Let the Joker Go Wild: Reblogged from According to Hoyt

Okay, we’re in a pickle.

We are in risk of losing the republic. And if we lose it it’s going to be very hard to claw our way back. It could take centuries. So I’m going to suggest we don’t lose it. I’m going to suggest we refuse to stop being Americans. In fact, I’m suggesting we become so American they can’t hold us, and have to vomit us forth whole.

They want us? They don’t know what they want. They want to be our rulers? Do you know that the US is the only country in which presidents age 10 years per year in office? (Which means Joey the pedo, Xi’s turtle boy, will be a mummy in two months.) And do you know how much more they’d age and how much harder it would be if Americans, instead of trying to be good and cooperative and productive citizens, just went out of their way to be obstinate pains in the ass?

This is something we the people can do. Something that doesn’t depend on courts, or institutions, and which is not the fourth box. G-d knows it might yet come to the fourth box (the magic eight ball tells me “it’s almost inevitable”) but perhaps not. And if it does, maybe we can be in a position of strength when the music starts to play.

And yes, I’ll explain:

If the election results stand, despite obvious, obscene, skirts-up fraud on the street, in front of G-d and everyone (And please tiresome trolls, go here and read this, and learn to count above five. And stop trying to comment. I’m just going to spam you. Tell Comrade Xi he doesn’t pay you enough. Even better, kick him in the balls. Be a little American, you. Learn from Hong Kong.) and if they sit Gropey China Joe and Commie LaWhorish, I expect war by July, but it could take a year or more. Only because our side is slow to anger. On the other hand — and the left might want to remember this — we are ACTUALLY very thorough when we flip over. Y’all cosplay revolution. We just get pissed and steamroll everything. Remember that. It won’t be pretty.

The problem is if they have at least nominal power, they will have at least some of the armed forces. Which means the conflict will go on forever. Unless we soften the hell out of them, first, and give them nervous breakdowns. (Which is not as hard as it seems, since most of them are extreme neurotics.)

If OTOH Trump carries this in the courts, the left is going to try to amp up the sort of shit they’ve been doing for the next four years and burn the country down and destroy our economy, unless we let them have their little red wagon and fifty scoops of commie cream.

One way or another, we need to fight them. We. Us. Right now. On the ground. And not with bullets.

I confess until this morning I was in flat despair over how to do it, until Larry Correia, bless him, threw off an off-hand comment:

“Yet while I watched this, Twitter kept deleting the accounts sharing the file list. They’d block somebody, and then ten minutes later someone else would share it and get blocked too. In the half an hour or so I scrolled through dead voters the people sharing the list kept vanishing. It was kind of amazing to watch real time. But one would get blocked and somebody else would take their place.If the thing that saves America from turning into a cyberpunk dystopia run by ruthless tech oligarchs… is 4chan… I’m gonna laugh because I truly did not see that coming. : )”

Larry Correia

I’m not sure about the history of 4chan BUT it is an American thing. Sure, it’s all over the world, but it works like America only crossed with where the devil goes potty, of course.
Like them we’re autistic, we’re broken, we’re irreverent, we’re unique among the nations of the world. And that’s what we need to play to.

A lot of you play various forms of RPG. I don’t. Not because I disapprove of it, but because I never had the patience to do it and because the one game I played “felt” too much like writing, and NO ONE pays me to play these, while they pay me for books. (If you want to pay me to play RPG I’m willing.)

But I think those of you who play RPG will agree: The monster always has a flaw. It might be a stupid flaw, like you need to hit it on this one dime-sized spot behind the left ear. BUT THE MONSTER ALWAYS HAS A FLAW.

And here I must smack all of you, and me too, because we forgot to be Americans these last four years, and we tried to fight the monster on its terms. That’s the way to lose. That’s the way to ALWAYS lose.

For four years, while we held the presidency and one house, we acted like losers, and screamed because we let the bureaucrats pull our strings and get under our skin. NO MORE.

The left’s flaw is a mile wide. No, seriously. We don’t see it, because we don’t fully understand them, the way they don’t understand us. We’re better at predicting them, but we look at them and go “How would someone get so fucked up.”

Well, that’s a subject for an entire dissertation, but what you need to GET this are two keys:

a) They are more social than us. FAR MORE SOCIAL. They take their cues from where they perceive the herd to be. And they’ll accept all sorts of bizarre things, for the warm fuzzies of belonging. They’d rather be miserable with the group, than happy alone. They might not understand “happy alone.” (Even though they have an image of themselves as low heroes. ALL OF THEM. Go figure.) This is why there are no decentralized movements on their side. There must be a leader to follow. To be outside the group is their biggest fear.

b) They never had to think about their positions. To stay on the left, because they’ve controlled the culture so long that to be on the left, all you have to do is coast along, taking what professors and authority figures tell you as revealed truth.
This means their opinions are very vulnerable. We read their sites — though it needs blood pressure medication — but they want ours shut down, because they can’t stand any intellectual challenge to a system they didn’t reason themselves into. And they can’t let go of the system, because it would destroy them to be outside the group.

