Friday, October 21, 2016

A Brief Personal Tirade From A Hungry Reader

     I’m a writer of fiction, as anyone who’s glanced at the sidebar will already know. But I’m also a reader of fiction, and not merely because I need to “keep up with the competition.” Reading is my principal pleasure. I read between 150 and 250 full-length novels each year. When I don’t have any satisfactory reading material available, I get grouchy and difficult to be with.

     (Yes, yes, I’m no great pleasure to be with even when I do have good reading material available, but the lack of it seriously exacerbates the syndrome. Actually, it’s worse than that: I start doing ill-considered things. Why, just yesterday, faced with a total dearth of enticing but unread books, I went out and bought a television. So the condition threatens more than my sociability.)

     There are a number of immediate disqualifiers that will cause me to toss aside a book from anyone, regardless of all other considerations:

  • A tired premise, or reliance on over-exploited elements (e.g., vampires, zombies);
  • An obvious lack of writing skill, especially with regard to fundamentals;
  • Preachiness, especially overt religious or political polemics;
  • A “never ending” design that promises an endless series of sequels.

     The overused-premise problem is particularly acute. Some of the most popular writers on Earth commit that sin with every novel. As “popular” implies “selling a lot of books” and therefore “making a lot of money (for a writer),” those writers inspire emulators. This is a violation of good marketing. You want to differentiate your product. You don’t want to pitch your wares in a market segment overflowing with competitors, especially highly regarded competitors. You want to go where there’s little or no competition: where your chance of becoming a standout will be greatest.

     As for writing skill, I’m not talking about the ability to spin verbal arabesques that would turn Joyce or Faulkner green with envy. I mean attention to the low-level details of the trade:

  • Viewpoint control;
  • “Show, don’t tell” characterization;
  • Detail inconsistency;
  • After all else, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

     Innumerable writers “head-hop” from paragraph to paragraph...even from sentence to sentence (if, indeed, they bother to write in sentences). They’ll also tell you, direct from narrator to reader, about what values their protagonists cherish and what motivates them in every scene. And no small number, whether out of parsimony or penury, fail to engage an editor who would detect inconsistencies in matters such as characters’ names and miscellaneous details of their ages, backgrounds, and exploits.

     Preachiness has become an especially irritating problem, largely because of the domination of Pub World – i.e., the “above-ground,” conventional world of publishing that produces books the New York Times might deign to review – by that contemporary phenomenon called “political correctness.” As Arthur Herzog has told us, cant elicits counter-cant. Thus, with the emergence of the independent writers’ movement, we see a great many who regard their newfound freedom as a license to preach, with emphasis on what the “social justice warriors” who rule Pub World would censor as heresy or blasphemy. But people read fiction principally to be entertained and diverted. If your principal reason for writing is to produce polemics, you shouldn’t be writing fiction.

     Finally for this emission, the trend toward series. The writers of popular series, in which a protagonist or small group thereof go from book to book confronting ever-greater challenges to their prowess, have made a great impression on the world of fiction. They’ve dramatized an important truth about popular fiction: An attractive protagonist with whom readers can identify is a powerful asset in acquiring a loyal readership. But they’ve also rubbed a sore spot in writers’ psyches: the terrible difficulty of creating such protagonists.

     Series protagonists seem to be everywhere these days. The mystery writers, of course, made the series protagonist their bread and butter long ago: Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, C. D. James’s Adam Dalgleish, Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone, Sarah Paretsky’s V. I. Warshovsky, and Bill Pronzini’s “Nameless Detective” are fine examples. But the mystery field has special requirements and a unique readership. What works there can become tedious and off-putting in other sorts of stories, especially if the writer lacks sufficient creativity to devise new and challenging situations for his hero to conquer.

     Lately, what’s irked me most greatly about series writing is the suggestion that I must follow the series with no promise of eventual closure. The series gives no hint of when it might come to an end. I’ll grant that some stories need more than a single episode to be properly told; who could imagine, for example, John Conroe’s exceptionally creative Demon Accords stories being reduced to a single volume? But purveying an open-ended series gives your fiction a strong hint of “planned obsolescence” – and that, Gentle Reader Who Writes, is something no one wants to return from its grave, Apple’s marketing strategy notwithstanding. (I am of the firm opinion that Apple’s customer base, especially the ones who buy the latest model iPhone every year, is a “cult.”)

     So for the moment at least, I seek books:

  • That exhibit genuine originality, especially in their premises and principal elements;
  • Whose authors display proper respect for the rules of storytelling and English;
  • Who don’t preach their religious, economic, social or political convictions;
  • And who bring their BLEEP!ing stories to a BLEEP!ing end!

     Don’t disappoint me, Indie Writers. I have a television and I’m willing to use it! Though that has its drawbacks, too...

Election 2016 in a nutshell.

This is the best, most concise statement of the issues in the 2016 presidential contest:
So there we have it people. The debates are over and the choice has never been more clear...

If you feel that America is doing just fine, both domestically and internationally and all that is needed is more of the same; vote for her.

But if you think the previous eight years have accelerated America's decline, both at home and abroad and that a new direction is needed; vote for him.

If you feel that the biggest national dept in history is nothing much to worry about and that America can continue to borrow it's way into further debt indefinitely; vote for her.

But if you think that America needs to tackle its unprecedented debt by insisting its economic rivals cease protecting their own markets by cynically manipulating the value of their own currencies and start playing on a level playing field; vote for him.

If you feel that entering into endless proxy conflicts abroad is a great use of your most cherished national asset - the brave Men and Women who serve in your military; vote for her.

But if you think that American service Men and Women should only ever be used to protect America's direct interests and that other nations who rely on America's protection should contribute to the cost of that protection; vote for him.

