Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Pension Melt-Down Could be Horrific!

Many teachers' and public employees pensions are heavily invested in foreign companies. Ironically, many of those same pensions refuse to invest in American companies that don't meet their exacting standards for 'PC' Socially Responsible Investing.

Which, if part of my income didn't depend on a teachers' pension plan (actually 2 different plans with 3 income streams - mine and my husband's), might be amusing.

China is, after our tariff imposition, hurting. Not sure if they are hurting bad enough to cause a crash of their markets/companies, but - definitely hurting.
While American investors may unwittingly have their money tied up in Chinese companies, American regulators aren’t allowed to look at their books; Beijing regards them as “state secrets.” U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has introduced legislation to delist companies from American exchanges that fail to meet our accounting and disclosure requirements.
 For this action, and a few others, Rubio should be praised. He's made some good moves while Senator, and seems to have a real future with Conservatives.

Make of This What You Will

I found this on Sarah Hoyt's site, According to Hoyt. Scroll down to the part about Facebook.

If true, this is chilling, and even more reason for breaking up this monopoly before the next election.

Foreseeable Consequences

     Facts that are not frankly faced have a habit of stabbing us in the back. – Sir Harold Bowden

     These days, you have to be old and jaded to endure the news. You have to have calluses over your sensibilities thick enough to defeat a 155mm howitzer shell. And you have to have a sense of humor so twisted that you can make light of virtually anything. (Yes, it also helps to be both devoutly religious and heavily armed.)

     I suppose I’m a lucky man, that way. And let it be said that I need all that “luck,” because my memory is too BLEEP!ing good.

     Some years ago, back when former Drug Czar William Bennett was on the radio, in response to a caller’s question about legalized abortion, he advanced an important moral principle: that economic arguments should not be used to attack or defend morally based positions. Here is the gist of his statement:

     If it were your sole purpose to reduce crime, Bennett said, "You could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.

     "That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down," he added.

     That statement is both mathematically accurate and morally unimpeachable. But a slew of Democrats – especially black Democrats – attacked Bennett for daring to imply that American blacks commit a disproportionate share of crimes. Yet that is a well-verified fact. Indeed, it’s a pattern that has held for decades and still holds today.

     Facts never impede the race-hustlers. Indeed, they blow past them as if they aren’t there. But should you dare to compel them to face an unpleasant fact, you’ll immediately be denounced as – guess what? – a racist.

     If acquaintance with and acknowledgement of the facts makes one a racist, then the facts themselves must be racist. That’s why when one of them calls me a racist – it happens fairly often in this year of Our Lord 2019 – I smile and say “And damned proud of it, baby.”

     I’ve been recommending this course of action to others for a long time now. I predict that it will soon become the majority position among white Americans, if it hasn’t already.

     Have an example from the recent news:

     A tourist was savagely beaten, stomped and spit on by a gang of over a dozen youths at the entrance to the Washington Hilton Hotel around 1 a.m. on July 14, according to Washington, D.C. police who released hotel surveillance video showing the brutal unprovoked attack. The Hilton–located about twelve blocks north of the White House at 1919 Connecticut Avenue and T Street, NW–is a key part of official Washington, playing host to presidents, foreign dignitaries, business and political gatherings including the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. It is also where President Ronald Reagan was shot by a would-be assassin in 1981.

     A “gang of youths” assaulted an innocuous passer-by. It’s been happening quite a lot, lately. So far, it’s just more news noise. But Gateway Pundit provided video – and the video revealed that:

  1. The victim was white;
  2. The “youths” were black.

     Cue the cries and screams of “racism:”

     Uh-oh. Video. That’s a problem, because now everyone can see what the headline writer meant by “gang of youths.” Sure enough, the youths were black, their victim, white.

     The Gateway Pundit story quickly garnered more than 5,000 comments. Trigger Warning! Anyone who ventures into the comment section of a story like this will find himself awash in triggering verbiage. He’ll be in the Grand Central Station of Trigger Town.

     Gateway Pundit has a reasonable set of guidelines for comments. Profanity, racial slurs, and threats of violence are not OK with them. But in this case, it seems the moderators just threw up their hands and cried, “What’s the use?”

     What’s the use, indeed.

     The facts about race in America haven’t just been not “frankly faced;” there have been active attempts to suppress them, mostly by the Democrat Party, the race-hustlers it’s adopted as mascots, and their media handmaidens. Whenever some braver-than-average soul dares to introduce well confirmed statistics about racial disparities in crime, fatherlessness, or educational attainments, some Leftist race-hustler will immediately denounce him as (of course) a “racist,” perhaps with a grace note to the effect that “the police” deliberately target blacks...or in the current formulation, “people of color.”

     It’s all horseshit. It’s been disproved on several occasions, by several organizations independent of one another. I wrote about one of them here. But the notion that American blacks are just as law-abiding as whites – or that if they aren’t, it must be “society’s fault” – has been elevated to a piety no one is allowed to challenge.

     And so today we have:

  • Blatant racial hatred being expressed by black members of Congress and Democrat Party officials;
  • Attempts to foment racial hatred by black state legislators and candidates for state offices;
  • Flash mobs of black “youths” that trash randomly selected stores;
  • “Polar bear hunting” by urban blacks;

     ...and the return of the resolutely all-white neighborhood, into which no black family is permitted, by unsigned and unspoken agreement among the residents.

     I have a young friend who just relocated his family, most expensively, into such a neighborhood, even though he knew ab initio that it would strain him financially for years to come. He regarded it as his duty – and I concur. Protecting those he loves is a man’s first duty.

     All of the above were consequences of allowing blacks to get away with savage and criminal behavior on the grounds of “past injustices.” Moreover, anyone not blinded by political correctness could have predicted all of them. But to admit that white America has tolerated savagery for specious reasons – as if there could be a good reason for tolerating savagery – is considered a hangin’ offense.

     Every now and then I write a monitory story about what I foresee, should current trends continue. Such stories are largely ignored. It’s understandable; mine is a very minor voice, and anyway people prefer not to acknowledge maladies they believe they can’t control. But that doesn’t change the facts. It certainly doesn’t alter what they portend should we continue to treat black lawbreaking, black fathers of illegitimate children, and black race-hucksterism as things we must tolerate uncritically.

     Remember the quote at the top of this essay. And do have a nice day.

Beatles Reference

"All You Need is LOVE".

Right Geek talks about professed WANTS, and deeply felt NEEDS, and how government cannot, should not, give you the latter.

The perspective of the socially awkward is one that should be seen; muffling such not-emotionally warm opinions from the James Damores is one that excludes their input because - they don't express themselves in the "correct" way. Like their way of interacting with the world or not, they have a right to participate in public debates and express their opinions.

But, that's not the Way of the Left - for them, if you don't hold conventional opinions, if you express yourself in non-PC terms, if you open the door to challenging their deeply-held prejudices (such as the idea that men and women are EXACTLY like each other in every way, unless THEY want to emphasize their unique qualities for their own benefit), well, you DESERVE their scorn, hatred, and exclusion from the workplace or other public settings.

I get what she is writing about; I come from a family FILLED with geeky, nerdy, and just plain socially awkward folks. They're good people, just not good at interacting with those outside of the family circle. Part of why I married the man I did is that:

  • He was, and is, comfortable with social interactions, even with strangers
  • He leans towards the extrovert side
  • He helped me to function with the external world with some degree of ease
  • We had STRONG chemistry (hey, it's important!)
I had offers from other geeky men - but I had a strong sense that our children would benefit from "mixing up the gene pool" in terms of emotional and social interactions.

Which they did - all are far less socially isolated and better at emotional interactions than my family. Still lean to the nerd side, but, able to make their way in the world.

Society benefits from input from those who don't go along with the crowd; those people might not express their dissidence in PC ways, but they need to be heard from. Using the heavy hand of government to force them to either conform, or to shut up, is just wrong.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

This Is A BAD Idea, That Only An ID10T Could Have Come Up With

Really. Either incredibly stupid - OR/AND - Treason.

No Return To Politics Yet!

     I’m having too much “fun” to natter about that crap.

     First, thank you to all the Gentle Readers who wrote to compliment me on “Shower Buddies.” It emerged from a burst of inspiration of a sort I seldom get these days. Being “of a certain age,” and prone, as so many of us elderly types can be, to neglecting my deteriorating carcass, I hoped to illustrate in a story what we ought to be doing whether or not we’re aware of it: conserving what assets we have and striving to add to them in an age-appropriate way.