Their flaw is composed of exactly that. They can’t imagine anyone not acting like them. They think the things they do cause them to be liked and belong, or to intimidate some horrifying — but always laughably weak — other.
IOW they take themselves VERY VERY VERY seriously. They’re important people, doncha know. And the rest of us would be like them if we were as smart as they are.
Their biggest flaw is their self importance, their utter seriousness, and their stupid inability to see that others are different from them.

Look, Zombie Biden and his handler Roundheels McClownLaugh want to take us into — duh — a Chinese like system of credits and silencing, and gullags and the whole panoply of horrors of the Fascist mind.

Do you ever wonder why Fascism took so well in Germany and China? Compliant population. (Communist terror is different, but that also requires a different type of mentality. And yes, the idiots think they’re communist, but as we found out under Obama, they’re mostly fascist.) That’s cultural. And we don’t have it. Though we’ve been much too nice for too long.

So, be American. See, I was in Portugal when checking speed by radar was introduced. The entire extent of their non-compliance (and Portugal isn’t precisely law abiding, itself) was the blinking lights of drivers on the other lane to warn you. In the states? My husband had a little thing on his dashboard that warned him to slow down because radar was being taken.

Someone had designed this thing to circumvent enforcement measures. SOMEONE HAD SOLD IT. It was in every catalogue at the time. And the populace GLEEFULLY embraced it.

All of the fascist (well, commie too) enforcement and spying services call for constant surveillance, total vision into what you do on line, and who you hang out with, and what you read.

What actually is wrong with you people with tech knowledge? I need a software spoofer that shows them every day first thing in the morning I visit the Daily Worker. At noon I read the Nation. And I post comments at whatever the heck antifa uses to organize.

I’m sure a few of you geniuses can do that.

What about those who aren’t very techy? What can we do?

Well, you know, kiddies, the problem we face is that most of the populace SIMPLY doesn’t follow politics. They don’t. They just see a digest and THINK this means that it’s all above board, etc. I mean, they see the election map and think it’s real, and that it must be absolutely true.

So? Make doggerel verse. Find out how to rhyme something with Commie Lawhorish and laptop from hell, and election fraud. For extra credit make a stamp or stickers. Put them on phone poles. Put them on bus stops. You have to use a public toilet? Put it there. Let the knowledge penetrate from below. It doesn’t even have to be very funny. People tend to startle-laugh at those who speak the forbidden.

Oh, and Joe Lying and Commie LaWhorish are going to lock down the country and take the economy down for three months. Which should finish us off.
Don’t let them finish us off. Seriously. This can go anywhere from refusing to obey stay at home orders (do you know how easy it is to fake the essential work papers? I mean most are printed on a home printer. And you can put a phone # on them that’s a buddy’s who will vouch for you.) to creating an underground economy. This is hardest, btw. for distributing food, but we’re more or less managing it now. Find a local rancher or farmer. And create networks of friends till you find one.

And while this might seem like an odd time to start a business, it is the perfect time. For instance younger son and I are going to start a non fic, subscription only site, where there will be something every day of the week (Off on weekends) by one of us. And I’m goinng to make a subscription only site for my earcs for fiction. Some of you have said you’d subscribe to the daily output? Well, you might end up reading three novels in chunks, at once, but you’ll be able to do it.

What can you do that you can make money from? Most Americans have more hobbies than you can shake a big stick at, from handywork to oh filk. (BTW a filk about Commie LaWhorish and Zombie Joe and the election heist would be hilarious. Also, who knows, people might pay or send you a tip for it.) And if the stores are going to be closed, we can spin our own, right? DO IT. START NOW.

Have you ever seen a two year old who doesn’t want to go somewhere being carried by a parent? The parent is almost ten times that kid’s size, but if the kid is determined, the carrying can become living hell.

That’s what I want you to do. They want power so badly, and they think we’ll be compliant sheep?

Borrow a motto from Hong Kong and be like water. Be funny, be fluid, move from thing to thing, frustrate their attempts at tracking and controlling us.

Start NOW. Start by disseminating the story of Grand Theft Election in cartoon and song, in meme, in funny rhyme and dramatic play that reveals just what corrupt and ridiculous the hell spawn who’d rule us are.

Be the first kid on your block to give the left a “curl on the floor in the fetal position crying tears and snot” mental breakdown. Do it today.

No power on Earth can make you be compliant and gentle and sweet.

So don’t.

BE AMERICAN. With both feet. And as hard as you can.

A Matter of Probabilities

Was it Michigan that had a big chunk of votes, 136,000, that came in where every. single. one. was for Biden and none for Trump or any of the other candidates on that ballot? An excuse I heard given was they were mail in ballots and Democrats were more likely to vote by mail than Republicans.

Really? That’s the excuse?

Well, as a physicist I do know a thing or two about numbers and probability. Let’s say that about 40 percent of the electorate were Trump voters (steel man argument–assume that he really, truly would lose that race without shenanigans). Now, let’s further say that Trump voters are 1000 times less likely than Biden voters to vote by mail. And let’s just discount the minor party candidates, again, steelmanning as including them would actually weaken the explanation for the big bolus of Biden (only) ballots. That means that any random mail ballot would be 99,96% likely to be a Biden vote and only 0.04% likely to be a Trump vote.

