My Daughter the Model

Just a brief one tonight.

Monday, we were down in Nashville, visiting my friend Oleg Volk for the eclipse.

While we were there, he took some pictures of us.  The pictures of me are for another post.  For now, I’m talking about my daughter.  In particular, Oleg used my daughter as a model for cover art for a forthcoming novel by Richard F. Weyand.  The author liked the photo and decided to use it for the cover.  And, yes, my daughter got paid for it:

20953845_10212520132333838_6551517657901972827_n

Some other photos from the same trip, both posed and “candid”:

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Trump is a new Hitler?

I have to say it, I miss Jon Stewart.  While he was extremely left-wing, there were limits to his hyperbole and he was willing to poke fun at his own side from time to time.

What we have now is Trevor Noah.  On returning from a recent vacation to South Africa he said “Turns out, I left the third world and landed in the Third Reich.”

Really?  You think America has become the Third Reich?

Let’s look at that, Trevor (I can call you Trevor, right?  On second thought, I don’t care whether you give me permission or not.)

Hitler became Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933.

We are, at this writing, 215 days into Trump’s term.  Let’s compare:

  • Feb 27 (+28 days) Reichstag Fire.
  • Feb 28 (+29 days) Reichstag Fire Decree suspending many key civil liberties of citizens.
  • Mar 22 (+51 days) Dachau Concentration camp opens
    • Also in March (exact day unspecified Max +60)
      • Orianenberg Concentration Camp opens
      • Ofthoven Collective Point opens
      • Oberer Kuhberg concentration camp Opens
  • Apr 1 (+61 days) Anti-Jewish boycott
  • Apr 7 (+67 days) Jews and other political opponents to Nazis banned from civil service positions
  • Apr 25 (+85 days) Limit on number of Jewish students in schools
  • May 10 (+100 days) Mass public burning of “Non-German” books
  • Jun (unspecified date, Maximum +151 days)
    • Breitenau “Wild Camp” greatly expands political prisoners
  •  Jul 5 (+156 days) Kenma Concentration Camp becomes operational
  • Jul 14 (+165 days)  Law requiring forced sterilization of people with mental and physical disabilities enacted. This also included Roma, “asocial elements”, and “Afro Germans.

So, well before this point in Hitler’s term Germany had suspended civil liberties, restricted Jews from civil service jobs and school attendence, boycotted Jewish businesses, had mass, public book burnings, had five concentration camps open for business, and had begun the forced sterilization of “defectives”.

And that’s just the legal actions.  It does not even consider the widespread violence and thuggery going on–not just “offensive speech” but real violence putting real people in real hospitals (or would if they were lucky enough to be allowed to go to a hospital).

Trump?  Trump has appointed a Supreme Court Justice who has said he will follow the law and the Constitution in deciding cases, not whatever happens to be “popular”.  He has ordered the executive branch to remove two regulations before it can pass any new regulation.  Oh, and he has said some things that people consider to be “mean”.

If Trump and his supporters are Nazis, then they are the biggest slackers in history.  More likely they are not and, Trevor Noah and those saying similar things are spouting pure nonsense.

In short, Mr. Noah, in the words of a great philosopher, “You went full retard.  Never go full retard.”

Tolerance and Intolerance

So there’s this going around:

popper paradox

A popular interpretation of this is that it allows the use of force to shut down people who aren’t using force but simply engaging in speech that the person finds objectionable.  Some of the common expressions of this is “bash the fash” and “punch a Nazi”. In neither case do they actually mean folk rounding up minorities or other “undesireables” and sending them to concentration camps or engaging in any other actual violence or use of force.  No, they mean people who simply speak in ways they find objectionable–arguing in favor of policies they don’t like or voting for and speaking in favor of politicians to whom they object.

When you use force to shut down others speech, however repugnant you may find that speech to be, you aren’t resisting intolerance.  You are the intolerance that needs to be resisted.

“But!” Some will say. “Free speech is limited!”

And, to a very limited extent that is true.  There are some very narrowly defined limitations on free speech.  We have slander and libel laws where speech (or print) that is

  1. defamatory
  2. false
  3. made knowing it is false (or with “reckless disregard for the truth”)

is illegal.  We also have laws against incitement to riot and similar laws which basically requires a situation where ones speech (it doesn’t only apply to speech, but speech is what we’re interested in here) can reasonable be expected to lead directly to violence.

