc.  No, this is a virus that has been hitting my entire family.  The amazing thing is that I was the third, not the second to get it.  Husband is now in the beginnings of it. I should be able to actually work today and with a little bit of luck be back on the blog tomorrow- SAH*

Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months. One book per author per week. Amazon links only.-SAH*

FROM SAM SCHALL:  Betrayal from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 5).


War is never clean. Honor doesn’t always win out. Betrayal becomes the shadow currency that can tip the balance of power.

Colonel Ashlyn Shaw learned those lessons the hard way. Five years ago, she lost her command and her freedom because of the machinations of those willing to betray Fuercon, the homeworld they’d sworn to protect. Supposed allies conspired with enemies. Now Fuercon and its allied systems face a war on multiple fronts.

A war where the enemy doesn’t want a diplomatic solution. One where the enemy claims victory based on the number of civilian deaths.

This is not a war of attrition. It is a war of survival.

It is also a war Ashlyn and her allies have every intention of winning. But to do so, they must first unravel the layers of a conspiracy that goes much deeper than any of them suspect.

Honor and duty. Death before dishonor.



Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: friendly

I’m Ill


I thought I was being unusually lazy yesterday.  Today, even though the body aches are gone, I feel like sleeping and am having freezing/burning up spells.Fairly sure it’s just a cold son has been so kind as to share with me.  But I don’t feel up to a publicity post.  Do it tomorrow?
I’m going to go back to bed.

Low Carb Stuff that Works


We’ve eaten low carb for five or six years now, mostly faithfully because if I break from low carb I immediately experience an eczema outbreak.  When it started, I had eczema all over my body and wasn’t sleeping.  Most of the time the trigger for eczema is dairy. My mother had assumed mine was, so I was raised without dairy products or anything that might contain traces of dairy.  I found out long before I left the house that she was wrong, because I’d have milk and yogurt at friends’ houses with no bad effects.

But I had no clue what the trigger was, except stress.  It is still that.  In the run up to my son’s wedding, with all the travel arrangements, I was in the middle of a major outbreak. By the afternoon after the wedding, it was almost completely clear.

So a search on line said that for some people the trigger was sugar or really carbs of any sort.  I went low carb cold turkey.  (Despite which I’m now trifling at the border with diabetes, but that might have to do with thyroid regulation — I’m overdue for a test — and with the fact that I spent three years (the house buying/publisher issues years) going on prednisone every three months.)

A year or so later husband was diagnosed as diabetic (though most of the time he too stays at the border, at least if we’re being good on carbs) and the whole family went low carb.

While bread is much missed by my husband, it doesn’t normally disturb me not to have it.  My major “I miss this” is potatoes.  You can fake mashed potatoes decently with mashed cauliflower.  But nothing can fake baked potatoes or fries.  My secondary miss is corn. ANYTHING with corn.  Popcorn, corn chips, corn.

Speaking of cauliflower, younger son discovered riced cauliflower which is extremely useful as fake rice.  In fact, since I’m feeling under the weather I’m considering making Chinese Fried Not Rice tonight.  (It’s one of my “I feel ill” things.)  And I recently found out you can make passable if not extraordinary fake refried beans from cauliflower.

Anyway, I don’t normally miss bread much.  The exception is in fall.  When it starts getting colder I want bread, crackers, bagels, etc.

Some of these are “easy” to make to regular recipes.  There is a low carb flour called Carb Quick available from Amazon.  As long as it’s not a yeast raised dough, you can make it from this.  I often use it for muffins and scones. Also the rare batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Some are more difficult. Something you learn early is that carb quick (or almond flour) recipes lack sponginess and also structural integrity.

For bread that friends who aren’t low carb can’t tell from the real thing, I make Soul Bread.

For pizza dough (and as a basis to a lot of other things) I use the Fathead recipe.  Since pizza also isn’t one of my things, (I know, I know, HERESY!) I do it maybe twice a year, when we have the guys over and we are watching a movie of something.

But this last week as the weather turned ugly in Colorado, I found myself hankering for pretzels with dip and, strangely, for crackers.

So I turned to the internet…

Okay, believe it or not this makes a very decent pretzel recipe.