If you feel that mass illegal immigration from the third world and all the adverse social deprivations associated with it, is good for America; vote for her.

But if you think that America should cease its policy of mass immigration from the third world until it can provide sufficiently for the people who are already in the country. And that America should finally start enforcing its existing laws on illegal immigration; vote for him.

If you feel that vilifying your law enforcement officers and whipping up racial tensions, in already gang infested and drug riddled inner cities, has made them better places to live; vote for her.

But if you think the people who live in America's cities deserve to be protected by strong and respected law enforcement agencies. And that the gang-crime that blights many of those cities needs to be tackled and tackled hard; vote for him.

If you feel that allowing your industries to sack their American workers and move to third world countries to take advantage of slave labour and then sell their goods back to you, without penalty, is an acceptable economic policy; vote for her.

But if you think that encouraging industries to remain within America and penalising those that try the slave foreign labour route will be good for America and American workers; vote for him.

If you feel that continuing to operate international trade agreements which allow your economic rivals to restrict your exports to them while they are allowed to flood your markets with there goods is wise or even economically sustainable; vote for her.

But if you think that the international trade agreements America is currently operating were poorly advised and have, in large part, contributed to America's economic decline and must be revisited, revised and redrafted so as to benefit America's economy rather than building up the economies of its rivals; vote for him.

If you feel that it is wise to ignore the fact that America's core values are under violent attack from people who obtained their vicious hatred of those values from the teachings of Islam. And that it is some how morally wrong to even mention the phrase "Islamic Terrorism" for fear of offending somebody's misplaced sensibilities; vote for her.

But if you think that America should acknowledge that many of the teachings of Islam are incompatible with the freedoms it holds dear, including equal rights for gays and women, and that people suspected of favouring such teachings should not be allowed into the country unchecked; vote for him.

If you feel that America's declining influence on the world stage and the continued disrespect and contempt America is now held in by many of its international rivals is something to be proud of; vote for her.

But if you think that America should prioritise forging alliances with nations who show it mutual respect and share its core values, and that are fighting against the same scourge of Islamic Terrorism America is fighting. While disengaging from nations that are openly disrespectful and that have values that are morally abhorrent to those your forefathers made so much effort to establish; vote for him.

If you feel that it is fine to be ruled by career politicians who have had to beg, steel and borrow hundreds of millions of dollars from self-interested groups to fund their political careers. Groups that naturally expect a return on their investments; vote for her.

But if you think that America has been poorly served by its political class - of both hews - for the past several decades and that the political system its self, has become so reliant on obtaining donations from self-interested groups, that now no person of integrity could ever make it into office. And if you believe that electing bought and payed for puppet politicians has cost America dearly and that only a self funded candidate can break the cycle of corruption; vote for him.

If you feel that a career politician who has become rich from so called 'public service' is likely to keep their promises 'this time' despite the countless empty and broken promises of their past. And that it's acceptable for a politician to justify their many mistakes, lies and let-downs buy merely laughing them off as "miss-steps" "brain freezes" or "miss-speaks"; vote for her.

But if you think that it is time to wrestle the reigns of power away from the people who have lead America into the mess in which it now finds itself and to give a chance to a non-politician, a proven employment creator with a solid record of business success, and who has brought up a beautiful family who love and respect them, a winner in every sense of the word and someone who obviously loves their country; vote for him.

Comment by Brexiteer on "Rigging Elections." By Steve Sailer, Taki's Magazine, 10/19/16.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Election 2016: The Meat And Potatoes

     Two other writers have found the concision "sweet spot:"

     “Donald Trump has his faults, but Hillary Clinton is far too corrupt to serve as President of the United States.” -- John Hinderaker

     “In any society, the chief magistrate's first duty is to uphold the law, and throughout human history his easiest temptation, once in office, has been to regard himself as above it. In this case, the American people would be electing someone who, not yet in office, is already above the law, and way beyond it. (Even her bodily fluids are above the law.) That would be an extraordinary act, and Hillary and her cronies would be entirely justified in treating such an electorate with utter contempt.” -- Mark Steyn

     Verbum sat sapienti.

The Third Debate

     A couple of news sites called it the “rubber match,” which I feel is unnecessarily disrespectful to the game of contract bridge (if not to rubbers). I declined to watch it, as:

  1. I simply can’t take any more of this campaign,
  2. There was a N.Y. Rangers hockey game to watch;
  3. If I’d turned it on, the CSO might have divorced me.

     Moreover, the comments I’ve read so far this morning suggest that I wouldn’t have heard anything I don’t already know. For example, consider this comment by a fellow participant at

     WARNING! Americans! Be on the lookout for toddlers - most of them will try to shoot you if they get a chance.

     It seems that comment was stimulated by a Hillary Clinton rant about the safety of “toddlers” in response to the subject of firearms rights and gun control. (It’s not reported whether she said anything about the menace of rolling wheels of cheese.) Clearly, the woman’s cognitive deterioration is nearing its terminus. It’s a wonder she didn’t start “speaking in tongues” in the middle of the affair.

     I am more firmly persuaded than ever that this election must be about character.

     I’ve said it before, and I’ll stand by it: The idea of a President Donald Trump displeases me. He’s excessively vulgar – and that’s coming from one who can swear the barnacles off an aircraft carrier. (It’s genetics, albeit in the Lamarckian mode. I’m the son of a Navy veteran whose every third word was some variation of fuck.) He’s too quick to “shoot from the lip,” which the United States can’t afford in its presence among the nations. He’s also prone to making promises he fails to keep. But there are certain realities to be respected, for which reason I’ll be voting for him anyway.