 

Now take a look at who are making those kind of statements?  Going to a protest with a lot of angry people saying “Bash the fash” or “Punch a Nazi”?  Um, go read the preceding paragraph again.

History has seen any number of atrocities.  People by and large don’t commit atrocities because they think they’re evil.  They commit atrocities because they think the people they are slaughtering are evil.  The leaders of such movements may be coldly cynical in whipping up a frenzy for their own ends, but they do it by convincing the frenzied that the targets of that frenzy deserve it.

Using violence to shut down opposing ideas is the roadway to atrocity.  It’s broad and well-paved, with a downward slope that makes the trip really, really easy.  And with every step down that road it becomes harder to turn around because turning around would require admitting that you are the villain in the piece–an admission few have the moral courage to make.

As always, the proper response to odious speech is more speech.  If someone speaks out in favor of Nazi values, or Communist values, or Libertarian values, or whatever values you find most objectionable, speak out.  Say why their views are repugnant and why people should follow yours instead.

Don’t use violence to shut down opposing views.  All you do is show the world that you do not trust your own arguments.

And if you don’t trust them, then why in the world should I?

Some more of my daughter’s art.

I’ going to be travelling the next couple of days so there will be no updates.  Sorry about that.  I’m still having to get used to maintain a daily schedule.  Not up to having pages ready to go ahead of time yet.  We’ll get there.

I recently introduced my daughter to blending stubs.  She’s been experimenting with them.  Most of her “models” are pictures of K-Pop stars.  That’s one of her current interests.

20746024_10209064709394645_1203184334748072929_o

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Once Again “Compromise”

 

In 2015, a racist scumbag (I refuse to name him–let his name be lost to history) who shall henceforth be known as “some asshole” shot up a church.  According to his own screed he did this to “inspire” others to rise up and join him in some kind of racist jihad. (Part of the reason I am using that term for “holy war” is because it would annoy the asshole that much more.)

Notice that “inspire” bit.  People weren’t listening to him.  He was a racist asshole and, as such, nobody paid any heed to what he said.  They certainly didn’t join him in his self-proclaimed jihad.

Well, a certain segment immediately rose up and insisted that far from trying to inspire others to his own vile ways that were his own responsibility, he was actually inspired by widespread racism in the US as a whole and in the South in general.  In particular it was those Confederate Flags!

Actually, most of those people wouldn’t recognize the actual Confederate Flag:

255px-flag_of_the_confederate_states_of_america_281861-186329-svg

That was the flag of the Confederate States of America.  How often do you see this flag flying anywhere?  What you see is the following:

battle20flag

Close variants of this flag were the battle flag for the Army of Northern Virginia, the Army of Tennessee, and the second Naval Jack (flag flown at the bow of a ship or boat where an “Ensign” is flown at the stern).  This wasn’t a flag for politicians or decision makers.  It was a flag for the poor saps who fought in the lines and on the ships.  Many of these men were conscripts given no choice in the matter.  Many of the volunteers had no interest in the subject of slavery and just wanted to defend their homes against what they saw as “northern aggression”. (One can believe they were wrong while still recognizing their own position as an honorable one.)

But, the flag had to come down people were told and they started coming down.

That wasn’t enough.

Next it was monuments to generals and soldiers who fought in the war.  The most prominent to come under fire was the Stone Mountain monument but others were also targeted and removed.  Most, if not all, were and continue to be removed based not on votes showing a clear wish of “the people” but on the basis of protests carried out by a tiny fraction of the population who make up for their lack of numbers with the volume of their demands.  In fact, so far as I know, not one was removed based on a popular vote or even a reasonably reliable poll.  Just lots of screams by loud protesters and politicians saying “fine already!”

And the politicians give them what they want.  If the politicians don’t?  Why then the loudest among the protesters will take it anyway as in the case of Durham, NC where vandals pulled down a statue and seemed confused about why they were being arrested for vandalism.  Or even starting to dig up a buried Confederate General.

So would this ongoing removal of memorials be enough?