As for crackers… remember the fathead dough?  Well, you can make these which are your basic cracker:

However for something a little more savory, these were quite good:

And for those who can’t have cheese/dairy, there is this:

Because I don’t do low carb baking every day, I didn’t have any sunflower seeds, but I did have ground hemp seeds (yes, Colorado. Ardeearar. Actually it was left over from before I found cauliflower “rice.”  It was one of the experiments.  Anyway, I used that and the result was a crunchy “Whole grain” artisanal cracker that I wouldn’t be amazed to see served at a high class restaurant as an appetizer.  It tastes very nutty, too.  Good for spreading stuff on or dipping.

I have other recipes to try, because these searches always yield “oooh.”  This includes bagels roti (I can serve it when I make vindaloo) and what I’m assured is a good immitation pita (which since, with a few exceptions, our diet trends “Mediterranean” will be very good.

And now I have stuff to edit, a half dozen (not exaggerating) short stories to write, and two covers to fix.

Fortunately I cleaned house yesterday!



A Clarifying Sign

Anti-government protesters rally in Tai Po, Hong Kong, China - 10 Aug 2019

As American companies go over, one after the other to kiss China’s dictatorial… feet, I’m finding the revolt of Hong Kong against the mainland’s attempt at imposing tyranny upon the island is a neat and clear separator of those who hate freedom and those who love it.

Forget American official involvement.  Some online blogger was yelling that America only intervened when its economic interests were engaged.  He’s not wrong. Part of our ability to ignore the middle east and start to pull our boys home is that we are no longer dependent on middle Eastern oil.  After almost a decade of Mr. Obama doing everything but shooting our fracking ability through the head, we’re producing well enough, thank you that we don’t need to be involved in the graveyard of empires.

Ultimately when it comes to nations — and something the left never understands, since they see themselves as instruments of world-wide revolution (the whole Workers of the World schtick) — they should not fight unless they absolutely need to or it serves their interests, economic as well as political and of influence, in some way.

It would inadvisable and potentially apocalyptic for the US to go to war with a nuclear-armed nation, over an island that is no part of us, no matter how much anyone in government or out sympathizes with the revolt.

On the other hand, individuals are free to express support, and keep in mind that just having the eyes of the world on them, and vocal support from the west can help. There is a reason they’ve not been crushed, yet, and it’s not China’s loving kindness.

What doesn’t help are are companies crawling over to kiss despot… feet.  Blizzard being the latest of those, of course.

What helps — us not them — is to clarify who is for freedom and who is not, who wants to encourage individuals to live in freedom and who hates the very notion.

One of the big surprises was AOC signing the pro-Hong Kong letter from congress.  Perhaps she doesn’t realize her entire program is tyrannical (no, seriously, there is a thing amid young liberal art majors, where they think that communism is the natural state of mankind and once the oppression is removed it will all be singing and sharing and … well, kindergarten. It’s all bullshit, ignorance and lack of brain, but it’s possible she believes this. Far smarter people than her do.)  Or of course it’s possible that she can’t actually read but that’s probably unlikely. It doesn’t make her program any less heinous, but let’s at least give her credit for the fact she doesn’t THINK she desires tyranny.

For others there’s no surprise at all, mostly among our business men, honestly.  It’s not even a matter of money or making money from China. They think that the mass of humanity are idiots and that everything would be so much better if they had absolute control.  Which is why they hate and despise Hong Kong, the same way they hate and despise the rights guaranteed by our constitution.  This ridiculous clique of techno-nerds are convinced they’re nobility and each of them tries to proclaim louder “L’etat c’est moi” not realizing they’d be the first against the wall “come the revolution.”

And even among common, every day people, it is a mark of perverse love of dictatorship to condemn Hong Kong. The idiot woman who was filmed screaming they should just turn themselves in because resistance was futile, or whatever?  She was saying “I’d rather live in chains, come enslave me.”

Might Hong Kong’s story end badly?  Of course it might. I expected a bad ending long ago, and am praying for them every day.

Does it make any difference if they fight and lose or preserve their lives by not fighting at all?

Of course it does.

Look, in many ways our revolution was the echo of many other, failed, revolutions.

Hong Kong is in a true impossible position.  They have to either fight or become enslaved to one of the worst regimes of the modern era. Not might. Not divided government, not things aren’t going as fast as we’d like them to. If China can extradite Hong Kongers for “thought crimes” and political crimes, Hong Kong is just like the rest of China. Period.