Probabilities multiply. The odds of a fair flip of a fair coin coming up heads two times in a row is 1/4 ((1/2)*(1/2)). Three times in a row 1/8 ((1/2)*(1/2)*(1/2)). And so on. So we can do the same with chances of Biden votes in a row. One vote for Biden: 99.96% Two in a row: 99.92% Three 99.88%. Ten: 99.60% (See, the “explainer” says, “it’s not at all unlikely”)

But we go on. 100? 96.08% 500? 81.87% 1000? 67.03% (Um, things are getting a little bit shakier here, but still more likely than not).

5000? 13.53% (Okay, it could happen.)
10,000? 1.83% (Well, longshots _do_ come in sometimes.)
20,000? 0.03% (Um, well, surely something like that could happen _once_ in the history of voting. Right?)
50,000? .000000205% (It’s a big universe. Somewhere, sometime, a longshot like that just _has_ to come in.)
100,000? 4.21E-16% (Anyone want to try defending this one?)
136,000? 2.34E-22%

To give you an idea of just how preposterous that number is, there are only about 1E21 stars in the Universe.

If they had bothered to actually mix it up a bit they might have been able to claim these were real results. But, no, every single ballot for their preferred candidate in a chunk big enough as to produce utterly ridiculous results. But they didn’t bother to disquise it because they figured nobody would hold them accountable for it.

But, in this case, people did. There was a lot of “whoa! Are you kidding me” at the jump in the count for Biden with no increase for anyone else. And so we got “Oh, it was a data entry error. Our bad. Here. Fixed.”

Do they actually think that makes it better? Seriously? First off, how does a “data entry error” record 136,000 votes for one candidate and none for any others? How does a person “fat finger” such a number? Especially when counting was supposed to be close for the night anyway? But, okay, data entry error (remember: steelmanning). So, if it’s possible to enter 136,000 votes for one candidate by “accident” in a situation where no other votes were being recorded, how can we trust that other “errors” weren’t and aren’t being made where they are not so obvious, where other, real votes are going in so that a bunch of votes entered by “accident” for one candidate is not so clearly spurious? How many of the other votes recorded were also “data entry errors”?

How can we trust the results when they can make that kind of “mistake”? And is Michigan uniquely bad? Can someone explain why Michigan would be so very much worse than all of the remaining 49 States? Because if there isn’t some reason to demonstrate that Michigan is uniquely bad then we can’t trust any of the others either.

And isn’t it strange that these errors all go one way. The probability equation is a bit more complicated than that used up at the beginning of this post, but the general gist is the same. The probability that these “errors” going one way by a large preponderance happens by chance becomes vanishingly small.

There’s an old saw: Once is chance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. And we’re well, well past “enemy action.

Are We the People going to let them get away with it?

Well They Seem Nice

Short one today. Saw this on FaceBook.

Reeducation camps “like China”. Banning voting for people over political views. Elimination being “over-egging the pudding.” (You’ve heard the term “damning with faint praise”? Well, this is the converse.)

And they have the gall, the gall, to say “Trumpers are not Americans.”
If these folk actually _win_ the election we’ll be armpits deep in blood before we’re through. It’s no longer a matter of “Oh, we lost this time. We’ll try to figure out how to win next time.” It’s a matter of “we lost to folk who want to destroy us and our line, render us extinct.”

That never ends well. Crack open a history book.

Advice and Consent of the Senate

So now that Amy Coney Barrett has been confirmed and sworn in as a new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, many of the usual suspects are griping once again about how “unfair” and “hypocritical” it is that the Senate didn’t “advise and consent” on Obama’s nomination of Garland to the seat vacated by the death of Scalia. It was their job, these folk say, and they didn’t do it.

“Advice and consent of the Senate” is not under Article 1 of the Constitution, the duties, powers, and responsibilities of Congress. It’s under Article 2, the duties, powers, and responsibilities of the President. It’s not something the Senate has to give. It’s something the President has to get. It’s up to the President to nominate candidates acceptable to the Senate.

If the candidates are not acceptable to the Senate, that’s on the President. Now, a President might decide it’s better to leave a seat vacant rather than nominate someone acceptable to the Senate if he (or she, as the case may come) is truly at odds with what the Senate will want and hope that a future Senate will instead be more amenable (or he/she will be out of office and it will no longer be his/her problem). That’s a valid choice but, again, the President’s responsibility. Because it’s the President’s job to get the advice and consent of the Senate, not the Senate’s to blindly give it. Article 2, not Article 1.

When Mitch McConnell talked about “election year” when it came to filling, or not, the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Scalia’s death, he was being diplomatic when the real answer was “there is simply no way in Hell that this President will nominate someone acceptable to this Senate. We know from his past history that he won’t even consider the other side’s views when they run contrary to what he wants. So there’s no point in even wasting time on it.” He could have said that but instead he gave a face-saving answer for the lame duck President who was on his way out the door. He was simply being a lot more polite than I would have been (which is one of the reasons I can never go into politics).