     American women are particularly afflicted in this manner. That stems from a combination of factors, including political, social, and cultural currents with which my Gentle Readers are surely familiar. It doesn’t help that, as Vaia said to Estelle, we go looking in all the wrong places for a sense of value. Value of the non-commercial variety is either innate or non-existent. As we no longer allow human lives to be sold at auction, that’s the only sort of value that matters.

     Do you ever feel worthless, of no importance to anyone...perhaps not even to yourself? It’s likely that you’ve dwelt upon your “value” to others, rather than your inherent value as a child of a loving God. I’ve suffered that exact malady of the spirit from time to time. It’s not easy to dispel.

     Vaia did it for Estelle with soap, water, a few “polishing” implements, and a fresh outfit. But we non-fictional characters are unlikely to have a “Shower Buddies” franchise in the neighborhood. So how do you handle it when the need arises?

     If you own a Fortress, you must expect to be besieged...and we are, quite regularly. The assailants are many and varied. We’ve endured tax assessors, real-estate agents – we’ve been told it’s “unnatural” to live in the same house for thirty-nine years – insurance salesmen, Moonies, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, teens hawking magazine subscriptions, pollsters, political candidates, and burglars...and those are just the human components of the siege. We’ve faced armies of animals, insects, and plants as well. Beating them back requires energy, alertness, and no small amount of money, which is why we’ve been thinking about moving into a high-rise condo. Yes, they’re costly, but they guarantee that the deer won’t eat your shrubs.

     Then there are the Four Elements. Recently I had a vision of the Four mystical Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water casting lots to decide which of them would storm the Fortress to the depletion of your humble Curmudgeon’s bank account. This year, Water has been in the lead. Since the beginning of 2019 we’ve had:

  • Plumbing disasters;
  • Cesspool disasters;
  • Hot tub disasters;
  • Gutter and leader disasters;
  • Water softener disasters;
  • And persistent puddles in the back yard that my dogs seem determined to bring inside.

     We’ve defeated them all, one by one. As of last week I thought we had finally forced Water to surrender, but it appears I was wrong. I discovered very early this morning, in the most direct way, that the outfall line from the washing machine to the cesspool had become plugged.

     It leaves me wondering what life would be like had Earth won the say nothing of Fire. Ah, home ownership, the American dream!

     “Learn something new every day,” proclaim the self-help gurus. It’s good advice. At any rate, it seems to have worked for Solon of Athens. But if your daily routine is invariant, encountering something new enough to provide a memorable lesson might be a rare occurrence.

     I learned something new yesterday. I doubt I’ll ever forget it. When you’ve heard about it, I think you’ll concur about its importance.

     It was 1:00 PM, and I was twenty minutes from getting into Joy to visit my dental hygienist. (Not my favorite sort of diversion, but one does what one must.) Being a considerate sort, I went to the master bathroom to brush my teeth. A hygienist is paid to scrape the tartar off, not the evidence of lunch.

     I had just begun the procedure – yes, I have a procedure; don’t you? – when my nose suddenly started to itch intolerably. So I made to scratch it.

     Yesterday’s lesson: When your nose starts to itch, do not try to scratch it with the hand holding the Braun Oral-B Electric Toothbrush. Especially if it’s running.

     Every so often I revisit Sarah Hoyt’s two columns on the “Human Wave” she hopes to see in contemporary fantasy and science fiction:

     These are important pieces, manifestos for a wave of liberation from the dismal, soul-deadening garbage the SJWs, the diversocrats, and the apostles of political correctness have inflicted on speculative fiction. While Sarah’s recommendations are multifaceted, for me one element towers about the rest:

     Your writing shouldn’t leave anyone feeling like they should scrub with pumice or commit suicide by swallowing stoats for the crime of being human, or like humans are a blight upon the Earth, or that the future is dark, dreary, evil and fraught with nastiness, because that’s all humans can do, and woe is us.

     Bravissima! The crap the Leftist colonizers of fantasy and SF have deluged us with seems to have “make ‘em feel guilty about existing” as its core mission. Needless to say, they don’t feel guilty about existing; that’s for us in the hoi polloi. The attitude is so hateful that it’s difficult not to hate them for their posturings and pronouncements. I do my best, but now and then even I slip and conflate the sinner with the sin.

     Have a snippet from The Wise and the Mad:

     “No matter where we stand in our lives, whatever our circumstances,” Father Ray had said to her, “only three paths are open to us. We can break, we can stand idle, or we can build. The Christian course is to strive to build, to improve, to contribute whatever mortal power can add to God’s edifice. If that necessitates some demolition, the tearing down of an impassable obstacle, the Christian is commanded to do so in a spirit of understanding and forgiveness. He must not condemn. He must not hate.”
     “I’ve known a lot of people who called themselves Christians,” she replied, “and damned few of them seemed to adhere to those precepts. Not as far as I could tell, anyway.”
     The young priest smirked ruefully. “I know, dear. It’s very hard. I can’t do it any better than most. It could send a lot of us right down the chute of despair, if it weren’t for one thing.”
     “Which is?”
     “That God is love. Love is patient, love is kind, love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It rejoices not in wrongdoing but in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. And he who loves is endlessly willing to forgive.”

     We have to fight them. We have to defeat them, force them to surrender unconditionally. Though the thought be unpleasant, we may have to destroy them. But we mustn’t hate them. If we were afflicted with their premises and burdened by their shortcomings, we would do exactly the same things.

     But we don’t have to write the kind of crap they produce and celebrate. We don’t have to hate ourselves for having human desires and limitations. God doesn’t.

     To my fellow writers:

     Write stories with heroes.
     Write stories that honor Mankind.
     Write stories in which good triumphs over evil.
     Write stories that honor Christians and Christianity.
     Write stories that celebrate the differences between the sexes.
     Write stories that acknowledge the universal human desire to be free.
     And be proud of what you write, neither evasive nor defensive about it.

     Be a Human Wavicle!

A Round-up of News That Happened While I Was Gone

I've just returned home from Provo, UT, where this year's American Association of Physics Teachers summer conference was held. It was followed by the Physics Teacher Resource Agents (PTRA) yearly Institute training in Capital Reef National Park, in a Dark Skies training facility. The facility works very hard to eliminate/reduce light pollution in the area, to improve astronomical observation - not just for the professional scientists, but also for the many amateurs that take advantage of the amazing night sky.

It was hard - NOT primitive by any means - we had indoor sinks/showers/flush toilets - it was challenging. Rough terrain, high altitude (I did NOT suffer from altitude sickness this time), and very long days, followed by staying up/getting up for night sky observations.

But, it was great. One of the better parts is that, although there was some limited internet access, most of the time, our cell phones were inoperable.

What a terrific event! We all had time to spend talking to each other - catch up on personal life (many of us have known each other for years, if not decades), discuss the workshops, and ask questions about how we might pass on this experience of astronomy and quantum physics.

Most of us slept the best we have in years. Sheer exhaustion will do that to you.

This morning, I got up, made the coffee, and have been catching up on the news.

Claremont Institute has some important observations about multiculturalism - you'll want to read it, just for talking points at your next barbecue.

Red-Baiting is back, with a new target - Republicans. Uh-huh, that's right - those that reject the Leftist program are being accused of being their puppet.

I must have journeyed into Bizarro-land while traveling. It's totally a thing, this interdimensional travel.

The French Revolution lives! We're heading swiftly to the Jacobin Reign of Terror! We already have revolutionaries arguing about who is not revolutionary enough; next stop, Le Guillotine!

I'm torn about this - my hometown, Lakewood, OH (my family moved there when I was 4 months old, and I only left when I married), had several murals of the WPA era at the main post office. They were removed sometime in the last 25 years, don't know whether they tried to preserve them. But, the deliciousness of Leftists arguing to get rid of Leftist murals, because they are not sufficiently 'woke', fills me with a guilty pleasure. The protestors didn't care that the art was anti-American, just that it could be opposed on racial grounds.

I could write more - I probably will, eventually, but I'm hungry.

The most important question of your life.

Here is a comment of pure excellence:
The contemporary Democratic Party has defined itself as a coalition of:
  • affirmative action activists
  • anti-American activists
  • anti-capitalist activists
  • anti-classical liberal activists
  • anti-Christian activists
  • anti-European activists
  • anti-free speech activists
  • anti-Israel activists
  • anti-Jewish activists
  • anti-male activists
  • anti-meritocracy activists
  • anti-Western activists
  • anti-white activists
  • Antifa
  • Arab activists
  • Asian activists
  • black activists
  • cultural Marxists
  • feminist activists
  • Hispanic activists
  • Indian activists
  • intersectionalists
  • LGBTQ activists
  • Muslim activists
  • open borders activists
  • Palestinian activists
  • people of color activists
  • radical leftists
  • reparations activists
  • social justice warriors
  • socialists
  • Third World activists
  • women of color activists
The odds of it ever regaining control of the center in American politics seem slim. It has made it clear that traditional American cultural groups are no longer welcome in the party.