     First, at least a quarter of the votes that will be cast on November 8 will be for Hillary Clinton “because she’s a woman.” Pudenda politics! Possibly the most disgraceful abdication of the faculty of reason I’ve ever seen. But it will happen – and because it will happen, there is absolutely no possibility of anyone other than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump being elected our 45th president.

     Second, Trump, despite his brashness and vulgarity, is a fundamentally honest man. He’s not a career politician but a businessman: a participant in the marketplace. The marketplace demands honesty. It seldom rewards deceit, and never rewards it long-term. It is now a matter of irrefutable, impeccably-documented fact that Hillary Clinton is a felon by the laws of this nation, regardless of whether she’s ever brought to trial for her crimes.

     Third, if there’s a national imperative before Americans today, it’s the need to repudiate the political Establishment. The kingmakers in the two major parties think they own this country. They feel the most profound contempt for the private citizenry. They collude more often than they compete. And nothing matters to them more than maintaining their positions, power, and perquisites. The only practical way to deal them the blow across the chops they deserve is to elect Donald Trump.

     And that settles it.

     I’m not looking forward to Election Day. There are too many possibilities for an unpleasant surprise. Besides, I’ll be following the returns alone that evening, as the CSO will be out of town. Perhaps I’ll cushion the inevitable blows with a program of Cheez Doodles (pyramid level 4) and Harvey’s. I can’t imagine a better way to attain the invaluable “fuck it all” mental state required to endure the American political process in this year of Our Lord 2016.

     Of one thing I am utterly certain: Private Americans’ ongoing disaffiliation from politics, the legal system, and the orations of the political elite will continue. It might accelerate sharply, depending on the election and its sequels. But for that, we must wait and see.

     Don’t lose heart.
     Keep faith with liberty and justice.
     Keep faith with your fellow Americans.
     And above all else, keep faith with yourself.


     The CSO works with several distinct orders of Catholic nuns. As we were watching a hockey game last night, I had a stray thought:

     FWP: Say, do the nuns you work with ever ask about one another?
     CSO: You mean like, “How are things going with those other women?”

     FWP: Yeah, like that.
     CSO: No, but the orders are close. Individual sisters ask about sisters in another order all the time.

     FWP: But no competition?
     CSO: What would they compete over? Donors?

     FWP: Maybe over some highly rated postulant or novice. You know, “We’ll give you two first-round draft choices and a sister to be named later for Mary Smith.”
     CSO: Uh, no. But it would liven things up.
     FWP: Especially around the trading deadline.
     CSO: Yeah.

     I doubt she’ll suggest it to them. (Can you imagine the draft procedures?) But maybe she should.

Trump's eternal accomplishment.

So both parties are complicit in the dilution of native sovereignty. Reminds me of what Khrushchev said about our supposedly two-party system: "It's six of one and a half dozen of the other."

Anyway if Trump loses the election, he'll at least have some satisfaction in exposing the Republican Party for the two-faced fellow travelers they are, working hand-in-glove with Cultural Marxists to transform Amerika into a polyglot pot of feuding ethnic, sexual, and religious groups. . . .
Comment by jivemi20 on "Rigging Elections." By Steve Sailer, Taki's Magazine, 10/19/16.

Repeopling America.

The more Democrats realized they could obtain permanent hegemony not by winning over the American people, but by repeopling America, the more they denounced rational inquiry into the merits of immigration. If you read the WikiLeaks transcript of what Hillary secretly told the smart guys at Goldman Sachs about immigration policy for $225,000, you’ll notice it’s just the same lowbrow tripe you hear everywhere else about how immigration is who we are.
"Rigging Elections." By Steve Sailer, Taki's Magazine, 10/19/16 (emphasis added).

Compare this with Democrat betrayal today.

It’s fascinating to reread Democrats debating immigration a couple of decades ago because the intellectual quality of their arguments was so much higher back then. The “huddled masses” schmaltz tended to be a neoconservative Republican specialty in the later 20th century, while Democrats asked each other hardheaded questions about how more immigration would help blacks and union members.[1]
Republicans are just as bad now.

They all hide their betrayal behind the mantra of comprehensive immigration reform, namely, amnesty. And the "highest value" garbage.

[1] "Rigging Elections." By Steve Sailer, Taki's Magazine, 10/19/16 (emphasis added).

Democrats and foreigners and the rigging our elections.

Ironically, the most far-reaching scheme to rig this and future American elections isn’t being plotted in the Kremlin (as Hillary Clinton and the ruling media warn). Nor is it being hammered out in K Street offices by lobbyists, Democratic operatives, and their press counterparts (as Donald Trump suggests).

Instead, Democrats and their auxiliaries in the media routinely boast of their dream of turning America into a one-party state through changing who gets to vote in American elections.

Strikingly, this vast conspiracy to dilute the sovereignty of American voters by inviting in ringers from abroad is not covered up, nor even excused as aggressive-but-legal political hardball.

Instead, the dilution of the voting power of American citizens is praised lavishly as representing the highest value of “who we are as Americans.”

"Rigging Elections." By Steve Sailer, Taki's Magazine, 10/19/16 (emphasis added).

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Dept.

     A few prefatory comments: I like Canada. Really I do. I also like Canadians, at least the ones I’ve encountered in my various professional and personal travels. They’re pleasant people, a bit overly prone to forelock-tugging, but hey, Americans tend toward the opposite fault, so what the hell. But they do some really strange things up there:

     An out-of-control five-kilogram wheel of aged farmhouse cheddar is being blamed for breaking an infant's leg in a B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit arising from a Whistler cheese-rolling competition.

     In a notice of civil claim filed by her guardian, Juli Nonaka claims she was injured on Blackcomb Mountain in August during the ninth annual running of the Great Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival.