Obama, nearing the end of his second term, was going to be leaving office. That wasn’t even in question. And given his history the odds of his proposing someone at all “moderate” (as anyone but a far leftist would view it) were slim to none. So, better to wait, for the next President. That was, in fact, a gamble. Polls were favoring Hillary (and continued to do so right up until election night). Nobody who knew anything about her would expect her to nominate someone less left-wing than Obama’s pick. And while there was precedent for leaving a Supreme Court seat vacant for up to five years because the Senate was unhappy with the President’s picks, as things turned out it would be not one, but three. It simply would have been unrealistic to expect the Senate to have the courage to say “No” to folk who want to reinterpret the Constitution in ways never intended by the folk who wrote it or simply outright ignore it to the extent of leaving three seats vacant (seat vacated by Scalia’s death, seat vacated by Kennedy’s retirement, and seat vacated by Ginsburg’s death).

On the other hand, if the Republican Candidate won–which as it turned out did happen–then Scalia’s replacement, and those that followed, could be filled by folk who would take a more originalist view of the Constitution. The new justice (Justices as it turned out) would rule more closely according to the law, as written, and the Constitution, as written as opposed to the political fads of the moment.

Of course, the Left gets even more outraged by that idea. “Originalist” is “extremist” to them.

The question is: how did the position that a legal document means what it meant, using the public meaning of the words within it as it was written, become an “extremist position”? The Constitution says what it says and it does not say what it does not say. You cannot legitimately change it by simply declaring the words to mean something other than their public meaning at the time of its signing and ratification. You certainly can’t do that with any other contracts. Would it need to change as situations change? Of course. And there is a mechanism within it to do so. Contracts can always be renegotiated so long as all parties agree to the new terms.

And here we get to the real complaint. It’s not “election year”. It’s not “the Biden rule” (which was never actually a rule). Those are just rhetoric, excuses, behind the real reason they object to Barret’s nomination. It’s that they want someone who will “creatively” interpret law and the Constitution to give them what they want, no matter how tortuously they have to twist language to do so.

And they will use any excuse they can dream up to do so.

Confessions of a Libertarian Goth: A Periodic, Ongoing, Blast from the Past.

Pic amusing but not really related to the post.

I’m going to ramble here a bit.

When I first started exploring Goth subculture I saw posts that said that Goths come from all walks of life and all political persuasions.  However, in my own experience I’ve seen more of a left-wing bent.  One link I found (not going to link to it) that purported in a forum to be to “right-wing goths” and had an appropriate sounding URL but led to a porn site (in any case, domain is now for sale).  Apparently the poster thought that was a prank worthy of a giggle.  I supposed a kinder interpretation might be that the registration on an old domain had expired and a porn site had bought it up invalidating the old link.

In either case, it wasn’t what I was looking for.

I went looking online searching for other libertarian (the lack of capitalization matters) Goth’s.  Found one person on twitter from the UK who identifies as Libertarian Goth.  A couple of passing references to individuals here and there some of which were at least “used to”. (Goths like to say “it’s not just a phase” but for some people it is.  Young people go through phases as they try out different things to find which “fit” them.  For some that final fit is “goth”.  For others, they try it and it’s not.  For them it is “just a phase.”)  That pretty much summed up what I found on Google.  Both Bing and Duckduckgo had an earlier iteration of this post as the number two item (which may tie more to some cookie on my computer than to the actual search position) but otherwise was the same.

There just doesn’t seem to be any significant presence out there for libertarian or politically conservative goths.

To be honest, I tend to be pretty much a loner as a Goth.  In Indianapolis, where I live, when I first went looking there was exactly one “Goth Club” and even that is just one night a week at a club that serves other segments of the community the rest of the week. And since I’m older (and need my recovery time) and have to go to work in the mornings, staying out late to party on a weeknight just doesn’t work.  Now we appear to have two:  Spellbound Indy’s “Darkwave DJ Dance Night” (Darkwave–close enough considering the lack of other options)  and Sins of the Flesh Goth Night at the Black Circle Brewing Company.  Both appear to be monthly, one in the middle of the month, one at the end.

I’ve checked both. Sins of the Flesh was…of limited interest to me. I can’t really drink beer, cider, or wine because they spike my blood sugar which makes things awkward and it just didn’t have the “vibe” I was hoping for. Spellbound Indy I enjoyed. Mind you, I have my own issues with social awkwardness but it was nice to dress up, go out, have a couple of drinks (they have a good bar there), listen to some good music, and people watch. Unfortunately, it has been shut down since June thanks to the COVID stuff.

For years “Goth-lite” or “Entry-Level-Goth” was a better description for me.  I tried the “Cowboy Goth” look for a while, but in the end it didn’t suit.  Recently I’ve decided that, since my religion of choice is Asatru, I should see if I could create “Viking Goth” as a look.  My results have been mixed.  I’d love to say that adding a sword or an axe to an outfit is always appropriate, it can be a problem when having to deal with mundanes.  For a while I’ve had to back off a little bit for personal reasons but lately I’ve gotten back into experimenting to find my personal “style.” These days I tend to favor a more “Romantic Goth” look, brocade vests, cravats worn loose, satin shirts, and various rather dressy shoes and boots.

Let me give you a little bit of my background as it relates to being a “libertarian Goth”.

When I was a child, for a long time, black was my favorite color.  This really wasn’t a Goth thing.  It was late 60’s.  This was before Punk was even a thing, let alone the various post-punk movements which included Dark Wave and Goth.  Still, when you add in that my household were big fans of the original run of Dark Shadows, it was perhaps a sign of things to come.