At its core, the post-2016 Democratic Party is driven by overt hatred of straight white males of the type who have created Western and First World culture in the modern era — that is the relentless drumbeat that comes through loud and clear.

The Squad is the face of the contemporary Democratic Party — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. They seem to be clamoring for an outright civil war. They are confident that they will win that war because demographic trends are in their favor. They intend to overwhelm and obliterate their opposition through sheer numbers.

Where does this volatile situation, which goes far beyond questions about the political fortunes of Donald Trump, go from here?[1]

That last question is the one to which I refer and it is the only question that needs answering. At what point do economic illiteracy, media corruption, worship of foreigners and minorities, hatred of our ancestors, historical ignorance, feminist malevolence, mass immigration, Muslim sedition, and minority pathology and hatred actually cut the arteries of this (hitherto) remarkable civilization? At what point do you understand it in your bones that there is no loyal opposition, only people who hate everything about you and with every breath they take yearn to deprive you of your property, your sanity, your country, and your life?

This will be reversed either by

  1. a white epiphany that results in an electoral reversal of this situation that's been decades (if not a century) in the making or
  2. a violent score settling by patriots.
And what is the likelihood of the former when Western electorates time and time again give overwhelming support to their enemies?

These are the only two options.

Nothing is on the horizon that gives grounds for optimism. Not a damn thing. Debt "ceilings" are routinely punctured. Mass immigration continues unabated. Pointless, illegal war is the obsession of the Treason Class. Lesbians, freaks, and soy boys are the stuff of the nightly news. With painfully few honorable police department exceptions, AntiFa filth rule the public square absolutely, positively under the king's radar. But God forbid you should refuse to produce a "wedding" cake for two queers.

These are existential matters. If your wife asks if maybe it is time for a divorce, make no mistake that this is not a question that can be put off for later consideration at your leisure. How you answer that question is vitally important to you because if you answer incorrectly – or drift indecisively in the face of a massive problem – your life will never be the same again.

Make no mistake, how you answer Mr. McBride's question is of crucial importance to you and your loved ones.

I'll add my own related question. To what part of our current legal, political, economic, social, and cultural reality will you continue to give your assent? Consider, for example, whether subscribing to cable is giving aid and comfort to your enemies who have made the legacy media a firehose of slime to be spread over everything that you treasure?

[1] Comment by Sean McBride on "Democrats for Trump, 2020. The Cockatoo Can’t Win Without Them." By Fred Reed, ZeroHedge, 7/24/19 (emphasis added).

Monday, July 29, 2019

In the Airport, Waiting

We were able to change to an earlier flight, but we just had to de-plane for a mechanical problem. No idea when we'll get to board again.

Short Cuts And Long Delays

     When I embark on a new novel-project, I’m usually tempted to look for a short cut, a quick way to “get into” the effort. Sometimes I find one. Sometimes it’s suitable. More often, it proves to be a detriment, though that might not be obvious for some time.

     The kind of temptation that’s proved least destructive to the ultimate creation is the substantial fund of short stories I’ve written over the decades, some of which prove extensible, with enough thought and effort. Love in the Time of Cinema emerged from such a story, and I’d say it worked out well. But needless to say, not all short tales lend themselves to being used in that fashion. I’m working on and with one such today, and it’s been giving me fits.

     The most destructive temptation – and I’m pleased to be able to say that it’s one I’ve successfully resisted – is the one that whispers “Just borrow this idea, add a couple of characters and a few grace notes, and call it your own!” It’s not necessarily plagiarism to do so; the narrative archetypes are few, and their skeletons can be detected in every decent story ever written. But unless he can come up with an original motif or two and frame the story around them, the writer cannot honestly call the tale his own creation.

     Yet innumerable writers copy well-trodden paths, add nothing significantly original or fresh, and publish the results. That’s the prevalent practice in fantasy today, especially “urban” fantasy. I have little respect for such “creators.” I disdain to read their “creations,” once I can discern their lineaments. But many of them are far more successful in dollars-and-cents terms than I.

     In all fairness, it’s extremely difficult to remain within the confines of a long-established, strongly patterned genre yet produce something genuinely new. The difficulty romance writers have with it gave birth to the Harlequin line, which recycles a publication back to pulp after it’s been on the shelves for a single month. The grooves are too deep. They admit of too little innovation. Such books appeal directly to the reader who wants to keep reading “my favorite story” over and over and OVER.

     The “short cut” available from such a strong, innovation-averse pattern can result in a long delay in a writer’s maturation – and no, I don’t mean “finding his voice.”

     The late Isaac Asimov, when asked the most common of all fan questions – “Where do you get your ideas?” – replied that story ideas are all around us; just reach out and grab one. They practically attack the attentive writer, for a simple reason: they’re about people struggling with problems. Usually they’re problems of the sort people have always had.

     If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while, you’ve seen these before:

John Brunner’s Laws Of Fiction:
1. The raw material of fiction is people.
2. The essence of story is change.

     People’s problems are about the challenges they face and must surmount: from their surroundings, from their personal limitations and inhibitions, and (of course) from other people. Some problems are too trivial to produce drama – to the best of my knowledge, “He needed a clean pair of briefs and didn’t have one!” has never inspired any writer to greatness in storytelling – but there are innumerable ones that writers have used to evoke drama, heroism, and the reader’s sense of the breadth and depth of human existence. Even a barely educated person will be familiar with many such problems and their fictional exploitation.

     In a way, the reason for the speculative genres – fantasy, science fiction, and horror – is that they allow the imaginative writer to shed new light on a classic problem. Consider the problem of survival. While there’s still ample room for stories of survival against great odds in the here and now, the unique moral-ethical cast it can acquire from a science fiction setting can enable it to stimulate readers who might never have considered its complexities. Perhaps the problem is how to defend an innocent against a predator, or a predatory force. A technological motif can make such a contest vivid in a way tales of Mafia dons or serial killers cannot. Possibilities abound; reach out and grab one!

     Some short cuts can be useful as a “leg up” to prominence. For example, now and then, a precast setting, created by a successful writer, is offered to other, less well known writers as an environment in which to tell a tale and gain an expanded readership. This has become fairly common in the speculative genres. Larry Niven’s “Man-Kzin Wars” anthologies are a good example, as are George R. R. Martin’s “Wild Cards” collections. On August 6, military SF writer Tom Kratman will release an anthology of that sort, centered on his imagined colony world of Terra Nova. Our beloved Co-Conspirator Dystopic/Thales (he uses both monikers) will have a story therein, so don’t miss it. But such supports should not be regarded as reliable in perpetuity; to mature and earn personal distinction, a writer must strike out on a path he can justly call his personal creation.

     “Short cuts make long delays,” saith John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. He would surely know. If you aspire to write fiction, be aware of the dangers inherent in mimicry. It can trap you as surely as quicksand, and to the same ultimate effect. A leg up here and there is one thing; walking slavishly and undeviatingly in the footsteps others have left is another. The only way to become a writer others will respect – and I don’t necessarily mean other writers, but I don’t necessarily not mean them, either – is to create your own brand from the fertile if tangled resources of your imagination, experience, and heart.

     Get busy.

     (Cross-posted at my fiction-promotion site.)

How is this not exactly right?

The popular delusion of the 21st century is to assume the highest virtues of democracy. This faulty assumption propagates a dangerous archetype: the tyranny of the masses and its twin consequences, deficits and inflation.[1]
Elite betrayal is one thing and as real as a heart attack. However, how explain the electorates unwillingness to hold the elite accountable through the electoral process? The least bit of feistiness on the part of voters, such as with the Tea Party, and the TPTB were quaking in their boots. But the party died after a short, glorious life.

Why did it? Because politicians can always play their Trump card and distribute yet more to the FSA.

Modern Western electorates are sellouts to their ancestors, descendants, and themselves. They disgrace themselves by their surrender to foreigners, primitive creeds, and hate-filled minorities. So long as the gravy flows, the lumpenvotertariat will bend over and assume the position. They have the foresight of a clam.

No degradation or destructive policy is enough to deter them from their mission of national suicide.