In such circumstances, you fight. There is nothing else you can do.

And if you lose, maybe in the future someone else will pick up the flag and run.

I stand with Hong Kong.


Safe Niches


As most of you know, I like dinosaurs.  It could be said that I never outgrew my love of dinosaurs.  Possibly because there were no Natural History Museums around when I grew up.

If I’ve been particularly good, my reward is to go to the Natural History Museum and walk through the area with dinos.  If I have caught up on books by then, I would like to celebrate my birthday by going to the museum and drawing both the skeletons and dinosaurs. We’ll see.

At one time we went to see the dinosaurs of Gondwanaland and those were fascinating. Since they lived in real niche environments and were very well adapted to them, some of them in ways that made them look truly ridiculous.

Of course it is sort of the same thing with the marsupials in Australia. They were well adapted to their niche with other marsupials, but completely helpless when meeting placental mammals.

Perhaps it is because of this that recently I’ve been thinking the problem with the democrats is that they were much too well adapted to an evolutionary niche which is changing at a fast pace.

Bear with me.

By virtue of the long march, the liberals, by the time I was born and possibly before, had a unique set of protections that meant it was never, ever, ever in the wrong, no matter what.

Because they controlled the entire entertainment/information/news complex, they were sure that things that happened wouldn’t actually be reported if they impacted them badly, while things that might be in their favor were reported whether they happened or not.

It was so floridly insane that JFK being killed by a communist was attributed to the right and the “climate of hate.”

It was so crazy that the left convinced half the country that the parties switched sides on race.

It was so batsh*t divorced from reality that despite the fact that most of the wars we got into were started by democrats, it is the republicans who are viewed as ‘war mongers.’  That, despite the fact that the Democrats command all positions of power and wealth they’ve convinced people it is the Republicans who favor the wealthy. Etc. etc. etc.

Heck, if you add historians to the act — and they’re definitely part of the left information complex — we have the spectacle of our founding fathers being denigrated as uniquely evil for failings that were common to pretty much everyone in their time (and at which they failed less than others.)  Then there is the fact that FDR, the hero president of the left, for decades credited with combating the Great Depression, probably caused it.

But the left had all these …. coverup resources, which meant that their malfeasance was never actually reported.

So what is the downside of that?

The same as with any other organism hyper-adapted to its current conditions.

If you don’t have to be careful and watch for predators or those who might want to take you down, at some point you forget how.

Note that as we pointed out here not so long ago, even with the internet, we still have nowhere near the command of information the left has. As much as they’re slipping, they still command the heights. If they were even minimally honest and/or competent, we’d be in some serious trouble.

But they aren’t.

Why aren’t they? Because they never had to be. Because the new generations who climbed to power knew they could do whatever they wanted and have time leftover (as grandma would say) without it causing any problems for their career.  Eventually they developed this mythology (probably around the time that Clinton got caught diddling interns and everyone made excuses for it) that if you support the right causes, you’re a good person, despite everything you might do around that “support.”

And look, even with Clinton, there were signs that things were changing. Mostly, we’d developed talk radio and a couple of blogs.  And that was enough to spread the tale of the blue dress so the public heard about it.  No, seriously, we now know JFK had at least as many bimbo issues, but no one ever heard of them, and instead what you saw was the image of the perfect first family.

There are other things.  Blogs took down not only Dan Rather but the bizarre deception he’d concocted which otherwise might have given up president Jean Francois Kerry (Quod Avertat Deus! Like Hillary, in less mannish pants!)

And we’re getting bigger and better.  Honestly, 2016 and Trump’s surprise win is something I’d been anticipating for a while. The point at which we can flip an election despite the media pushing all the other way.

Doesn’t mean we’ll beat the margin of fraud every time, but it means we’re that big.

Look, guys, we understand them better than they understand us, because we live surrounded by their signal.  We’ve even learned to fake being them, so we can thrive.  And btw, that has to be giving them cold sweats. We’re seeing some witch hunts already here and there. They have to guess that amid those who seem the most loyal there are “infiltrators” who just decided the masquerade was worth it. (And there are, at least, I know for a fact, in SF/F writing.)