Time passed, and I just missed the early days of the Goth movement in England in the mid-80’s.  I mean just missed it.  You see, I was in the Air Force at the time and stationed in England from 1983-1985.  I’d finished training and, well, I’d started buying clothes for off-duty wear.  Looking back those clothes were pushing in the direction of what could now be called “trad-goth”.  Being in the military there were limits on what I could do with hair, and piercings were right out.  Being a man in the military with even simple lobe piercings is a great deal of trouble.

About that time, one of my co-workers who was living “on the economy” as we said in the military (meaning he had an apartment off base rather than living in dormitory accommodations).  I don’t know how he managed it since, as I recall he was single and the same rank I was.  His name was Patrick Lince.  Later, at a different posting, we became better friends than we were at this first one.  During that time in England he had a relative, a young woman, a sister or cousin or something like that, visiting him.  He mentioned that she had her hair dyed purple.  I remember thinking to myself “I could never be interested in a woman with purple hair.” Looking back, I think I was in “he doth protest too much” mode on that.  Once, a number of us from the shop were invited over to Pat’s place to socialize and play Trivial Pursuit.  Pat’s relative was there so I got to meet her.  She was a perfectly nice young lady that was a pleasure to be around.  This not being a romance novel, there was no “chemistry” and we certainly didn’t become involved.  I’m not even sure she was even aware of my existence except as “that stranger at the party.” Still, what it did was show me that my preconceptions on unconventional fashion were unfounded.  I couldn’t consider it for myself–not then, not in the Air Force–but it was no longer taboo.

As an aside on that note, I later came across an issue of World’s Finest comics (I was an avid comics fan).  That series features Superman and Batman team-ups.  In this issue they were seeking a lost heiress.  Batman showed Superman a picture of the heiress.

Superman: “She has green hair.  That’s some kind of rebellion thing, isn’t it?”
Batman: “Used to be.  Now it’s just fashion.” (Today, the “rebellion” aspect seems to be ascendant among certain groups but for many it still remains “just fashion” and their “personal style.”)

As you can see, I was moving in a “goth” direction.  Then someone took me aside and “explained” that if I wanted to be attractive to young women I needed to start wearing bright colors and that my darker ensembles were a put-off.

Being irredeemably heterosexual–and there was certainly nothing wrong with my hormones–I took this advice to heart.

It didn’t work.

It really, really didn’t work.

Didn’t help that all the “fashion advice” in the world couldn’t change that I was an “odd”, who suffers from crippling social anxiety and a complete lack of “getting” social cues.

Still, the habits stuck for a long, long time.  I slipped into uncomfortable mundanity. (I don’t care, Spell Check.  That is too a word.)

During all this time, I nurtured a deep and abiding distrust of government.  It started when I was very young but especially blossomed in the years post-Air-Force.  I’d always been a fairly small-government conservative.  I didn’t so much change as think through my positions more and try to make them more consistent. (Do I still have inconsistencies?  Since I’m human that’s going to happen.  I try to work things through and make them consistent but that’s an ongoing process which will likely continue to my dying day.)

Fast Forward.  Some years back, however, I came across several books by John Ringo.  He introduced me to music that didn’t so much drag me out of the musical rut I’d been stuck in as blast me out of it with a cannon.  Dragonforce.  Nightwish.  And this group called The Cruxshadows.

Oh.  My.  God.

The Cruxshadows.  Some sources called them “Dark Wave”.  Others called them “Goth.” Well, I’m not really clear on the difference.  But…wow.  Dark music, but music that honors concepts like self-sacrifice and martial virtue that resonated with my own political philosophy.

I expanded from that starting point exploring other bands.  Within Temptation.  More Nightwish.  Evanescence and their “spin off” band We are the Fallen (Some folk call Evanescence “Emo”, some say “too ‘pop’ to be…’, and yet I’ve also seen them on lists of “Greatest goth bands”, so I dunno. I like them).  Bauhaus. The Cure.  Souxie & the Banshees (in an interview she swore up and down she was not Goth, but others drop her in that category).  Lacuna Coil.  Epica.

Well, I could go on and on.

I’m not a particular fan of Bauhas, I’m afraid. Thought I’d have to turn in my goth card over that. But I do like Sisters of Mercy, the 60 Eyes, Joy Division, The Cure (their older “early gothic phase” stuff mostly), The Cult, and Siouxie & the Banshees. There’s a more recent group, O. Children, that I’ve been looking into. I’m also a big fan of a lot of gothic/symphonic metal so, kind of blending goth and metalhead.

A lot of the music fits with my personal philosophies surprisingly well.  And a lot doesn’t but it’s still good music.

But, I encounter so very few people out there who combine both my philosophy of “leave government out of things, and no, there ought not be a law” with the enjoyment of the darker side that I get from Goth/Gothic Metal music and subculture that I often feel very much alone.

But that’s okay.  Being alone in a crowd that does not understand…is Goth. (Not only goth, perhaps, but definitely goth.)

You Can’t Stop the Signal, Mal.

Reblogged from Sarah A. Hoyt.