     "As the plaintiff was watching the event from behind a safety net on the premises, a cheese wheel came rolling down the hill and stretched the safety net colliding with the plaintiff, causing her to be knocked to the ground and sustain injury, loss and damage," the claim reads.

     I don’t go looking for this stuff. Honestly, I don’t. But it finds its way to me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

News Or Noise?

     These days, that’s a frequently asked question, just about regardless of what news subject is under discussion. But now and then it becomes unusually urgent.

     Has anyone else seen this, which is purported to come from Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly?

     If it reflects reality to any degree, November 8 could deliver a stunning surprise to the whole world. But does it reflect reality?

     UPDATE: Esteemed Co-Contributor Scott Angell has found it:

Poll Vaults

     Yes, yes, I’m sure that title has been used before. I like it anyway.

     I’ve been concentrating on matters fictional for the past few weeks, as my regular Gentle Readers could tell from my recent emissions. That choice of focus has had two conspicuous results:

  • For the first time in far too long, I’ve actually finished something substantial;
  • My overall mood and outlook on life are better than they were previously.

     So I’m dubious about whether I should pay much attention to the election or any of its peripheral phenomena. But duty calls in a voice of iron.

     Political pollsters are a lot like other kinds of consultants: They do their level best to produce “results” that will please the man who pays them. In the case of opinion surveyors, the end to be attained is one that will persuade the client that what he’s saying or doing is popular. In the great Robert C. Townsend’s memorable phrase, they borrow your watch to tell you what time it is...and then walk off with it.

     Polls about the upcoming presidential election are “all over the place,” specifically with regard to short-term opinion swings. They disagree as wildly as I’ve seen surveys disagree in decades. The ones being conducted by supposedly disinterested professional polling organizations have exhibited no more stability than the ones openly paid for by the candidates and their respective parties.

     Is there anything to be gleaned from this? I’m not sure. The only certainty is that for as long as political conflicts will continue, the pollsters will do their damnedest to persuade their audiences that they’ve got their most sensitive digits on its pulse. Oh, and their fees will go up, too.

     Among Donald Trump’s allegiants are many who like him for his bluntness. A penchant for bluntness always comes at a price, of course: the likelihood that one will at some point say something he really should have kept to himself. The “Grab her by the pussy” foofaurauw is a perfect example.

     I have a little of that myself. It’s been the cause of quite a high percentage of the conflicts in my life. But I’d rather be known as someone who speaks his mind plainly and somewhat fearlessly than for a milquetoast afraid of ever “offending” if never giving “offense” were possible in our hypersensitive age.

     The harping of the Democrat-friendly media, and their affiliated polling organizations, on the “Grab her by the pussy” episode and on the subsequent flood of women “coming forward” to accuse trump of Neanderthal behavior toward them, powerfully illustrates the dynamic I mentioned above. People – except for Establishment figures determined to see Trump defeated – weren’t reacting to the “Grab her by the pussy” schtick the way those media wanted. Their paid pollsters knew it, and could see the probable consequences for their future employability. So they beat the bushes in search of incidents that would substantiate their “Trump treats women with contempt” message. A few women with less sense than is good for them have agreed to assist.

     However, due to objective refutations of the majority of the accusers and the outpouring of testimony from women of great beauty to the effect that “Trump was always a perfect gentleman toward me,” those attempts to prick popular opinion have failed as well. The opinion swings the pollsters wanted to see have been far smaller than they liked. So they knew they needed another tactic.

     Opinion polling depends on sample selection and the design of survey questions. Not enough attention is paid to either consideration, but at the moment the more important one is sampling.

     Let’s imagine that a pollster wants to produce a result that his Democrat-aligned client will look upon with pleasure. (Not hard, is it?) How should he engineer his sample toward that end?

  1. He should attempt to over-represent:
    • Unmarried women;
    • White-collar workers;
    • Government employees;
    • Atheists and agnostics;
  2. ...but under-represent:
    • Married women, especially married mothers;
    • Blue-collar workers;
    • The self-employed;
    • The religious, especially Christians.

     The resulting demographic balance will almost always favor the Democrats. But we’re not quite done yet. Will the persons in the sample vote? A few further questions are required:

  1. “Are you registered to vote?”
  2. “Have you voted in the last N elections?”
  3. “Do you expect to vote in the upcoming election?”

     These allow the pollster to make certain representations about “registered voters” and “likely voters.” To reinforce the seeming probity of the result, the pollster will attempt to contrive a sample whose party-affiliation proportions replicate those in the general populace.

     The opportunities for a palmed card here are several:

  • Does the pollster use voter registration lists to select his sample, or does he rely on what the persons surveyed tell him?
  • What is the “best” value of N for the pollster’s purposes, and should the answers to the question be treated as sincere and accurate?
  • The answers to the third question are usually probabilistic: “Certain,” “Very likely,” “Somewhat likely,” etc. Which groups should the pollster aggregate into “likely voters?”

     Moreover, we encounter the “toothbrushing trap” here. Our dentists tell us we should – must, really – brush at least twice a day, and preferably after every meal. Surveys of brushing habits regularly suggest that that we’re doing as we’re told...even though most Americans only brush once a day, shortly after rising from their slumbers. Despite the absence of consequences from that “disfavored” answer, people are loath to “look bad” by giving it. (Of course, when there are possible consequences – consider the polls that preceded the 1990 Nicaraguan election that elevated Violeta Chamorro over Daniel Ortega – the answers will be biased heavily in favor of the ones likely to reap the result the customer would prefer.)

     Pollsters know all of this – and use it.