And we are usually better at whatever it is we do for a living, because we didn’t get any slack cut to us for “correct political opinions.”  (They might not know that, but it is still an advantage on our side. A big one.)

More importantly NO ONE on the right ever got that dirty or that sloppy.  We couldn’t, because the information complex was actively looking at us for that spec of dust in our eyes.

But the left? Oh, dear, the left. Beam? They have entire super stadiums in their eyes. President can’t keep it in my pants Clinton?  Joe “I blackmailed the Ukraine to get my doper son a job?”  Completely run of the mill.  I bet you there are far worse examples of corruption, waste and cheer insanity.  (And I mean besides Occasional Cortex or what’s her name the Representative with too many husbands, one of which is her husband and the probable immigration fraud?)

They were secure not because they were competent and clean, but because they could count on all their misdeeds being hidden.

I know you’re furious these people aren’t being dragged into jail, but guys — you only know they deserve it because we’re already winning. We’re already clawing back some of the functions they had completely controlled.

And they really aren’t ready for it. Which is why you see the bizarre insanity of an impeachment attempt in which no one has to vote for it. Because they’re scared.

They’re marsupials who just met their first placental mammal.

Or if you prefer, they’re dinosaurs, completely adapted to their place and climate, and there’s this fiery ball in the sky that keeps getting bigger and bigger.

But these dinosaurs know what comes next.

Be not afraid. Do not minimize the gains we’ve already made.  Yes, there will be loses, but they will never have full control again.

Which means their environment has changed and they’ll never be as secure/thrive as well.

Ride right through them. They’re demoralized as hell.

In the end we in they lose.  Do not lose your head, and keep pushing.

Morning Came Too Early

It’s way too early. I’m way too tired. We had to do something late last night and I’ve slept all of five hours.  I not only couldn’t cue the post, I’ve been trying not to fall asleep again, while sitting here trying to think what to do.

And it occurs to me I have duties.  I’m in this bundle at Story Bundle, you see. And it’s a pretty good buy.

It ends tomorrow, so now is the time to check it out.
And I’m going back to bed.

Screenshot_2019-10-09 StoryBundle

The Vampires! Bundle, curated by bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson:

Now here’s a bunch of books you can sink your teeth into! The Vampires! StoryBundle abounds with the blood-sucking best! Thirteen page-turners across the spectrum of vampire fiction, and all of them with fangs!

If you like Vampire Suspense or Mystery, you’ll enjoy Brother Blood and Sister Death by Bill Ransom. Human-vampire fraternal twins with dangerous sibling issues run from near-fatal mistakes in the city to sequester themselves outside a rural fishing town. This is a special sneak-preview release for this bundle, not available elsewhere until December! And Running from the Night by Ramón Terrell. An action-packed ride filled with diverse and fun characters, immortal societies existing alongside our own, with a pinch of romantic tension. In You Suck by David Wood, Dunn Kelly seldom has a problem covering for his alcoholic father, the only Special Populations detective on the police force, but when teen pop star Delilah Idaho sees a wrinkle on her forehead, Dunn’s world is turned upside-down.

Read more about the TEN other books in the bundle here, and make sure to click on each cover for a synopsis, reviews and preview of each book!


Brahmandarins-Guest post by Nitay Arbel


Brahmandarins-Guest post by Nitay Arbel

In the wake of the 2016 elections, I coined the term “Brahmandarins” for the transnational ruling class.

Three years later, it is quite evident that the election of the populist Trump over the Brahmandarin Hillary was not an isolated phenomenon. In nations around the world, from Brazil to Britain, either populist revolts are threatening the stability of Brahmandarin regimes, or voters have put populists (real or perceived) in office.

But who are these “Brahmandarins” really? And why this portmanteau of “Brahmin” and “Mandarin”?

Traditional Hindu society knew hundreds of hereditary castes and subcastes, but all broadly fit into four major “varna” (“colors”, strata):

  • Brahmins (scholars, clerisy)
  • Kshatriya (warriors, rulers)
  • Vaishya (traders, skilled artisans)
  • Shudras (farmers)
  • The un-counted fifth varna are the Dalit (“untouchables”, outcasts in both senses of the word)

Historical edge cases aside, membership in the Brahmin stratum was hereditary, even more so than in the nobility of feudal Europe. At least there, kings might raise a commoner to a knighthood or even the peerage for merit or political expedience: one need not wait for reincarnation into a higher caste.