As most of you guys know for many years now, Glenn Reynolds, of instapundit (where I post as the “night DJ” most nights) had done a weekly column in USA Today for years.

Frankly in light of a few off-putting moves over the years, the fact they still published the boss was one of the things that I held onto as a sign there was still some sanity at the USA Today, and it made me less p*ssed off whenever I got a “free” copy at my hotel room.

For the first, time ever, they refused to run his column. So he ran it unedited on his own blog.

Needless to say, it involved the Hunter Biden story. Which is, of course, something we peasants can’t be allowed to know in detail, because if we did, we’d also know the Big Guy is snugly kept in Fascist China’s pocket and that a vote for Biden is a vote to subjugate the US to China.

I find it interesting they decided to do this to Glenn, who has more than once proved the power of the New Media. Not the social media, not the mass media, but those of us, tyros, and independents who do this because we care about the truth. We also care about reality. Let’s show these would-be-aristoi there are unintended consequences. Let’s Streisand Effect them.

So, below I’m reproducing the full text of the boss’s column. And I ask you, all of you who have blogs, to do the same. Sure only one or two people might see it on your blog. But it’s not the size of the pebble thrown into the ocean: it’s the size of the ripples.

Ripple away. They can’t stop the signal, Mal.

BIG TECH BURNED BY BIDEN BLUNDER

Glenn Harlan Reynolds

In my 2019 book, The Social Media Upheaval, I warned that the Big Tech companies — especially social media giants like Facebook and Twitter — had grown into powerful monopolists, who were using their power over the national conversation to not only sell ads, but also to promote a political agenda. That was pretty obvious last year, but it was even more obvious last week, when Facebook and Twitter tried to black out the New York Post’s blockbuster report about emails found on a laptop abandoned by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

The emails, some of which have been confirmed as genuine with their recipients, show substantial evidence that Hunter Biden used his position as Vice President Joe Biden’s son to extract substantial payments from “clients” in other countries. There are also photos of Hunter with a crack pipe, and engaging in various other unsavory activities. And they demolished the elder Biden’s claim that he never discussed business with his son.

That’s a big election-year news story. Some people doubted its genuineness, and of course it’s always fair to question a big election-year news story, especially one that comes out shortly before the election. (Remember CBS newsman Dan Rather’s promotion of what turned out to be forged memos about George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service?)

But the way you debate whether a story is accurate or not is by debating. (In the case of the Rather memos, it turned out the font was from Microsoft Word, which of course didn’t exist back during the Vietnam War era.) Big Tech could have tried an approach that fostered such a debate. But instead of debate, they went for a blackout: Both services actually blocked links to the New York Post story. That’s right: They blocked readers from discussing a major news story by a major paper, one so old that it was founded by none other than Alexander Hamilton.

I wasn’t advising them — they tend not to ask me for my opinion — but I would have advised against such a blackout. There’s a longstanding Internet term called “the Streisand effect,” going back to when Barbara Streisand demanded that people stop sharing pictures of her beach house. Unsurprisingly, the result was a massive increase in the number of people posting pictures of her beach house. The Big Tech Blackout produced the same result: Now even people who didn’t care so much about Hunter Biden’s racket nonetheless became angry, and started talking about the story.

As lefty journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote in The Intercept, Twitter and Facebook crossed a line far more dangerous than what they censored. Greenwald writes: “Just two hours after the story was online, Facebook intervened. The company dispatched a life-long Democratic Party operative who now works for Facebook — Andy Stone, previously a communications operative for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, among other D.C. Democratic jobs — to announce that Facebook was ‘reducing [the article’s] distribution on our platform’: in other words, tinkering with its own algorithms to suppress the ability of users to discuss or share the news article. The long-time Democratic Party official did not try to hide his contempt for the article, beginning his censorship announcement by snidely noting: ‘I will intentionally not link to the New York Post.’”

“Twitter’s suppression efforts went far beyond Facebook’s. They banned entirely all users’ ability to share the Post article — not just on their public timeline but even using the platform’s private Direct Messaging feature.”

“Early in the day, users who attempted to link to the New York Post story either publicly or privately received a cryptic message rejecting the attempt as an ‘error.’ Later in the afternoon, Twitter changed the message, advising users that they could not post that link because the company judged its contents to be ‘potentially harmful.’ Even more astonishing still, Twitter locked the account of the New York Post, banning the paper from posting any content all day and, evidently, into Thursday morning.”

This went badly. The heads Facebook and of Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, are now facing Senate subpoenas,the RNC has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, arguing that Twitter’s action in blacking out a damaging story constituted an illegal in-kind donation to the Biden Campaign, and most significantly, everyone is talking about the story now, with many understandably assuming that if the story were false, it would have been debunked rather than blacked out.

CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted:  ”Congrats to Twitter on its Streisand Effect award!!!” Big Tech shot itself in the foot, and it didn’t stop the signal.

Regardless of who wins in November, it’s likely that there will be substantial efforts to rein in Big Tech. As Greenwald writes, “State censorship is not the only kind of censorship. Private-sector repression of speech and thought, particularly in the internet era, can be as dangerous and consequential. Imagine, for instance, if these two Silicon Valley giants united with Google to declare: henceforth we will ban all content that is critical of President Trump and/or the Republican Party, but will actively promote criticisms of Joe Biden and the Democrats. 