     There’s much more to be said about polling and why one should always approach the result of an opinion poll with caution, but that’s enough for the moment. The most important message is plain: There’s a variety of techniques by which pollsters can engineer the result they desire. In the usual case, the desired result is dictated by the source of the pollster’s funding. So be on your guard: not too ready to believe, and ever on the alert for indications that all is not what it seems.

     “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Call For Test Readers

     I have a (hopefully) happy announcement:

Statesman is complete in first draft.

     I need two test readers to proofread it and note any problems of timing, plot consistency, and plausibility. For maximum reading pleasure and best proofing results, those test readers should have read the previous Onteora Canon / Realm of Essences novels.

     Any takers?

     UPDATE @3:35 PM: I now have four willing test readers, which should be adequate. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, including all those who were about to volunteer but hadn't yet "pulled the trigger." I appreciate your generosity.

Status Report

     This one comes from A Nod To The Gods:

     Being a good American assumes a moral code of conduct, a trust that my neighbors won’t break into my house, won’t harm my family, and won’t get in the way of my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s been a moral standard that has served America well for 240 years. That contract has been breached by the very people who should be held to the highest standard of that code.

     There are no laws.

     The author lays out a strong case for his contention. Please read it all.

     Law in the American conception applies equally to all, without regard for anyone’s “protected status.” Neither can it be set aside at the whim of a “ruler.” Yet both those premises and many others have been set aside during the Obama years. Will these obscenities be corrected in the forthcoming administrations, or will they continue until the barbarians burn Washington to the ground?

     Choose wisely.

Impact Assessment

     Do you have friends or acquaintances who plan to vote for Hillary Clinton? If you’re too namby-pamby to sneak up behind them and garrote them swiftly and mercifully, insist that they watch the following video:

     If they fail to grasp the significance, they’re stupid and you should avoid them henceforward, as bad things tend to happen to people who voluntarily keep stupid people company. If they try to rationalize their way around the video (e.g., “Oh, every campaign does that”), they’re evil and should be avoided for the sake of your immortal soul.

     I have spoken.

Chaos on the menu.

That Axis of Evil deal always was a head scratcher.
9/11 was the neoconservatives “new Pearl Harbor” that they wrote they needed in order to launch their wars in the Middle East. George W. Bush’s first Secretary of the Treasury said that the topic of Bush’s first cabinet meeting was the invasion of Iraq. This was prior to 9/11. In other words, Washington’s wars in the Middle East were planned prior to 9/11.[1]
This lends some credence to General Wesley Clark's report that a Pentagon general told him a few weeks after 9/11 there were U.S. plans to "take out" Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Iran. The Secretary's report is of something too early and Clark's report is of something too broad (i.e., greater than three countries in the said Axis of Evil). How does this square with the stock version of (just) Afghanistan and Iraq? Was the "Arab Spring" an opportunity to add Egypt to the list?

I've read several articles speculating on the real U.S. objective(s) in the Middle East – Qatar gas pipeline rather than the Iranian one, destabilize Russia and China, etc. Where Syria and Iraq are concerned, I find it credible that the U.S. is, as usual, at the beck and call of Israel and thus helping to keep all potential threats to it at bay by turning nearby countries upside down or slicing them into smaller pieces.

It's a big topic that requires a lot more background knowledge than I have right now. The idea does occur to me, however, that the whole Syrian fiasco and magic act is worthy of sustained and close attention. Like the Spanish Civil War, our unconstitutional war against Syria has a boatload of foreign intervenors and disturbers involved and, as of now, I'll say the lesson that is beginning to slowly rise from the muck is one of U.S. duplicity and reliance on grisly terrorists to do its dirty work.

Be that as it may, it's clear that whatever the U.S. is doing in the Middle East isn't for public consumption. The American public sure as hell isn't in on the plan, which, as I've indicated, is something that is at heart rotten and dishonorable.

[1] "The Real Humanitarian Crisis is Not in Aleppo." By Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearing House, 10/17/16.

Saving ISIS.

Why do we hear only of the “humanitarian crisis in Aleppo” and not of the humanitarian crisis everywhere else in Syria where the evil that rules in Washington has unleashed its ISIL mercenaries to slaughter the Syrian people? Why do we not hear about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen where the US and its Saudi Arabian vassal are slaughtering Yemeni women and children? Why don’t we hear about the humanitarian crisis in Libya where Washington destroyed a country leaving chaos in its place? Why don’t we hear about the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, ongoing now for 13 years, or the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan now 15 years old?

The answer is that the crisis in Aleppo is the crisis of Washington losing its ISIL mercenaries to the Syrian army and Russian air force. The jihadists sent by Obama and the killer bitch Hillary (“We came, we saw, he died”) to destroy Syria are being themselves destroyed. The Obama regime and the Western presstitutes are trying to save the jihadists by covering them in the blanket of “humanitarian crisis.”[1]
You have to weep for this once great nation. Its ruling class has reduced it to supporting ISIS, whose soldiers and leaders make loathsome scum seem like angelic messengers in comparison.

[1] "The Real Humanitarian Crisis is Not in Aleppo." By Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearing House, 10/17/16 (emphasis added).

Monday, October 17, 2016


     Apologies for the lack of a post yesterday. I was busier than the proverbial one-armed paper hanger. I “ran out of gas” before I could settle at the keyboard for my daily emission of bile. However, at the behest of the CSO, we did go to see an excellent if somewhat offbeat movie: The Accountant, starring Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J. K. Simmons, and John Lithgow. I can recommend it unreservedly.

     Now, on to the good (?) stuff.

     As I’ve written on several previous occasions, ours is an era of coalition politics. That is: a political party will be principally concerned with identifying voting blocs it can enlist, by means of bribery or intimidation, in its cause, or at least against “the other side.” What occurred to me yesterday, as I was dealing with, ah, the emissions of certain domesticated animals, is that the very same approach, and the mindset that sustains it, has penetrated the private sector in significant ways.