The Sui dynasty in China, however, took a different route. Seeking both to curb the power of the hereditary nobles and to broaden the available talent pool for administrators, they instituted a system of civil service examinations. With interruptions (e.g. under the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan) and modifications, that system remained in place for thirteen centuries until finally abolished in 1904. Westerners refer to laureates of the Imperial Examinations (from the entry-level shengyuan to the top-level jinshi) by the collective term Mandarins. Ironically, this term comes not from any Chinese dialect but (via Malay and Portuguese) from the Sanskrit word mantri (counselor, minister) — cf. the Latin mandatum (command) and its English cognate “mandate”.

Initially, the exams were limited to the scholar and yeoman farmer classes: with time, they were at least in theory opened up to all commoners in the “four occupations” (scholars, farmers, artisans, merchants), with jianmin (those in “base occupations”) still excluded. The process also was ostensibly fair: exams were written, administered at purpose-built examination halls with individual three-walled examination cubicles to eliminate cribbing. Moreover, exam copies were identified by number rather than by name. For some fascinating background, see

as well as this video:

In practice, the years of study and the costs of hiring tutors for the exam limited this career path to the wealthy. Furthermore, the success rate was very low (between 0.03% and 1%, depending on the source) so one had better have a fallback trade or independent wealth. In some cases, rich families who for some reason were barred from the exams would sponsor a bright student from a poor family. Once the student became a government official, he would owe favors to the sponsor.

Moreover, the subject matter of the exam soon became ossified and tested more for conformity of thought, and ability to memorize text and compose poetry in approved forms, than for any skill actually relevant to practical governance. (Hmm, artists or scholars in a narrow abstruse discipline being touted as authorities on economic or foreign policy: verily, there is nothing new under the sun.)

What do we have today, in the 21st century?

In theory, our elite is meritocratic: the “best and the brightest”, leading graduates from the most selective universities. France’s civil service perhaps comes closest to an idealized version of the Mandarinate, as I’ve discussed here.

The French themselves, of course, joke about living in an “ENArchy”, a pun on the ENA (Ecole Nationale d’Administration, idiomatically: National Administration Academy) of which so many senior bureaucrats are graduates. Unlike in Imperial China, one can be the son of a street sweeper or a shopkeeper and make it through the ENA on talent and eyebrow sweat. In practice, the ENA has become a by-word for an insular elite, concerned only with its own peer group and out of touch with broader society. Significantly, one of the bones Emmanuel Macron threw the Yellow Jackets protesters was a promise to close the ENA — his own alma mater….

If one visits Europe nowadays and talks to an average middle-class person, there is a broad sense that the ruling class:

  • has lost the plot
  • is focusing on trivial issues to avoid having to deal with “elephants in the room” and to distract the public from them
  • is manufacturing crises while ignoring real ones
  • is focused only on the interests and sensibilities of people like themselves, and treats others like “sheeple”. “We are beinglived”, as the proverbial cab driver told me in Brussels.

Fair or not, politics is a game of perception. It may (sadly) be true that many people are willing to sell their birthrights for a mess of pottage (the way the biblical Esau did). These deals start coming apart, however, when the ruled perceive the ruling class as no longer in touch with events, and no longer able to hold up their end of the bargain. The notion of a “social contract” between ruler and subjects, and of the contract being abrogated when rulers are no longer holding up their end of the bargain, is made explicit in the Dutch 1581 “Plakkaat van Verlatinghe” of 1581.

In this Act of Abjuration (as the name is usually rendered) against the Spanish emperor Philip II, the Dutch lay out their grievances against the Spanish emperor, their attempts to seek redress, and their final decision to declare their independence. (Sounds familiar? No coincidence. )

The Dutch language knows the priceless verb “doodzwijgen”, literally “kill something by keeping silent about it”. This has been a favorite tactic of European Brahmandarins for a long time— the near-media silence on the continuing Yellow Jackets protests is only the most recent example.

Manufactured hysteria about one or more distraction issues is another tactic — one that resembles flares fired by a fighter plane under attack by heat-seeking missiles. The US mainstream media, egging each other on in feedback loops, merely keep amping that technique up not just to 11, but to full potato and beyond.