[1] "Realizing The Full Implications Of The Forthcoming Catastrophe." By M.N. Gordon, annotated by Pater Tenebrarum, ZeroHedge, 7/27/19 (emphasis removed).

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Shower Buddies

     [A short story for you today. Perhaps it will stimulate some thoughts...or some outrage. In either case, here it is. You can download it from here.-- FWP]

     The strip mall was half deserted. The state had recently divided the feeder road on which it sat with a concrete barrier. That had been the death blow to several businesses that had been there from the beginning. Most of the ones that remained were barely hanging on to viability. Yet Calabria’s Pharmacy remained there, doggedly defying the trend toward chain stores and enclosed malls. Estelle would go nowhere else for her toiletries and the few cosmetics she still employed. After thirty years her habit was ingrained too deeply to break.
     The storefront adjoining Calabria’s had been vacant for many weeks. Apparently it was empty no longer. The modest sign that graced it came as a surprise:

Backs, Ears, and Feet Our Specialties
Ask About Our Subscription Plans

     Estelle had to read the sign three times before she was certain she was seeing correctly. Even so she had to lay a hand on it to assure herself that it was real. The display in the window behind it held bars of facial soap and squirt bottles of bath gel, towels on heated racks, a mini-fountain that pumped a stream of water through a shower head...and two sweetly beautiful blondes in bikinis, with bath sponges in their hands and brilliant smiles on their angelic faces.
     The door to the shop was open.
     She ventured inside hesitantly, uncertain of her reason for doing so and uncertain what she might encounter. At first she saw no one behind the counter, but only a moment later a curtain parted and a young woman, definitely one of the two depicted in the window, came forth wearing a bikini and a smile of pure delight. A thin hiss of running water emanated from the back of the store.
     “Good morning! Welcome to Shower Buddies. How can we help you today?”
     “Uhh...” Estelle started back toward the shop door.
     “Please! No need to be so nervous.” Before she realized what had happened, Estelle found the young woman standing before her, with their hands intertwined. “What can we do for you?”
     “Do you...” Estelle coughed, gathered herself, and started over. “Do you really shower with your customers?”
     “Yes, we do,” the young beauty said. “I’m Vaia, by the way. What’s your name, dear?”
     “Ah...Estelle Lackland.”
     “A beautiful name for a beautiful lady! And,” Vaia said, “our very first customer. Today your treatment is at no charge. If you enjoy your visit, for this week we’re offering our weekly and monthly plans at a discount.”
     Beautiful? Me?
     “Ah, Vaia,” Estelle faltered, “I only wandered in out of curiosity. Anyway, I’ve already showered for the day.”
     “What!” Vaia pretended shock. “Someone who only showers once in twenty-four hours? Are you an ascetic of some sort, or does soap give you a rash?”
     “No!” Estelle marveled at finding herself on the defensive. “It’s just—”
     Vaia shook her head. “Estelle,” she said as she drew Estelle gently but irresistibly toward the curtain that concealed the mysteries in the rear, “I really must insist that you give us a try. Remember, there’s no charge for your first visit.” Her smile became delicately suggestive. “Besides, we can use the word of mouth.”


     The rear of the store proved to be multiply chambered. First Vaia led Estelle to a room lit by the orange glow of several salt lamps. A massage table stood at its center. Vaia bade Estelle to undress completely, took the older woman’s clothes, and placed them on a platform that immediately vanished into the wall. She told Estelle to lie prone on the table. To her considerable surprise, Estelle did so without a moment’s hesitation.
     Vaia anointed her hands and set to work on Estelle’s back and leg muscles. The oil possessed a warming quality enhanced by the gentle warmth that radiated from the table itself. Vaia’s touch was equally compelling. Before she was fully conscious of it, Estelle was telling the young beauty about everything of importance to her. She spoke of her widowhood, her futile attempts to connect socially with her neighbors and parishioners, her reluctance to court embarrassment by seeking new love, even her phases of uncertainty about her faith. Vaia listened with only the occasional murmur of encouragement as she kneaded and soothed Estelle’s musculature.
     Presently the young woman said “It’s time to turn over.” Estelle did so. Vaia relubricated her hands and went back to work. She methodically moved from Estelle’s neck to her chest, and thence to her thighs, calves, and feet.
     It was the first time anyone had seen Estelle completely unclothed, or had touched her so intimately, since Henry’s death. Yet she felt no tension at all. The tale of her years poured forth from her utterly uninhibited.
     When the massage was complete, Estelle felt she could hardly move. She was utterly relaxed and at peace, in a state of contentment she hadn’t known for decades.
     “Do you feel ready for your shower?”
     Estelle opened her eyes. Vaia stood over her, hands clasped over her breasts and smiling gently.
     “Are you really going to shower with me?”
     Vaia nodded. “Have you ever had someone else wash you from head to toe?” Estelle shook her head. “Well, you’ll love it, I promise. Now let’s move before Mirielle gets another customer into the shower before us!”
     Vaia reached for Estelle’s hand, helped her off the table, and led her into the next room. In it stood a shower stall whose like she’d never seen.
     The stall was perhaps ten feet by fifteen, made of spangled black granite. The front wall was of clear glass. It seemed to have jets everywhere. They sprouted visibly from three walls and the ceiling.
     Vaia giggled at Estelle’s expression, nudged her, and pointed to the stall floor. Surrounding the central drain were still more jets, faired into the granite so as not to endanger the occupants.
     “It must use...quite a lot of water,” Estelle murmured.
     “When you shower with a Shower Buddy,” Vaia said, smiling brilliantly, “you get the best of the best. One moment while I program the flow rates and temperatures.”
     The young woman stepped toward a control console in the corner and made a series of swift keyboard entries. A light at the top of the console went from red to yellow. Vaia shed her bikini to reveal breasts more perfect than any young man’s fantasy and a heart shaped, perfectly depilated mound of Venus, slid open the glass door, and turned to Estelle.
     “Follow me!”
     They stepped into the stall. A moment later the jets came to life.
     They were instantly bathed in an invigorating, three dimensional spray. The jets emitted pulses that amplified the effects of the massage even as they seemed to drive new life into Estelle’s tired fifty-six year old body. It took her a moment to notice that the liquid was foaming against her skin.
     “It’s a blend,” Vaia said. “Our soap is compounded from healing oils, mint and eucalyptus, a dash of emulsifier, and of course mixed with plenty of water.” She touched a granite tile, which sprang open to reveal a hidden compartment, and pulled out a large bath sponge. “Just relax while I treat you to the best bathing experience of your life.”
     That was exactly what it was.
     Vaia laved her from head to toe as she’d promised. Estelle merely did as the young woman directed, bending, stretching, turning this way and that, lifting one limb or another, and luxuriating in sensuous attention of a sort she’d never before known.
     Vaia took her time. She lavished careful, reverential attention on all of Estelle, not excepting the private areas no one but Henry had ever seen, much less touched. As she worked she hummed softly. The tune had a hymn-like quality, something that might have come from the mind of Handel or Bach. The combination eased Estelle further into a state of mystical contentment.
     After an period of unending bliss, yet over far too soon, Vaia proclaimed Estelle’s shower complete. The jets ceased to pulse as she spoke.
     Estelle remained as she was. “Are we really done?”
     “With the shower? Yes,” Vaia said. “Now we go to the polishing station.”
     “What happens there?”
     “You’ll see. Come on!”
     Though she was offered neither towels nor a robe, Estelle found that she was warm and dry. She followed Vaia to the next room, noting in passing that she had completely relaxed to going about the store unclothed. It didn’t surprise her that the young beauty who’d pampered her hadn’t bothered to resume her bikini.