  • Businesses pitch their wares to specific demographics.
  • Entertainers promote themselves to specific sexes and age brackets.
  • Religious denominations appeal to specific races, sexes, and sexual practices.
  • Sports organizations promote themselves according to race, ethnicity, and quasi-political criteria.

     Yes, it’s been going on for a while. You might even say that it’s the essence of marketing. But the dynamic that propels it is becoming one with the political struggle over the nature and future of these United States.

     The flap over Colin Kaepernick, for example, highlights the National Football League’s targeting of the male American patriot as its principal customer. The NFL wouldn’t be in as deep a dither over Kaepernick if it weren’t for that concentration of its fans. Its problem is exacerbated by the high proportion of black players in the league. Many of them have sided with Kaepernick out of racial solidarity, a phenomenon with tentacles I’ve explored in previous essays.

     It’s possible to see this phenomenon as innocent, merely a kind of specialization comparable to much else in our division-of-labor economy. As you might have guessed, I don’t see it that way.

     Isabel Paterson was vehement in her insistence that corruption issues from the aggregation of political power. Here’s a pointed quote from her best known work, The God of the Machine:

     Now the sole remedy for the abuse of the political power is to limit it; but when politics corrupt business, modern reformers invariably demand the enlargement of the political power.

     As political power has battened upon our once largely free economy, it has created socio-politico-economic niches for the emergence of special interest groups. I hardly need to enumerate the most prominent ones for the readers of Liberty’s Torch. What’s less obvious is the specific appeal the rise of such interest groups, and the coalescence of citizen identification with them, has presented to businesses. Every business has a need to market its products or services. If a business can achieve a substantial improvement in its sales by suggesting to an identified bloc of potential customers that by purchasing its product they can not only benefit themselves but can also benefit their social or political allegiance, it will market accordingly. Moreover, having established that bloc as “one of ours,” it will tend to sculpt subsequent products and services toward that bloc, sometimes in blatant ways: e.g. beauty products’ vendor Paul Mitchell.

     Strictly speaking, there’s nothing amoral about this – certainly nothing criminal. However, it throws a bright light onto the trend in political self-segregation that’s grown strong these past twenty years. Patterns in consumption and patronage have followed our political polarization in detectable ways. One can find them even in politically mixed districts, for example by assessing the cars in residents’ driveways against the ballot results after a quadrennial election.

     “Keeping up with the Joneses” was once a cant phrase about the advance of envy-powered materialism. Today, the more apt formulation might be “distancing ourselves from the Joneses, those disgusting liberals / conservatives / libertarians / socialists.”

     This might not seem like a problem to some. Perhaps it isn’t one. But it chills me even so. Anything that reinforces the divisions among Americans, inhibiting us from seeing one another as trustworthy and dependable, seems to me a bad thing. There are certainly enough persons and things for us to fear with good reason.

     I get some of this myself. I’m not particularly wealthy, though I am comfortable in my retirement. The CSO and I live modestly, especially for my neighborhood, which is populated mostly by professionals and business owners. (We bought into the area when it was still modestly priced, which makes us not only its longest residents but also “the poor folks in town.”) However, my one luxury indulgence – my Mercedes – has caused me some social difficulty, because I’m a member of a parish in a less-well-off, more left-inclined district. Quite a lot of my fellow parishioners disdain me specifically for that reason.

     I don’t like it. Whatever our political differences, when we’re at Mass we’re all Catholics together. Our concerns should be for our individual souls, the well-being of our neighbors and parish, and the health of the larger Church...which, sad to say, has also been riven by economic and political divisions. It’s very hard to countervail the divisive tendencies when no less a figure than the Pope himself has been aggravating them.

     Just a few Monday-morning thoughts. Feel free to dismiss them if they cause you undue agita, as always. And how was your weekend?

Hypocrisy alert.

Recently the U.S. official pronouncements and MSM propaganda commentary regarding Syrian and Russian military operations in E. Aleppo have involved much breast beating and crocodile tears about civilian casualties.[1]

Assad is particularly criminal for his forces' use of "barrel bombs" which lack the sleek lines, rakish fins, and elegant paint jobs of the bombs that the U.S. planes drop in Syria. These barrel bombs apparently contain shrapnel, which is unheard of in the history of explosive ordnance. (Here are some video clips of barrel bombs being used against civilians, some bombs falling in the vicinity of the positions of "civilians" yelling "Allahu ahkbar" and manning heavy-caliber machine guns [4:20].)

Anyway, this bombing is considered "indiscriminate" and is causing much angst in the ranks of the State Department and Defense Department.[2]

Contrast that with the U.S.-supported Iraqi attack on Mosul that began yesterday. There it's a much different matter as Military Necessity appears to take precedence, and for the civilians still in Mosul it's sauve qui peut, baby. An ex-U.S. Special Forces gentleman was on Fox last night (Kelly?) talking about possible civilian casualties and he made the observation that "we can't tie our hands" beforehand when conducting operations of this kind. That's actually true. The purpose of military operations is to find, fix, and destroy the enemy, not to conduct social welfare campaigns.

Check out this short video of French artillery supporting the attack on Mosul and ask yourself if it's likely that the commander of that unit even knows where ISIS troops can be fired on without injuring civilians. Do you think the safety of civilians in Mosul is his primary concern?

There's a double standard at work here. The U.S. can support heavy, blanket bombing of and artillery strikes on Mosul in support of objectives of which it approves. (I couldn't find video of the rocket launcher barrage from one launcher I saw yesterday. Rocket launchers are area weapons not pinpoint weapons.) Assad and the Russians, however, are war criminals for conducing operations against insurgent military forces in Syrian cities.