Fortunately, in the internet age, the train of full media control has left the station. May it never return there.

*Nitay Arbel is (a friend and) an author, working on an alternate WWII:

Operation Flash, Episode 1: Knight’s Gambit Accepted



On March 21, 1943, one man came within a hairbreadth of blowing up nearly the entire Nazi leadership.
In timeline DE1943RG, he succeeded.
Then the conspirators discovered that killing Hitler and his chief henchmen was the *easy* part.*


Rough Music


Pratchett’s “Witches” world was so similar to my own, from jumping over fires to get married (not legal in my day, but there was memory of it) to various local folk superstitions, that it was always a surprise when he pulled something I’d never heard of.

One of these is the “rough music.”

When someone has done just about enough that a small village can no longer put up with him, the men in the village get together and play a barbarous and terrible music as they nerve themselves up for the barbarous and terrible things they have to do.

In Europe — hell, all over the rest of the world —  the rough music is playing.  Just because no one is reporting on this, it doesn’t mean it’s not going on, and growing, and nerving itself up to… something.

The level at which the Gilets Jaunes have been under reported is extraordinary, except that it hasn’t stopped the uprising either.

(And now I think about it, how much do we see in main stream news about Hong Kong? And it hasn’t stopped the uprising either.)

To those of you who haven’t been to Europe recently (as locals, not tourists) and don’t have family there, there are things to remember:

1- Europe is weird in terms of blogs and alternate news media.  They might read ours — some do — but blogs never really took off in Europe as a source of news.  Even here, we’re at most 50%.  Maybe a little more if you count that news filter in.  People talk at the water cooler, whatever.  More on this later.  BUT in Europe this doesn’t exist.  Mostly the news they get including the news from here are third hand via our media and whatever crazy alien clown they’re getting their spin from.

2- Europe is about 20 years “ahead” of us on the road of what a friend of mine calls the Brahamandarins taking over.  The internationalist left has been in full command since the nineties. They never had a Reagan (Thatcher sort of kind of held off the tide briefly, but only in one country.)  There was no eighties prosperity. Hell, slick Willie was to the right of their right. Obama is about center of their politicians, including his loathing for the country he governed.

3- Europe is in trouble BAD.  The government has betrayed the people to the extent of making it almost impossible for rural populations to live with any dignity; for people to afford having families; for people to be safe in their lives, pursuits and possessions.  No, I mean to a level you guys don’t comprehend.  Imagine if the Obama years had lasted for 30 years now, and he controlled all the media, all the judges and most of the law enforcement.

And Europe has had just about enough.  Things like Brexit and the Yellow Jackets filter through here, in the alternate news sources.  I wonder how much else is going on, we have not a clue about.  The fact we know about the Yellow Jackets at any level is bizarre enough, given that they are — media and internet wise — living in the eighties.

So, let’s talk about the rough music.  Sure, you can hear it. I can hear it too. The stomp and the drumming can be heard all over the world.

That which can’t go on, won’t.

But I implore you to stop and think: if the rough music plays, what comes after?

There might be no hope for Europe, but Europe’s… ah…. how do we put this? Europe’s tenets, their stand before the world, an improvement as they were on everything before them, are not ours.

Even in Europe I suspect when this bursts — and there it will burst.  The elites flaying and screaming is only making it worse — you’re going to see things that will make you wonder why on Earth good American boys died in WWII.  Because we’re about to get National Socialism, the sequel.  National because they’re getting tired of the international elites (and who isn’t) and socialism because the poor bastards have not experienced anything else their entire adult lives.

It will happen. It is necessary. The EU was probably one of the most bizarre ideas in the history of bad ideas. The way it’s run which essentially steals the franchise from ordinary people was just the old style “good families” coming back into power through a back door.

But what comes after will probably be horrific. If we’re all lucky it will also be briefish and like France after the revolution they’ll find their way to something slightly less insane.  With or without Napoleon and Europe wide war?  Ah… that’s where we need to talk.

First however, let me say that hearing the rough music from the rest of the world is starting to echo here.  We see what’s going on there. And we hear strange and stupid stuff, like the “whistleblower of the day” and an impeachment without voting and of course, pancake-gate.