     At the center of the room stood a well padded, multi-adjustable chair of a sort any hairdresser, manicurist, or cosmetologist would envy. One long wall was mirrored; the other was lined with cabinets. Estelle mounted the chair without being told.
     Vaia giggled softly. “I think you’re enjoying this.”
     Estelle smiled. “I am. What now?”
     “Now,” the young woman said, “I polish you!”
     “Hm? My nails, you mean?”
     “That, girly girl,” Vaia said, “is only part of it.”
     Girly girl?
     “Ah, what’s involved in being...polished?”
     Vaia opened several cabinets, drew out a variety of implements of unknown uses, and proceeded to demonstrate.
     Never thereafter could Estelle describe sufficiently for reproduction exactly what Vaia did to her. The treatment was all-encompassing. It involved many tools, creams, and lotions, including a few Estelle could not identify. The young woman declined to specify what they were for. Yet none of the applications caused Estelle the slightest discomfort. She watched, awestruck, as Vaia tightened her pockets and flaps of sagging skin, scoured away her scars, and removed all traces of the age spots and other blemishes that had made her reluctant to sunbathe even in her own fenced yard.
     To conclude, Vaia clipped, shaped, and polished Estelle’s nails to a brilliant red, humming melodically all the while.
     Estelle had completely lost track of time when Vaia said “Time to move on, dear. But have a look at yourself first.”
     Estelle dismounted and stood on slightly shaky legs before the mirror wall.
     The image in the mirror was still the one she knew, yet it had been improved in a myriad ways. Overall she looked tighter, straighter, and more vital. Gone were all the signs that she had neglected her body, allowing it to deteriorate prematurely. It was the beauty of maturity, that concedes the passage of the years without unconditionally surrendering to them. But the most distinct difference was in her expression.
     She was happy and looked it.
     Vaia embraced her gently from behind.
     “Do you like what you see?”
     Estelle turned in the young woman’s arms and reciprocated the embrace.
     “You know I do.”
     Vaia’s eyes twinkled. “Then let’s finish up.”


     The last room contained a single item: a luxuriously dressed full-size bed. Estelle halted as she spied it.
     Vaia giggled. “Hop on up there.”
     “None of that!” Vaia took her by the shoulders and ran a fingertip down her nose. “This is the most important part.”
     Estelle did as she was told. Vaia immediately joined her and pulled her into her arms.
     “Hush, child. Relax and let me hold you.”
     She laid her head upon Vaia’s shoulder and relaxed. An interval of total peace came upon her.
     “You think yourself useless because of your age,” Vaia murmured after a time. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Age need not drain the utility from a woman. Properly used, it augments her virtues while diminishing her demerits. Did no one ever tell you this?”
     “No,” Estelle whispered. “But how is it done?”
     “Through self-conservation and self-improvement.” Vaia trailed fingertips along her cheek. “You must protect and maintain what you have while adding to it.”
     “Classes of some sort?”
     Vaia chuckled. “Hardly. The womanly arts are not taught in classrooms. They are those of growing, healing, and nurturing. These are the skills that produce civilizations, when they’re properly cultivated and respected. Unfortunately,” Vaia said, her expression darkening, “there’s been a general decline in respect for them—among women.
     “What I did today was to restore your body, to make it what the body of a fifty-six year old woman who truly values herself would be. I pampered your body in its entirety, treated it as something infinitely valuable, in the hope that by doing so I might awaken your mind and heart as well. Have I succeeded?”
     “Maybe,” Estelle whispered. “I’m not sure.”
     Vaia smiled enigmatically. “I think you are. I think you’re just a bit muddled about what would constitute a proper showing of humility. It’s a common problem. But Estelle,” she said, “proper humility doesn’t require one to treat oneself as worthless. It merely asks that we treat others as having a value equal to our own.
     “Yes, you’re a widow in your fifties without commercial skills. Yes, you must get by on your savings and what remains of Henry’s death benefit. Yes, it’s easier to find love before the bloom of youth has departed. But none of that implies that you are of no value, or that you should carry yourself that way. It certainly doesn’t demand that you treat yourself that way.”
     “Who...what are you?” Estelle whispered.
     “Does it matter? Would any answer make what I’ve been saying more or less true?”
     Estelle started to speak, checked herself.
     “Humans are funny,” Vaia said. “You attach yourselves to the strangest things, hoping to find value in them. Possessions, credentials, prestige, fame, money. Worst of all, other people’s opinions of you. It’s a chimera, Estelle. It degrades and kills as it seduces, body, mind, heart, and soul.” She pulled Estelle closely against her. “Your value is innate, given to you by God. Only one person in all of existence can take it from you.”
     She took Estelle’s face between her hands and kissed her softly.
     “Will you remember that?”
     Estelle nodded. “I will.”
     “Then it’s time for you to go.”
     Vaia rose and touched a spot on the wall that opened a hidden compartment. It proved to contain her purse, a complete set of clothes, including lingerie and stockings, and a pair of mid-heeled pumps. Estelle elbowed herself to a sitting position.
     “Those aren’t my clothes.”
     Vaia smiled. “They are now. Dress.”
     She hopped off the bed and did so. When she was fully clad she turned to Vaia to hug and thank her, only to find that the young beauty had departed.
     No charge for today’s service.
     A door opened in the short wall, letting her out onto the strip mall’s sidewalk. She stepped out, noted that much of the day had passed, and proceeded to Calabria’s Pharmacy.
     The attendant at the cosmetics counter recognized her at once. Her eyes opened to their widest.
     “Good afternoon, Mrs. Lackland. You look absolutely beautiful today.”
     “Thank you, Clarice,” she said. “I feel beautiful.”


Copyright (C) 2019 Francis W. Porretto. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

     And may God bless and keep you all.

Shades of the oppressive, evil Catholic Church.

The left will never cease pointing to the Catholic Church as the apotheosis of all that is oppressive, hypocritical, and intellectually dishonest in human affairs. E.g., church insistence on incorrect astronomical theories.

But the eventual dominance of the heliocentric view of the solar system did not eliminate all forms of obscurantism. Rather, intellectual dishonesty has roared back to life, if not ruinous domination, with the advent of a vengeful new priesthood that presides over a new and improved regime of thought control:

It was not until 1758, more than 200 years after the death of Copernicus, that the Church finally revoked a general ban on all books that advocated a heliocentric view of the universe.

However, even after lifting its ban, the Church only allowed public access to heavily censored versions of Galileo’s Dialogue and Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus. Surely if a widely accepted lie could persist as the truth among the masses for centuries as a result of those in power suppressing fact, then many similar instances today are possible. Today, the executives at Google (who also owns YouTube) and Twitter have become the modern day equivalent of the ancient Roman Catholic Church by deplatforming, demonetizing and shadowbanning all social media channels that forward any narratives that disagree with their own, even censoring results from internet searches (in the case of Google).[1]

This modern private tyranny is far worse than the very limited one of old. Even Galileo got papal approval to lay out the heliocentric view of the solar system as long as he did not go so far to advance that theory over the other, if memory serves me. Galileo was so stupid as to write in a dialogue form in which the thinly-disguised character of the Pope was made to look like a moron. Was he punished for his unorthodox scientific views or for gratuitously insulting the Pope? As I don't subscribe to the automatic demonization of all rulers and institutions prior to Saint Franklin, my money is on the table where it says "Dumbasses get their just desserts."

There is NO area of modern life that isn't fatally infected with widespread lunacy. But the time-tested corrective of free inquiry is unavailable to our whole culture. Jail, economic ruin, loss of children, and attack by free-range leftist thugs are all widespread weapons wielded against the normal, let alone against cutting-edge free thinkers. These are the weapons of first resort used by the Treason Class to maintain the delusions of the age.

Western civilization has not evolved to some colorful redoubt of liberty and rationality in a sea of primitives but has slid into a swamp of pettiness and vindictiveness that is a disgrace to our ancestors. And ourselves.

[1] "The Death of Capitalism, Redux for 2019." By maalamalama, ZeroHedge, 7/27/19.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Frankenstein capitalism.

It's one of my favorite points about what is criticized by the left and other weakminded people. The idea that what we witness today is "capitalism." That's like saying a feminist can be a lovely, desirable woman:
Many people fail to understand that the banking class also has controlled the curricula of business schools for centuries, and consequently ensure that millions of students are falsely taught that free markets exist and free market capitalism is the dominant economic model that exists in G8 nations that dominate the world economy. Because of this belief that is 100% false, advocates of socialism and democratic socialism like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders have been able to accrue massive support upon the false premise that capitalism has failed. When we make a claim that capitalism has failed, we can’t intellectually critique a grotesque form of capitalism that has stripped most essential elements of free market capitalism out of the model and then criticize that the model of capitalism has failed. Such criticisms are tantamount to critiquing current dominant academic models that are more intent on socially conditioning students to become compliant and obedient and claiming that the teaching of intellect has failed. Since academia in its current dominant form today shows no interest in shaping intellectual young adults, the claim that teaching intellect has failed is not relevant to an academic system that does not have this as one of its goals. It is quite clear that the economic models in place in nearly every nation has failed, and failed miserably . . . .[1]
The Chinese have a delightful saying that is a masterpiece of brevity: kai men jian shan. Literally, "open door look [at] mountain." Or, "could we please just stop kidding ourselves and look at what's really happening?" An earthier rendering is possible but not to be supplied here on this most elegant of blogs.