Urban warfare is every infantryman's nightmare for the unlimited cover available to the enemy behind every wall or window. Clearing and holding urban real estate is not an exact science conducted with laser beams and algorithms that identify which buildings shelter the enemy. But that exactitude is required only of Syria and Russia. It's an impossible and unrealistic requirement. The breast beating about indiscriminate bombing of civilians and "barrel bombs" is just Academy Award-level fake outrage.

[1] Innocent civilians, of course, as all guilty civilians have already made their unimpeded way from E. Aleppo for the safety of W. Aleppo, where they are shelled by the al-Qaida franchise still in E. Aleppo. We bring clarity to a confusing situation.
[2] FoxNews and CNN emphasize that barrel bombs also fall on wakes, aid centers, refugee camps, and hospitals and deliver chlorine gas. Very possibly true in some instances though verification is in order. (I doubt all attributions of the use of gas to Assad's forces, let it be said.) Note, however, that the issue, even assuming all these civilian casualties (excepting gas casualties), is what standard applies? The video in second paragraph is part of the discussion as well, just as much as the attacks described in this footnote.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Immunization In Progress

     Normally, we speak of immunization in a medical context: when describing the action of a vaccine, or a childhood exposure to some disease that renders him immune to the disease henceforward. However, the process of immunization bears close comparison to other sorts of acclimatizations:

  1. The initial exposure is mild, certainly mild enough to be non-lethal.
  2. Subsequent exposures increase in strength, though they have diminished effects.
  3. At the conclusion, the “patient’s” physiology is thoroughly armored against the “infection:”
    • Sometimes through the emergence of “antibodies” lethal to the invading microorganism;
    • In other cases, through the strengthening of the “patient’s” metabolism.

     Something of this nature is under way as regards the political farce system and the American electorate.

     American politics up to the Civil War was fairly tolerable. Yes, the contestants were in the habit of slandering one another. Yes, they routinely forecast the most dire of consequences should “my opponent” be elected. Yes, the Sturm und Drang was seldom a good match to what actually followed...though a few neo-Copperheads would argue that in at least one instance it was far worse. What’s most salient about that period is that with two exceptions – slavery and import tariffs – the American legal order was a settled matter. Only those subjects carried sufficient emotional heft to evoke genuine, lasting passions.

     After the Reconstruction Era, it appeared for a few years as if the pre-Civil War legal and political order might be restored, or nearly so. Yet it was not to be. The rise of William Jennings Bryan and the decline of the Constitutionalist / proto-libertarian Cleveland Democrats resulted in the destruction of the national consensus. With the addition of our first international fracas since the War of 1812 and the rise of the Bellamyite Socialists, the political stew became too hot for many to eat. The percentage of eligible voters who took part in quadrennial elections began to decline.

     Keep your eye on the voter participation rates if you wish to understand the immunization that was taking place:


     (Sources: Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970 and Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2015)

     Throughout the Twentieth Century, Americans, ever more burdened by federal laws and regulations that wove a constricting web around our formerly free society, disaffiliated themselves from the legal and political order. They kept an eye on it, to be sure, but ever more of them regarded it as a disease, something to hold oneself apart from, “got nothin’ to do with decent folks.”

     There were glitches in the curve, to be sure, usually when a candidate bore less of the patina of the established political class. As the Twentieth Century wore on, the major parties developed tactics by which to suppress such emergent threats to their order. From 1972 until 1992, no true "outsider" to the system achieved enough impact to cause much of a disturbance.

     In 1992, eccentric industrialist H. Ross Perot mounted a credible challenge to Democrat / Republican hegemony. Though his personal quirks resulted in a third-place finish, Perot's showing (19% of the votes cast) was sufficient to alarm and anger the major-parties' kingmakers. The upstart could have fatally upset their calculations. Further measures, centered on media access and the presidential debates, were taken to reduce the probability of a recurrence.

     Until 2015, it appeared that their fortress walls were unbreachable. But then, no one intimate with "the system" could have predicted the rise of Donald Trump.

     Regardless of what happens to Congress, a Trump Administration is unlikely to make much headway against the inertia of the "permanent government:" the millions of Civil Service employees and careerists who really determine how the federal government will interact with the citizenry and private American institutions. If Trump's candidacy is to have a lasting impact on American national politics, it will be by reviving the conviction among private citizens that "the system" is not sealed against them. That might retard the immunization underway against politics, government, and everything related to it.

     On the other hand, we have this reaction:

     The faux-outrage from shitweasels like Ryan only show who the worms are. It’s like watching a 500,000,000-lumen light shining down as the cockroaches scatter.

     Trump could run as the candidate from the Scientology Xenu Collective Party, and he will get my vote.

     Trump could whip his Dugan out and piss in Anderson Cooper’s face on live TV…

     …Still voting for him.

     Enough is enough.

     Trump is harder than woodpecker lips. He ante’d up. He’s all-in. And if he doesn’t win, it will be the biggest failure of his career. Period. The demonization won’t stop if he simply loses.

     He threw down the gauntlet, stepped up to the plate, and has been a thorn in the side to every corrupt plutocrat, every sniveling millennial cockweasel, every social justice sissy, every man-spreading offense-taking-horn-rimmed-glasses-wearing-soon-to-be-spinster-vegan-cat-lady, every TelePrompTer-regurgitating dick-squeezer working for state-run media, every deadbeat-handout-sucking-grifter, every tip-toeing-closeted-pedophile-politician, every crony-corporatist-tax-payer-subsidized-offshoring-swindler, every lowlife-border-serpent coming here to mooch, every Stars-and-Stripes-asswiping-Old-Glory-burning-Communist-cocksmoker; in short, he is an affront to the sensibilities of the worst in America.