Faced with that kind of behavior you obviously think “It’s insane.” And “We have to stop it.”

But there is something you’re missing.  There’s the good news.

The first good news, of course, is that Trump won in 2016.  it was bloody impossible. The fraud was unbelievable. But he still won.

And in the midterms — yes, they won the house, but think about it — the fraud was UNBELIEVABLE. Literally. Banana republics were laughing at our random keeping of polling stations open, of weird shenanigans with votes down in FL and of whatever the heck the chick in Georgia thought she was doing.  And they won… the house.  And not with a rushing majority.

Do you know why they’re going insane?  Because they hear the rough music too. And they know that they probably can’t cheat enough to win in November 2020 or even keep the house. And they’re desperate.  And none of their increasingly crazier gambits are sticking.

For years, they were a gerbil kept in the controlled environment of left information-complex. They could pull the right lever, and things went their way.

Arguably the last time this worked for them was making an infelicitous but in no way bad phrasing of Romney’s into a threat on women. “Women in binders.”  Of course he meant women resumes were in binders, and he was signaling that he hired women but they made this sound like he somehow wanted to put women in binders. And crazy leftists all over were repeating this, as if it even meant something.

They threw everything in, they burned all their credit to get Obama elected.  If they could they’d have made him the new FDR/JFK/Hero president of the left forever.  They couldn’t.  They couldn’t make Summer of Recovery fly. They couldn’t even make Michelle Obama fly as a fashion icon.  (Arguably, she didn’t help them.)  They burned everything they had. They pressed that button to deliver their progressive pellet and nothing happened.

And then they got everything and everyone, including probably controlling who the right chose, so that Hillary would have “her turn.”

… and it didn’t work.

But worse, the things they keep trying to do keep not working, including the “we’re really going into a recession NOoooooow”

Worse, traps they lay for Trump ensnare their own guys.  See #metoo.

Yes, the left hears the rough music playing.  But the rough music they hear, right now, is coming from ballot boxes.

Understand, everything they’ve done to us so far can be undone.  Part of their madness is how much of Obama’s “legacy” Trump has quietly dismantled while they chase crazy stuff like the totally bizarre impeachment.

Worse, they’re being unmasked, repeatedly, in public.  Look, guys, I’d been hearing about the Lolita express and Clinton since the early 2000s on the blogs. I didn’t even believe it. It was too fantastic. How would he keep that quiet.  And then it exploded.  And then Jeffrey Epstein died in a way no one in America really believes was “unforced suicide.”

And yes, there’s a feeling there’s a sluice of sewage down there, and it’s splashing most of the left.  They’re keeping it quiet, sort of, but people know.  You can’t unknow this stuff. And this was something that five years ago most people would have thought you were crazy for bringing up.

Then there’s Ukraine.  I don’t know what they thought they were playing at. But what it keeps exposing is massive corruption in a widening circle, and Chinese influence too.

So– They hear the rough music at the ballot box.

Anyone else wonder why it’s starting this early?  Why because they fear NEXT YEAR’s October surprise and are trying to defang it now.  How bad can it be, to start a year ahead.

And you can see how worried they are by how social media has been trying to censor things (though interestingly, this last month has been less weird, perhaps because there are inquiries being made.)  And by their sudden and bizarre sallies against… FREE SPEECH.  Yep. They’re actually coming out, publicly, against the first amendment.  yes, we know they’ve always controlled speech in their enclaves. But it’s not working. And now all they can do is scream “But I want you to shut up” and “Mr. Policeman, make them shut up.”  This is not a position of CONFIDENCE.

In the same way, they’ve been flapping jaws about a living constitution since I was an exchange student. This is the first time they’re coming out as being AGAINST the Constitution. (Admittedly, Obama started it.)

No, this isn’t good. It makes everything feel very unstable.  And it makes people on our side scream “Get them, before they get us.”

But the best thing we can compare this to is the lancing of a boil.  It looked prettier and healthier while the pus was under the skin.  But it would have killed us.

It would have come to the point where there was nothing else we could do but don yellow vests, and take to the streets.

Fortunately things happened.  Okay, mostly the internet, which they keep thinking they can control, but which keeps blowing up on them.

It’s to cry — with laughter — a hundred years of marching to the institutions, and the AV geeks are beating them.  It’s like the USSR being brought up by copiers and typewriters.