“Would anyone encounter difficulty understanding why such a decree would constitute dangerous corporate censorship? Would Democrats respond to such a policy by simply shrugging it off on the radical libertarian ground that private corporations have the right to do whatever they want? To ask that question is to answer it.”

“To begin with, Twitter and particularly Facebook are no ordinary companies. Facebook, as the owner not just of its massive social media platform but also other key communication services it has gobbled up such as Instagram and WhatsApp, is one of the most powerful companies ever to exist, if not the most powerful.”

He’s right. And while this heavyhanded censorship effort failed, there’s no reason to assume that other such efforts won’t work in the future. Not many stories are as hard to squash as a major newspaper’s front page expose during an presidential election.

As I wrote in The Social Media Upheaval, the best solution is probably to apply antitrust law to break up these monopolies: Competing companies would police each other, and if they colluded could be prosecuted under antitrust law. There are also moves to strip them of their immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects them from being sued for things posted or linked on their sites on the theory that they are platforms, not publishers who make publication decisions. And Justice Clarence Thomas has recently called for the Supreme Court to revisit the lower courts’ interpretation of Section 230, which he argues has been overbroad. A decade ago there would have been much more resistance to such proposals, but Big Tech has tarnished its own image since then.

Had Facebook and Twitter approached this story neutrally, as they would have a decade ago, it would probably already be old news to a degree — as Greenwald notes, Hunter’s pay-for-play efforts were already well known, if not in such detail — but instead the story is still hot. More importantly, their heavy handed action has brought home just how much power they wield, and how crudely they’re willing to wield it. They shouldn’t be surprised at the consequences.

My Life, Part Thirteen: Butch

Image is stock photo and not actually representative of Butch.

Not long after my family moved into the new house on Greenwood Drive (see Part 4) my mother brought home a stray dog which she named Christie. Christie was as sweet tempered a dog as you could imagine, very well behaved including being completely housebroken, and absolutely adored my mother. She was also pregnant.

Christie only broke housetraining once. We had been gone for a weekend and came home to find she had been locked in the house and had lost control right next to the back door. She tried, but not having hands with opposable thumbs she couldn’t manage the door.

My mother set up a box in a corner for Christie. When she went into labor my mother was there and, for the first puppy, she had her head in my mother’s lap. After the first one came, she curled up herself as if to say, as my mother described it, “Okay, I’ve got this now.”

Christie dropped five puppies. In the ensuing weeks, the puppies eyes opened and they started getting up and about and roaming the house. We never had to house train them. Christie took care of that. She would take them outside and bring them back in. She was one smart dog.

In due time, once the puppies were weaned, we offered them for adoption “free to good home.” Four of them were quickly snapped up. The fifth, whom we’d named “Butch”, nobody would take, not even free. He was just too ugly for anybody to want.

And so, Butch became my dog. My mother said he was a “springer spaniel (thus the pic up top) beagle mix”. Maybe. The conformation was similar once he grew and the coloration pattern was similar although white and a very light tan, much lighter than the brown in the pic.

I didn’t think him ugly even as the puppy that nobody else wanted. I loved him dearly. My mother insisted that I be the one to feed him (we fed canned food, Ken-L Ration usually) so he would bond exclusively to me. I have since become big on giving any dog I have basic obedience training at the minimum but we didn’t do that then. The extent of any behaviors/tricks we taught was “beg” for treats and to come when called.

Now, today this would be considered a very bad idea but back then it was fairly common to let dogs roam when not in the house and that’s what Butch was allowed to do. Over the years we lost entirely too many dogs that way and well, we’ll get to that later.

Butch was my absolute best friend. He went with me everywhere he was allowed to be (couldn’t go in stores and the like, couldn’t go with me to school, etc.) and I lavished all the love and affection I had on him.

He was my confidante (never revealed a secret) and, most importantly, my solace when the bullying and ostracism got to be too much to bear.

Time passed and we moved to Ohio, first to Uncle Denny’s, then to the place next to it.

One day while I was out with Butch wandering the neighborhood one older man, sitting on his porch, told me that I should have Butch on a leash. In retrospect he was absolutely right. I should have. However, as a 10 or 11 year old, well, I made some pompous little statement about “freedom” and went on my way.

When my mother took my sister and I back to Virginia during her brief separation from Bruce, Butch did not go with us. I don’t know why we left him behind. Maybe we were too rushed to leave or maybe Mother realized that there wouldn’t be any place to have him when we got back to Virginia. We stayed at first with Aunt Pauline and Uncle George for some time. They had a dog of their own, a Pekinese, and there was no telling if the dogs would have gotten along (Butch would have been fine–he was everybody’s friend–but I don’t know about the Peke). Then there was that cheap walk-up. So, no, we really weren’t in a position to keep a dog.

The interlude in Virginia ended and we moved back to Ohio and Butch was still there. I guess Bruce actually took care of him in the interim (or maybe neighbors did, I can’t say, although I prefer to think that Bruce had at least enough humanity to look after the dog).