     He’s the radical Left’s Antichrist; he is everything they hate about America.

     And he is the last ticket out of this mess.

     Be sure to grasp the core message: It's Trump or Armageddon. Should Trump fail to gain the White House, Americans such as the above will be convinced beyond the possibility of contradiction that "the system" isn't merely closed to them, it's actively hostile to them and doesn't care whether they know it.

     The immunization has progressed past mere invulnerability to the disease. We now have corpuscles eager to go on the attack, even if it means a second Civil War far less "civil" than the first one. Frankly, that warms the cockles of my spiny little heart.

     We're less than four weeks from the climax to the campaign. I'm certain the vituperation and mudslinging will intensify still further. I'm certain there will be further "October surprises," some of which won't be much of a surprise at all. I'm equally certain that the media will only cover the ones it deems favorable to the Establishment Order -- but it will cover each of those as if it were the Second Coming. And I'm completely uncertain of how the final tallies will read.

     Still, isn't this a great time to be alive, an American, and a lover of freedom and justice?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Just Odd News, Or A Harbinger Of Things To Come?

     You may savor the Darwin Awards. You may delight in the Bulwer-Lytton contest. You may giggle over the oddities reported at Cracked. But the “real news” often demonstrates the veracity of that old saw, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

     Take this escapade. The report says that the perpetrator stole...what? $160,000 worth of Jamaican cheese? Really? That much of even very expensive cheese – say, $20.00 per pound – would mass to 8,000 pounds. Four tons of cheese. Moreover, this was a specialty cheese, used in a narrow range of products and seldom sold separately from them. The questions are several and imperative:

  • How did the thief get away with his haul?
  • Did he really expect to escape detection?
  • How did he store it? Surely he didn’t “eat it on the way home!”
  • Most urgent of all: What did he plan to do with it?

     The report linked above speaks to none of that. Rather, it bombards us with a series of little eye-opener news-grenades:

  • The theft occurred:
    1. On September 23;
    2. In New Jersey.
  • The thief was arrested “after a two-week investigation.”
  • The bail was “$10,000 less than the value of the canned, processed cheese.”

     Let’s recap: in New Jersey, the most mob-ridden of the fifty states, an 18 year old decided to brave the wrath of the Jamaicans, well known for their intemperance toward those who wound them, for several tons of cheese. It then took two weeks for the authorities of Bergen County, New Jersey to trace the aroma to the thief’s hiding place – the nature of which was not mentioned in the story, though it would be one of the most interesting things about this event – and when the thief was brought before a judge, the judge assigned a bail less than the value of the items stolen.

     As the kiddie-puzzles printed on family restaurants’ paper placemats ask us, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

     Someone is hiding something here. Does this “cheese” have national-security implications? Is it a component in a super-powerful explosive, perhaps? Or was it ballast for the concealment of a huge shipment of “crack,” another well-known (and very popular) Jamaican product?

     Let’s not neglect the “investigators.” The theft of several tons of “cheese” should leave a slime trail a deaf-dumb-and-blind quadriplegic could follow. Yet it took two weeks to find the perpetrator? Were the detectives of Bergen County, New Jersey somehow limited in their methods, to “make it interesting?” Were they required to conduct their investigation entirely by mail?

     Finally, we have the judge. What’s he hiding? Bail is supposed to be set proportionally to the damage the crime caused or could have caused. But he set the bail at less than the averred valuation of the stolen product. Was he promised some of that cheese? Or did the Jamaicans intervene out of sympathy for a criminal moved by love of one of their specialties?

     Great God in heaven! Stories like this make it easier to believe the police can look at a corpse shot in the back of the head while handcuffed and rule it a case of suicide. Perhaps if the perpetrator had taken the cheese across state lines...but no; the last thing we’d want after the “investigation” into Hillary Clinton’s multiple felonies is FBI involvement. Better to see if the Keystone Kops can be induced to come out of retirement.

     From now on I’m sticking to the Star and Weekly World News. No, no, keep the Enquirer away from me. That organ once ran stories about Bill Clinton and John Edwards that turned out to be accurate. The last thing my delicate psyche needs is more of that.


We are engaged in something in Syria that is rotten and dishonorable.
Those calling for a “No-fly zone” do indeed want to stop the bombs falling on jihadist-held areas of Aleppo. But they want to replace this with NATO dropping a vastly greater weight of vastly more powerful weaponry on areas held by the Assad regime. They are relentless warmongering bastards, pretending to be motivated by humanitarian concern.

There are no easy answers in Syria. Without Russian and Syrian government air power, Syria might well already have fallen to disparate groups of murdering religious fanatics, who would then have redoubled their existing tendency to also kill each other. The pretence that there is any significant number of pro-western democratic rebels is ludicrous nonsense.[1]

Note: Mr. Murray goes on to pan the Assad regime as indecent as well, with which thought I do not agree.

[1]  Retired British career diplomat Craig Murray quoted in "Hillary Clinton Wants to Destroy Syria Just Like Libya. Attempting to enforce a 'no-fly zone' in Syria is a recipe for disaster." By Eric Zuesse, Russia Insider, 10/14/16.

Snipe hunting on the Potomac.

(Question from Sputnik. Something or other is happening somewhere or other in the interstices of the American political machine regarding Syria. But something else is happening somewhere else. What do I think?)

[Armstrong:] The problem with the question as posed is that it assumes that there is somewhere one can find, if only one can dig deep enough, can detect the last vital piece of information, can parse a Delphic utterance, A Plan in Washington about Syria.

"Who’s in Charge in Washington?" By Patrick Armstrong, Russia Observer, 10/10/16.

H/t: Russia Insider.