And it’s something to remember.

Totalitarianism cannot endure, not long term, with widespread peer to peer communication and the ability to communicate freely and for free across the country and across the world.

China, you say? Yeah, Hong Kong might still end badly. But that it’s lasted this long, in open defiance? It is a sign.  And it is not a sign the despots are winning.

Will we have to do it? Will it come to it?

I hope and pray it won’t. I’ve said before “be careful, be prepared.”  I’m hoping it won’t come here.  We do after all have the internet. And Trump. And if you think that makes no difference, you haven’t been awake the last two years and change. They have yellow jackets. We have a Trump. (And does his name not make you wonder if G-d is a novelist?)

The rough music might come here.  I can envision stuff like really, really obviously faked-up elections that we can’t even begin to pretend we don’t see, and trying to cram someone like Lizzy Warpaint or Kamel the Harris down our throats.  Or worse. I can imagine our government actually physically divided, with the House attempting to outright arrest the president solely on their say so.

Any of these things will send up the balloon.  And look, dollar stores have yellow jackets. It’s not a bad idea to stock up.

But Trump has a way of coming up with twists no one saw, twists that avoid the worst possible things…  And I’m hoping he keeps doing that.

Because guys, if the rough music comes here, it’s going to be ugly, and it’s going to burn short but hot.  And there’s no telling what emerges.  No, seriously, you don’t know.  You might wish to fight till we have the real constitutional republic, but remember the young in military age never learned civics.

You toss that dice, you don’t know what happens after.

And it’s not just us. The rough music is already playing in the rest of the world. To the extent things haven’t gone completely and bizarrely insane — in the paint the room red  sense — it’s because there is the US. And they can’t read us. They have no idea what we’ll do.

To an extent, despite our refusing open involvement, we’re what’s keeping the protesters in Hong Kong alive. We’re what’s keeping the antifa-like elements of the yellow jackets (not most of them, but an element) from turning this into just a pillage and rob expedition resulting in who knows what.  I don’t know what our influence is in the rest of the world, but I’d bet it’s not negligible.

We’re the one sane guy, holding the gun, and watching the rest of the room burst out into inanity.  To the extent the world isn’t drowning in blood, it’s because we’re here, we’re functional, and people are afraid to get our attention.  Not to mention tariffs or not, we’re their best customer.

If we down into the ululating madness, there’s more than a good chance the rest of the world does too.  There’s a good chance we’ll wake from any donnybrook we engage in, in whatever form we wake up, to find the world is Chinese. Which would spell the end of Western civilization and pull us into the cycle of “always burning books and restarting history” China plays.

Even with a best case scenario, do you want the US facing a world-Chinese Empire?  How long do we keep the republic then?

And even if everyone emerges and the Chinese don’t have the strength to become a world power (who knows?) we’ll have lost twenty or thirty years and countless wealth and lives.  And what emerges will be …. possibly very bad.

It might be unavoidable. And if we get to it, there’s nothing left but to fight valiantly.

The balloon could go up.

And yet it’s better for everyone if it doesn’t. It’s better for everyone if America keeps at least the appearance of a constitutional republic while we clean house and reset onto a better course.

It’s better if the rough music never plays, if the mob never has to deal with things in the only way the mob knows how to do it.

Trust me, exposure will still destroy most of these people, in everything that is worth it to them. Even if not one of them goes to jail, we’ll still have won a duel to the pain.  (And don’t be sure they won’t go to jail.)

For years now I’ve been telling you: in the end we win they lose.  Things are already headed that way. Which is already a miracle given how much control they’ve for 100 years.

What you can do right now is speak up, expose the nonsense, not let them hide.

The time for fighting might come.  But it might not.  At least not physical fighting.  Keep in mind what we’re doing is not without dangers.  And some of us have already paid a heavy price.

I can’t tell at this point if it’s better or worse for the republic if the left loses its mind faster. On the one hand, beware the wounded bear.  On the other hand a spooked enemy — as we’re learning — fights badly.

Don’t let up now.  Come out come out wherever you are, if you can at all. They fear our exposure of their misdeeds more than they fear our (right now) ineffectual physical violence.

Be prepared, but for now, just be aware.  And don’t back down.

Stand your ground.