The entire West is pursuing the model of limitless free stuff from the government/productive class, endless wealth production by magical processes, white people as the source of all evil, fiat currency as the genius option, Everests of debt as without consequences, minorities and foreigners as our superiors and our salvation, and native-people electorates as poeple whose views are contemptible. The Western political and economic models are worthless and built on sand.

Effective Western leadership class response? Nonexistent.

[1] "The Death of Capitalism, Redux for 2019." By maalamalama, ZeroHedge, 7/27/19 (emphasis added).

Friday, July 26, 2019

Concerning Social Media

     I know, I know: It’s all been said already. So why am I about to whip the disintegrating carcass yet again?

     Blame it on the hours I keep – and be glad the C.S.O. doesn’t have a compulsion to write, as she gets up even earlier.

     Social media seemed a harmless development at first. Facebook, Twitter, et alii looked like simple communications mechanisms oriented toward ordinary people who merely wanted to “keep in touch.” I suppose they could have been just that and no first. But owing to the dynamic of such things, they didn’t prove to be so for long.

     Perhaps the original model was to charge “users” nothing and sell advertising space to corporate entities. If so, it was foreseeable that it would not stay that way, owing to the values of the things at issue.

     Competent advertising executives are aware that the value of a medium for advertising lies not in its aggregate “eyeball count” but in how the medium’s audience conforms to the advertiser’s target market. That elusive factor is determined largely through experience – and experience can yield some surprisingly counter-intuitive results. For example, a few years ago Joss Whedon’s television series Dollhouse was in danger of mid-season cancellation by its host network (Fox) for low viewership...but the cancellation was thwarted by its sponsors. Research had indicated that the Dollhouse audience was buying the sponsors’ products. Fox yielded to the sponsors’ requests to keep the series alive for a full season and part of another.

     So mere audience size isn’t strictly determinative of advertiser interest. The cost of advertising has caused firms to concentrate their efforts in “enriched” venues where their target customers are more likely to be found.

     The consequence was data mining: first by the firms that advise other companies as to where their advertising dollars would be best spent; later by the social media companies themselves in the quest for greater advertising revenue. The “users” of the various social media platforms, through the things they expose about themselves in their usage, became the platforms’ principal product.

     This is the case today.

     The information that advertisers value is of even greater value to politicians, political interest groups, and political parties. Thus there was a powerful incentive for those persons and entities to get into the act. Activists, especially left-wing activists, began to swarm into the fray.

     “Why ‘especially left-wing activists?’” you ask? Because the leftist could exploit the social media in more ways than the conservative. The conservative who took an interest in its possibilities was solely concerned with getting his own messages out; to that the leftist added suppressing the communications of his opponent. The first important battle for freedom of expression in the digital domain was thus destined to be joined over Facebook and Twitter, the largest of the domains in which it could be fought. In a garish demonstration of the inexorability of Robert Conquest’s Second Law of Politics, the ethical constraints that bound those in the Right but were ignored by the Left preordained the outcome.

     In recent years a number of newer and smaller social media sites have emerged that have made guarantees of freedom of expression, to avert the colonization that afflicted Facebook and Twitter. I have no doubt that those guarantees were sincere. That does not armor those sites against attack from the Left, which has proved more agile than anyone imagined.

     If one cannot silence one’s opponent, there remains the possibility of prejudicing the audience against him. There are several approaches to this. Simple slander was the first to be tried – cries of “they’re racists!” “they’re Nazis!” and the like — but as this proved insufficient, the Left compounded the tactic with trolling of a sort designed to confirm their slanders. In short, Leftist operatives entered the new free-expression sites specifically to behave in the fashion the Left was accusing the free-expression sites of enabling.

     Freedom of expression includes, in Oliver Wendell Holmes’s formulation, “freedom for the thought we hate.” Thus, to be true to its representations, a free-expression site would have to permit users’ expressions of the vilest imaginable sentiments: “Hitler was right,” “Kill all the niggers,” and the like. Leftist trolls proceeded to inflict exactly that on them. That, of course, was grist for the Leftists’ mill. The free-expression sites have found counteraction difficult.

     One consequence has been the imposition of various forms of censorship by the free-expression sites. In the case of, Andrew Torba’s brainchild, the censor is the individual user, who can choose to block anyone he finds intolerable. Yet this approach leaves the trolls visible to Leftist attackers, who use them to argue that Gab is unacceptable and should be avoided – preferably deplatformed.

     Other sites such as LibertyRush have backed away from a pure free-expression stance and instead acted to filter out the trolls, thus averting the sort of assault the Left has mounted against Gab. While this approach has proved more successful at thwarting the Left’s attacks, it has some obvious limiting features. Most important is the creation of a filtering agency that could, in theory, become a censor of particular, otherwise acceptable viewpoints and sentiments. In theory it could become a target for Leftist colonization. We shall see.

     The overall verdict on social media is this: It isn’t terribly social. That’s not the fault of the original concept, but of the political milieu as we currently suffer it and seem destined to suffer it for the foreseeable future. People can be very, very vile. They can also convince themselves that “the ends justify the means,” especially once they’ve framed their opponents as the embodiment of human evil. The evil that’s been rampant in social media to date suggests that Americans would spend their time more constructively on just about anything else.

     Might that change? It could...but I shan’t hold my breath while I wait.

Thursday, July 25, 2019


     (No, this won’t be a piece about the Rolling Stones.)

     Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress yesterday utterly baffled unbiased onlookers who paid it any attention. The supposed head of the “Russian collusion” investigation into the 2016 presidential election didn’t appear to know anything about...well, about anything. He waffled. He evaded. He refused to answer many questions. He appeared totally uninformed about what was in the report that was produced by his investigators and has been tagged with his name. Anyone truly dispassionate about the enveloping controversy would have been left scratching his head and asking himself “What was that supposed to be about?”

     Congressional Democrats were displeased, to say the very least. They’d hoped for the Big One, the missile that would finally bring down the Trump Ascendancy. The Mueller Report had given them nothing. Perhaps Mueller himself could supply the missing ingredients. As Mollie Hemingway put it, they’d hoped that “the movie would be better than the book.”

     But all Mueller’s appearance did was to suggest that the special counsel appointed for this supposedly critical task was detached from his own supposed investigation. Indeed, at several points his testimony suggested that he’s become detached from reality.

     And it’s not merely the Democrats who are disappointed:

     Those four links cost me all of ninety seconds at Breitbart. I could provide more, but I think my Gentle Readers will get the point.

     I’m unsure about just what we’re seeing here. I don’t think “partisanry” is an adequate description. There’s too much unconcealed hatred and too much unbottled rage on display. Is this what we see in the final stages of the disintegration of a major political party? Did something like this happen to the Whigs?

     I think we’d have to see political prisoners thrown into giant pits of vipers on live TV to get any more lurid – or horrifying. As public spectacles are rated, this one is right up there with the slaughters of Christians by wild animals in the old Roman Coliseum. It’s definitely not laugh material, regardless of whatever quantity of Right-inclined laughter we might hear.

     The Left is desperate. Desperate people do desperate things. They stake it all on long odds. They grasp at their sole remaining chance to prevail, however slender, and refuse to look past it. And if possible, they shave the dice, tilt the pinball machine, bribe the refs.

     This is the hour of maximum danger.

     Recall how many Left-inclined commentators and spokesmen have worried publicly about the outbreak of a second civil war, fomented by us in the Right. Leftist mouthpieces have a history of “worrying” about what the Right will do, while (or just before) the Left does that exact thing. That is where the Republic stands as you read this.

     There’s no need for me to wrap hundreds more words around this matter. The writing on the wall is large enough to be read from orbit.

     Be watchful. Be prepared. Know what you’re willing to do, should it come to the rub. Make sure those around you know it too.

     And pray.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Transgenderism, Conservatism, And Public Restrooms

     Quite a title, eh? No, it’s not that I’m “in a mood.” And it’s not that I’ve suddenly been possessed by the ghost of Dave Mason, who (as far as I know) is still alive. (Famous send-up of the song titles on his first album, Alone Together: “I Couldn’t Think Of A Shorter Title; Could You Think Of A Shorter Title?”) Those three elements are merely the linchpins for today’s little pseudo-Jeremiad...those three, and this article forwarded to me by my favorite Twenty-First Century Jeremiah, Pascal:

     There’s a few articles out there now on a ‘conservative trans woman’ who apparently said a few things about the transgender idiot in Canada that got offended when a bunch of women wouldn’t wax his…..ya know:

     Conservative and transgender…um….what?