President Trump suggested that the people going after Confederate memorials now might go after Washington or Jefferson next because they were both slave owners.

Apparently he was right.

CNN commentator “I don’t care if it’s a George Washington statue or a Thomas Jefferson statue or a Robert E. Lee statue they all need to come down”.

A tile decoration in a New York city subway that merely bears a coincidental resemblance to the battle flag/navy jack has to be changed

A pastor in Chicago demands that Washington Park and Jackson Park (named for Andrew Jackson, the founder of the Democrat Party) need to be changed because of their views on slavery.

And if they get their way, will that be enough?

Look, I’ll be blunt here.  A statue is not going to turn an otherwise decent person into a racist.  That a school is named for a person who fought or led troops in the Confederacy isn’t going to make its students suddenly go out and hate black people.  None of this actually perpetuates or creates racism.  And while actual racists might point to those symbols, taking away the symbol isn’t going to make them any less racist.  It just adds fuel, and  a sense of being justified, to their hatred.

The people behind these movements know this.  They are not stupid.  They know that none of this will accomplish anything toward the ending of racism.  So, since they know this will not accomplish their stated goals we have to look elsewhere for what their real goals might be.  Actually, you don’t need to look very far.  The people pushing behind these movements gain power and influence by their perpetuation.

That means that, no, getting whatever they’re demanding now will not be enough.  Declaring “that’s enough” will mean an end to their power and influence.  Nothing will ever satisfy them because for those who have acquired a taste for power and influence that hunger is a bottomless pit that can never be sated.

Giving them what they want, in the hopes that they’ll go away, does not get rid of them.  It merely tells them that they can keep making demands to get still more.  Much like the Danes of a day gone by:

Dane-Geld
Rudyard Kipling

It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: —
“We invaded you last night–we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: —
“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: —

“We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!

Snippet from a Work in Progress

From one of my current works in progress, which I hope to release sometime later this year.


Kreg had not quite reached the board leading across to the barge on which Zhagu’s wagon was secured when he heard a feminine shriek.  Fatigue fell away as he dashed up the board.

The back of Zhagu’s wagon hung open.  Kreg did not see Zhagu anywhere nearby.  Pawfy lay crumpled next to the wagon, his right cheek blazing scarlet in the light of the setting sun, his eye already swelling shut.

A dark form loomed over Fhwey at the back end of the wagon.  The bottom of her tunic was flipped up.  The figure’s hands tore at her breeches.

Fwhey shrieked again.

“Leave…my…sister…alone.” Kreg’s voice cracked with strength that surprised even him.

The dark figure turned.  Kreg recognized Dovthi.

“Sister?” Dovthi sneered. “That tale?  Everyone knows she’s your whore.”

“Let her go, Dovthi,” Kreg said. “This can end right here.”

“You’re right in that.” Dovthi drew his sword. “It ends here, Bvaykoo.” In Dovthi’s mouth, Kreg’s sobriquet was a curse.

Kreg ducked aside at Dovthi’s rush, grateful for the long days Kaila had drilled him in fighting on the tossing deck of a ship.  His own sword whispered out of its sheath.  He tossed the bow aside.

From the corners of his eyes Kreg could see others running toward them.  Kreg thought he recognize Mosho and Zhagu but he could not take time to look to confirm.  Dovthi occupied his attention.

Metal rang against metal as Kreg parried Dovthi’s next attack.  Kreg stepped back at the ferocity of Dovthi’s swing.  Again, Kreg raised the sword, ready to parry, only just before the swords met, Kreg twisted his wrists, dropping the point of the sword as he took another step back.  Dovthi’s sword flew through the space Kreg’s sword had occupied and whistled past Kreg, the point a mere handwidth in front of Kreg’s face.

Not meeting the expected resistance, Dovthi found himself twisting too far in his attack.  Kreg’s own sword came up again.  Kreg stepped forward, extended.  The point of his sword struck just below Dovthis’ right arm and penetrated.  Kreg withdrew, pulling the sword free.  Blood sprayed in spurts from the wound.

Dovthi turned back, raising the sword for another strike.  Kreg caught the strike on his own blade before it could gain any power.  He slid his blade down Dovthi’s hopping it over the guard and raked the tip along Dovthi’s forearm.  More blood spattered and the sword dropped from Dovthi’s hand.

Dovthi’s left hand came across, seeming almost to float of its own accord, to cover the wound in Dovthi’s arm while his life pumped out of his side.  He sagged to his knees staring up at Kreg with hatred that Kreg did not understand.  After long seconds, like a felled tree, Dovthi toppled to the deck.

Kreg gasped for breath and looked to the shore.  Mosho stood at the foot of the plank that led from boat to shore.  Zhagu stood just behind him, one hand over the lower half of his face, his expression unreadable.

“The only reason I do not kill you right now,” Mosho said, “is that I saw Dovthi draw first.”

The manifest unfairness of Mosho’s words struck Kreg like a blow.

“You will leave now,” Mosho said. “Leave and do not return.  If I ever see you again, I will kill you.”

Kreg’s hand tightened on the grip of his sword.

Mosho smiled. “Do you think you can take me?  Hwume!”

Beyond Mosho, on the shore, Hwume met Kreg’s eyes and shrugged.  He drew an arrow and fit it to the string of his bow.

Kreg nodded. “I’ll go.”

Kreg wiped the sword on Dovthi’s tunic and slammed it back into its scabbard.  His eyes dared Mosho to demand its return.

Mosho said nothing.

Kreg looked to where Pawfy lay.  Fhwey had dropped from the back of the wagon and huddled next to him.

“I’m sorry.” Kreg squeezed his eyes tight.  He had hoped to help them.  His one consolation was that they at least in no worse state than when he had found them on the streets.

Kreg walked to the end of the boarding plank and looked down, meeting Mosho’s eyes.  Mosho stood aside.  Kreg marched down the plank to the riverbank, then up the hill, mercenaries and merchants parting before him.


If you liked the above, it’s from my sequel to my fantasy novel The Hordes of Chanakra.  You can find the first volume here:

$4.99 in Kindle Store, Free to read in Kindle Unlimited, $14.99 in Paperback

Pulled into an alternate world mired in the middle ages, Kreg finds allies in Kaila, a rough swordmistress, and her wizardly father. He’s also found their foes – an unending horde pouring forth from the small nation next door.

Now, he’s in a race against time to find the true source, before everything he cares about ends in fire and death!

People are out of their minds.

So there is this:

https://streamable.com/s/qblpg/ixinsh

(Saved the video as an MP4 in case the source gets pulled but my current WP account doesn’t allow uploading videos.)

This is a particularly egregious example but it’s an example of something I have seen here and there for some time with some growing frequency, folk wanting to start a race war between their minority group and, well, the rest of us.

And what’s this claim that there are more of them then there are of us?  Perhaps he doesn’t know what “minority” means?  Or maybe his neighborhood has a high percentage of a particular racial type and he just doesn’t get that it’s not necessarily reflective of the rest of the country.

So my reply to this rather ignorant and pathetic individual:

Child, there are over 100 million gun owners in the United States. Use that “technology” you are touting so much to look up what the real numbers of people of different backgrounds in the US are.

Bluntly, if every single one of the black adults in the US were among that number they would still outnumber your “side” two two one. That’s not counting that they have enough extra guns for each, on average, to hand two to friends who don’t currently have guns.

Now, many of them hate the white supremacist types as much as you do, even while recognizing their right to gather, speak, and march the same as they recognize those rights for you and those like you.  Remember, that “Unite the Right” group (what a misnomer) numbered 400 out of about 300 _million_ people.  If there were a thousand for every one who didn’t show up that would still be less than 2/10 of a percent of the total population.  They’re nothing.  The only reason anybody gives them any notice at all is that the media gives them an inordinate amount of attention. (Ask yourself why that is.)

So, for the most part, those “white supremacist” types are nothing more than meaningless noise of the “let him speak that men may know him mad” type. Most folk are just as opposed to them as you are.

Unless.

You seem to want to make it a purely race thing. Anyone not of your skin color is the enemy. If you do that, you force people who would otherwise be on your side into the enemy camp. Simple self preservation will require them to fight back.

Now go look at those numbers up above again. I would strongly advice against you pulling that race war trigger.

You really would not like the result.