     The [first] I heard of this was from Steve Deace, who noticed this in his timeline and had a similar reaction:

     I agree with him completely. You can’t just abandon the most basic essence of our humanity and call yourself a conservative.

     Now, I don’t know the first thing about Steve Deace. I’m not familiar with his published opinions or other work (if any). And the cited article is “published by The Right Scoop,” so I must treat it as unsigned. But the sloppy thinking exemplified in the above should be a lesson to anyone who presumes to comment on a complex cultural and sociopolitical issue that deserves a radical simplification (and right BLEEP!ing now, at that).

     Close your tray tables, return your seats to the fully upright position, and buckle yourself in securely, Gentle Reader; this ride’s about to get bumpy.

     It’s become my preference, in these latter years of my life and swiftly waning tolerance for poor thinking, to explore the thornier subjects in a fictional context. Indeed, that preference is the reason for my most recent stories and novels:

     Stories have power, both explanatory and persuasive, that exceeds the power of argument and exposition. No matter its premises nor its setting, to be entertaining and edifying a story must show us plausible characters embroiled in the solution of important problems – important to them, at any rate – in a fashion we can imagine real people embracing in the real world. Mind you, they might fail. They might incur consequences that cost them severely. But people’s problems and their attempts to confront them are the key to dramatic fiction.

     Transgenderism is an attempt by some persons – about ninety percent of them born male – to solve a particular problem. Their perception of that problem might strike others as irrational, as evidence of an emotional disorder, or what have you. But that’s irrelevant, as is anyone else’s opinion of one person’s personal long as the afflicted one keeps the problem, its consequences, and the consequences of his chosen solution or palliation entirely to himself.

     Therein lies the rub with transgenderism. Once a phenomenon has been politicized – made into something that demands legislative or judicial intervention – privacy is no longer available to most of those involved.

     It’s only a few months ago that I last wrote about this subject. At the time I hoped my thoughts would bring some peace to the matter, at least among the Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch. Perhaps that is the case, but it’s clear that society in general remains disturbed by it. The origin of the disturbance is the “trans activist:” he who demands some variety of legal recognition and sanction for the decision to present oneself as the other sex. As anyone with three functioning brain cells could have foreseen (and the Law of Equilibrium guaranteed ab initio), there arose counter-activists: persons utterly opposed to such recognition and determined to prevent it.

     Perspective is important here. Americans have been undergoing various kinds of sex transition for many, many years:

  1. Type 1: Some don’t bother with anything but clothing and cosmetics.
  2. Type 2: Others purchase depilations and breast implants.
  3. Type 3: Still others go for more elaborate surgeries – in some cases, elaborate enough that their birth sex is no longer detectable except by genetic assay.

     Each level has its own costs and consequences, both for the transitioner and for those around him.

     The private consequences, if “private” means “confined strictly to those willing to deal with them,” are tolerable. The public consequences are the problems...but to this point, the problems are effectively confined to pronouns, potties, and “pride marches.”

     I have absolutely no sympathy for the trans activists who demand that their decisions receive social approbation and legal enforcement. I regard them as a bleeding canker on the body politic. They are a curse on their quiet, privacy-inclined brethren. Indeed, were it not for such persons, there would be no issue whatsoever about transgenderism.

     What’s that you say? You want proof? Why certainly, Gentle Reader! Coming right up. I hope you’re braced – and if it makes you “uncomfortable” to have your illusions shattered, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

     First, have a snippet from The Wise and the Mad:

     Holly crossed the threshold of Costigan’s Pub in a state of unaccustomed uncertainty. She scanned for Walsingham as she rounded into the dining area and spotted him seated in a booth. He rose when he saw her approach. She composed herself as best she could and joined him.
     “Thank you for coming, Holly,” he said. “I must admit I was a bit surprised when you said that you could get away.”
     “Ro and I aren’t joined at the hip, Sir Thomas. We each have some independent pursuits. Besides, on the phone you said you wanted to chat about Unashamed. That’s a conversation for two, not three. And Ro hasn’t read it.”
     “She hasn’t?” he said. “I should have thought she’d read it page by page as it rolled out of your typewriter.”
     “Why would you think so?”
     He frowned. “Isn’t it about her?”
     She laughed. “Heavens, no! I’d never craft a tale around a real person. Especially not someone as dear to me as Ro. It would be an unconscionable invasion of privacy. Here in America that can get you sued.”
     “Hm. It seemed so certain.” A waitress approached bearing an uncorked bottle of Cuvee Rouge and two stemmed glasses. He thanked her, poured a generous amount into a glass, and pushed it toward Holly. “This is from the same winery as that nice Riesling that graced your table yesterday evening.”
     “Thank you.” He filled his own glass. “To your health.” They clinked and sipped.
     “We have these transgenders on the eastern side of the pond as well,” he said, “but ours have made much less noise than yours. An English thing, no doubt. Your protagonist Heidi seems out of the usual run for the U.S. She values her privacy and displays a most attractive reserve. It made her seem English, and quite appealing, despite...” He trailed off.
     Holly grinned. “You were about to say ‘despite her disorder’ or some such, weren’t you?”
     He nodded. “It is a disorder, you know. A man once born cannot become a woman in truth.”
     “Agreed,” Holly said. “Yet it is not impossible for one born a man to present as a woman. Hormones, minor surgery, cosmetics, and diligent study of the personalities and mannerisms of women will suffice for those who already have feminine inclinations and aspects of appearance. For example, you just referred to Heidi as ‘her’ without any apparent tension. That suggests that my portrayal of her in Unashamed was convincingly feminine. I gave her the appropriate appearance, personality, and manner to persuade others to take her as a woman and to treat her as such. I had her respond to such treatment as a woman would respond. An American woman, at any rate. Thus, despite her Y chromosome and male genitalia, she was able to pass in common society as a woman, as was her preference. Only if she had chosen to announce her birth sex to those around her, or to bare her lower body in public, would there have been any conflict about it. Any necessary conflict, that is.”
     He blinked and set his glass on the table.
     “What about love?”
     Holly smiled. “Didn’t Heidi and Roland solve that puzzle adequately?”
     “Yes...yes.” He looked briefly away. “It should not have startled me. We have those on the other side of the Atlantic, as well.”
     Holly took a moment to choose her next words.
     “I’ve been told that a wise man once said that ‘love laughs at hardware.’ I know the sort of love Heidi and Roland chose to enjoy isn’t to everyone’s taste. It’s not that long since it was illegal, both here and in the U.K. Oscar Wilde went to prison for it, did he not?”
     “He did,” Walsingham said.
     “Is sodomy still against the law across the water?”
     “That law was overturned quite some time ago,” he said. “There have been attempts to have it reinstated, but all have failed.”
     “It’s the same here, and just as well,” Holly said. “There can be no pretense of autonomy or personal privacy in a land where the private bodily conduct of consenting individuals is a fit subject for the attention of the police.”
     Walsingham’s face worked. “That is the usual argument. Yet there are many who regard the maintenance of society’s moral standards to be of greater importance.”
     “I know. It’s unclear to some how utterly impossible it is to have both individual freedom and legally enforced sexual standards at once. The Constitution was the touchstone for reform here, particularly the Fourth Amendment. But America has groups demanding the return of the old laws, too.”
     She drained her glass. Walsingham gestured at her with the bottle, and she nodded. As he poured she said “As you know, a law that specifies permitted and forbidden modes of sexual conduct would pose a huge problem for Rowenna. Given her bodily configuration—”
     “Her alternatives are celibacy or functioning as a man,” he said. “I’m aware. But it doesn’t appear a problem for you and Rowenna. You are lovers, are you not?”
     Here it comes.
     Holly inclined her head. “Yes, we are.”
     “And it would seem that the tension that arises from making love to what seems a woman but having her function sexually toward you as a man has caused you no difficulty,” he said. “Or no amount you could not surmount.”
     She smiled and saluted him with her glass.
     “I do present rather convincingly as a woman, don’t I, Sir Thomas?”
     He paled.

     I offer no apologies for the length of that segment. Read it. Imagine it being played out in real life – as it is each and every day, by successful transitioners who keep their origins (and their genitalia) to themselves.

     Holly Martinowski, the viewpoint character in the above, is a Type 2 transwoman: clothing, cosmetics, depilations, and breast implants. Sir Thomas Walsingham, her interlocutor, is unaware of it until the very end of the scene. She has an agenda, but it’s not social, legal, or (God help us all) political. It’s to help her flatmate and lover Rowenna, born a futanari, to reconcile with Walsingham, her father. Other than that, she’s a private person who was born male but “presents” as a woman. As she demands nothing from anyone, she is entitled to her privacy and to the tolerance of those around her.

     Imagine Holly using the women’s restroom at Costigan’s Pub. Imagine her going in, doing her business therein, washing her hands, perhaps powdering her nose, and emerging. Would anyone be moved to indignation? Why? Her public presentation is convincing. She hasn’t attacked anyone or exposed her lower body to anyone. Neither has anyone attacked her. So who would be incensed, and why?

     Now imagine that someone who knows, from other sources, that Holly was born Horace is present and raises a row over it. Who has committed the offense against the public peace, and why?

     As we mathematical types like to say, quod erat demonstrandum. No, don’t applaud; just buy my novels – and read them, and think. For the love of God and the future of the Republic, set your preconceptions and prejudices aside and think!

     Blaire White, the transwoman featured (?) in the linked article from The Right Scoop, decided early on to go public about her decision. Her motives are her own; the consequences are not. One of those consequences is the sort of foofaurauw raised by Steve Deace and the writer(s) of the cited article. Yet had Blaire not chosen to go public, she would be as convincing as my fictional character Holly. She would pass as a woman born, and no one would have any cause to complain about her. So the reactions to her are entirely a consequence of not keeping her private decisions to herself. She’s intelligent, so she knows this.

     Deace and the Right Scoop editorialist commit a glaring sin against their own supposed conservatism by implying that Blaire cannot be a political conservative. What’s more conservative, politically, than an emphasis on the sanctity of personal privacy? Blaire has sacrificed her privacy for a reason, in my opinion, a good one: to demonstrate that there is such a thing as the socially tolerable transitioner. But she doesn’t demand that others accept her, or kowtow to her pronouncements.

     Transgenderism is a social and political problem only insofar as we allow it to become one. Unfortunately, the forces of chaos and division are using it as a stick to beat us with. That’s bad. It should be fought. But it should be fought on the correct grounds: the importance of personal privacy about intimate decisions to the preservation of vital social norms and public conduct. As there is no more intimate decision than whether to transition, or to what extent, I’m tempted to say that that “should” be “obvious.” Unfortunately once again, apparently it takes a Certified Galactic Intellect to make it obvious to a significant fraction of the “conservatives” among us.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Facebook? I'm Done!

I just deactivated my Facebook account. If family/friends want me to see their family photos/videos, they can either send them to my cell, or join me on For now, that seems NOT to be filled with the vile invective that has taken over FB.

I'm not the first to do it. I've seen a lot of Facebook Quits in the last few months. I suspect that, as they get further away from Impeachment likelihood, winning any election in the near future, or getting any normal person to agree with them, they will - once again - rachet up the Hate.

So far, they don't actually Hate me - I imagine they think of me as an elderly, confused individual, who has been indoctrinated. Yeah, that's the ticket - indoctrination, that's that answer. Because no Good Person could possibly hold views like mine. And, since they know me, know I'm not a hateful Nazi, I MUST be a victim of some Evil Cult that is preying on the less intelligent, the more gullible, the Deplorable.

Yeah. Right. I'm just not that bright.

The last straw was getting a post from a family member, telling me that anyone who supported Trump's efforts to send Illegal Aliens back home was a Nazi. Just EXACTLY like Hitler's people.

I have tried, gently, to reason with those contacts. I have tried to use links to multiple sources refuting their vicious accusations, answered hate with love, and worked to find common ground.

They have lost me, by their refusal to respond in kind. When you've lost a mild-mannered grandmother, you might as well pack it in.

I'm expecting the Left to pull out all the stops in the run-up to the 2020 election. If the supporters of the Left don't stop their abuse, this may come to not-so Civil War.  I would hate that - I would grieve those on the other side for their failure to stop the crazy before it's too late.

Facebook is facilitating the abuse, by allowing Leftist trolls to spew invective without penalty, while shutting down opposition. This has to stop.

It may already be too late.

Ultra-Quickies: A Collage

     My thoughts have recently focused on my current novel-project – and by the way, any of you who’ve read The Wise and the Mad or The Futanari Saga, I’d really, really appreciate some reviews – so I haven’t given a lot of attention to the political news or associated developments. Accordingly, here’s what I’ve got in the way of semi-pertinent observations and assorted entertainment.

     Christianity in Europe is dying off. Christianity in the United States is endangered. Yet this is the faith that, in combination with the Enlightenment, made the First World all that it is and ever was. So...why?

     Belief systems that are falsifiable fail – or are set aside for more expansive falsifiable systems – when observation and measurement detect a discrepancy between what they predict and what observably, measurably happens. But religious belief systems – faiths – are not falsifiable by human methods. What pulls them down is usually a change in the priorities of those who hold them or promulgate them.

     There’s no need to go into interminable detail about this. Simply note the emphases of those who stand at our pulpits. How much of what they address is found in the explicit words of Christ? How much is political or personal preference? In this light, Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio a.k.a. Pope Francis is only a symptom of a disease that’s been “maturing” for decades.

     The task of true Christians in our time is to implement the cure. Note that I didn’t say “find.” The cure is in plain sight: it’s a return to the explicit teachings of the Redeemer in the four canonical Gospels, and the exclusion of everything else from the Christian faith. No other method will work.

     Facts cannot be biased. Truth has no agenda. Neither do facts and truth have anything to fear from the screechings of those who hate them.

     There are unpleasant facts to be faced: about governments; about demographics; about social and cultural currents; about parenting; and about many other things. We must face them frankly, for “Facts that are not frankly faced have a habit of stabbing us in the back.” (Sir Harold Bowden) No cry of “Racist!” or “Xenophobe!” should cause us to turn aside from the facts or wish them away. If their implications are unpleasant, that doesn’t disprove the facts, though it might imply dark things about those who strive to ignore them.

     Social cohesion begins with one’s neighbors. How well do you know yours? Do you know their children’s names? How about what they like to do in their spare time? When did you last have them over for a backyard barbecue?

     It’s harder than ever before to be neighbor-friendly with one’s neighbors. That’s not because people are generally more difficult than we once were, but because our lives are crowded by a great many matters that we’ve promoted to a higher level of priority. Add that privacy is harder to come by than ever before, which encourages a kind of encystment about oneself in whatever private time one still retains.

     I’m no exception. I keep to myself by choice and long habit. I often tell myself that my work requires it. But it’s beginning to seem to me that the demotion of traditional American neighborliness to the “trivia” level of priority might be a major causal factor in the sense of anomie and rootlessness that afflicts Americans generally and the body politic overall.

     If, as the late Andrew Breitbart famously told us, “culture is upstream from politics,” it behooves those of us who would like to see a movement back toward traditional American politics to engage with the conservative and libertarian elements of the culture and to eschew those that promote, celebrate, or normalize the pathologies that are rampant today. Here at the Fortress we’ve pretty much eliminated conventional television programming and conventionally published fiction from our entertainment diet, though that’s largely been because left-leaning or otherwise, it’s all become too repetitive and banal to endure. We buy our movies carefully, and nearly always second-hand. (Yeah, yeah, I pre-ordered the Blu-Ray of Alita: Battle Angel. So sue me.) Just about all the fiction the C.S.O. and I read these days comes from “indies.” The general quality level of such fiction has been rising; today a fair amount of it is pretty damned good.

     Christian Toto has a few observations on the subject, focusing on a handful of conservative “mavericks” who’ve stepped up with impressive, risky offerings that deserve wider support than they’ve received. Give his column a look.

     (When you’re done, consider reading a few odd books by another “maverick” who could really use your support.)

     One last thought: How many hours do you work? Why?

     Americans work more than ever before – those of us who do work, that is – which has called to mind the old Law of Diminishing Returns. At some point what we “spend” by working must exceed what we can “buy” with our work and its proceeds. Part of the cost, these days, is attention to non-commercial matters: home, family, neighborhood, church, pastimes, and so forth.

     What do we get from our work? If you like your job there’s satisfaction and personal validation from doing it well. If you like where you work and those you work with, there are satisfactions associated with that. And of course, the remuneration allows us to...what?

     I shan’t go into details, as they vary from worker to worker. But every now and then it’s important to step back from one’s own allocations of time and energy and ask the hard, simple questions: What am I getting out of this? Is it enough? When did I last think about that? Are there other things I’m sloughing that I should re-evaluate?

     I’m in the middle of such a re-evaluation. It can be painful to revisit one’s decisions about such things, especially if some of the most consequential of them were made long ago, by someone who bore your name and wore your flesh but was not who you are today, with your (hopefully) wiser perspective.

     Have a nice day.