So, with the return to Ohio, I also experienced the return to the bullying and ostracism I had managed to escape for a time in Virginia (which explains, perhaps, why despite the years and the rather brief time I had there, I feel more of a connection to Virginia than I ever did to Ohio) and thankfully, Butch was there for me, always willing to let me wrap my arms around him and bawl my eyes out in his neck fur when the frustrations and loneliness, and growing depression, grew to be too much.

In due course we moved to the house near Claysville. Butch loved this. Open fields for lots of running. Chickens to chase (okay, he wasn’t supposed to do that, but he didn’t know that, and we did…mostly…get him broken of it). And groundhogs to fight.

This latter one, I think, is what finally proved his bane. (And, I must admit to misting up a bit at writing this.)

One day, after his roaming, he came home bloody from having been in a fight with something where he came out the worse. We cleaned him up and for a while he stayed close to the house. In time he healed and resumed his roaming.

This next part, I have only second hand account. My mother said that one day, after the fight where he came home bloody, he came home carrying a dead groundhog in his mouth. He dropped it in front of Mother and looked up at her, as she says, as if to say “Well, I got him.” Then he picked it up and went off with it. Mother’s theory is that he got into it with a groundhog and got torn up a bit, which was why he came back bloody that time, then when he healed he went out for a rematch and won.

However, sometime after that Butch was just…not there. He went out and he just never came back. We never did learn what happened to him. My mother thinks, and I suspect she’s right, that the most likely thing was that he got into it one too many times with groundhogs and one eventually killed him. Other possibilities are that he got caught in somebody’s trap (hunting and trapping were big activities then and there) or maybe some farmer shot the “stray dog”.

We’ll never know. And I still miss him today.

Damn onion ninjas.

I am so very sorry, Butch. You died much too young because I was an idiot that didn’t know how to properly take care of you.

On This Day: A Bad Day for Empires

Not a particular single event, but I noticed one time when looking through “On this day” in Wikipedia that October 19 seems to be a particularly bad day for empirs.

202 BC

At the end of the 2nd Punic War, after taking major losses at Utica and Great Plains, the Carthaginian’s recalled Hannibal from Italy. Confident in Hannibal’s forces and leadership, they broke the armistice imposed on them after the preceding two defeats and confronted the Romans. Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio Massinissa. The Carthaginians had a somewhat larger army of 40,000 men and including 80 war elephants compared to the Roman 35,100 men.

The result was disaster for the Carthaginians with 20,000 men killed and 20,000 captured, wiping out the Carthaginian army and ending the 17 year 2nd Punic War.

1453 AD

Three months after the Battle of Castillon, England finally loses the last of its possessions in southern France, thus bringing to an end the Hundred Years war.

1781

With French ships blockading both resupply and evacuation, Lord Cornwallis is forced to surrender to George Washington, ending the battle of Yorktown, the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War and making American independence a fait accompli although it would be another two years before Great Britain officialy recognized that independence.

1812

Napoleon’s invasion of Russia comes to an end as he is forced to begin his retreat from Moscow. This would mark the furthest extent of the French Empire under Napoleon.

1813

Once again, Napoleon faces a major defeat in the battle of Leipzig. The Sixth Coalition, consisting of troops from the Russian Empire, the Austrian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia, Sweden, and the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin at 257,000 men outnumbered Napoleon’s 177,000 men. In particular the Sixth Coalition had 1400 guns to Napoleon’s 700. This ended the French Empire’s presence east of the Rhine.

1866

The Austrian Empire, in accordance with the 1866 Treaty of Vienna which ended the Third Italian war of Independence (and a theater of the Austro-Prussian war), handed Veneto and Mantuo to France, which immediately gave them to the new Kingdom of Italy as payback for previous concessions of Savoy and Nice.

1935

Italy, attempting to build itself into an empire, had just invaded Ethiopia, leading to a war that would last until February of 1941. On this date in 1935, the League of Nations would place economic sanctions on Italy which would prove about as effective as such sanctions usually are, that is, not to speak of. While these sanctions caused alarm in Rome, they served to strengthen Musollini’s position as the Italian people saw him as being strong in standing up to the League of Nations and so helped to cement Fascist power in Italy and more strongly drive Italy into the German camp for the coming war.

2005

Not exactly an empire or even a nascent empire (although Iraq did have pretensions of being a leader of the “Arab world”, so perhaps a nascent empire after all) but on October 19, 2005, Saddam Hussein went on trial for Crimes against Humanity.

Goth on Ice: Turn, Turn, Turn

One of the main things I’ve been working on the last few sessions is the forward outside three-turn. You start with a forward outside edge. Shift arm position (like we do with the outside edges). “Check” body and shoulder position. Then twist the lower body around, so that instead of skating forward, you’re skating backward on a backward inside edge.

Last time, I described some of the mistakes I was making. This week, I seem to have been able to finally bring it together.

I had actually recorded a practice set early on, but the results were quite foggy–probably condensation on the lens of my phone’s camera. So I went back out onto the ice specifically to do a couple to record.

I’m still working on the edges (“turning” by making a swooping curve across the ice to keep with the title theme–going “forward” but changing what direction forward happens to be). Forward outside edges are giving me a bit of problem, usually having to put a foot down before I complete the half-circle. Part of that is that I’m getting my weight too far forward on the blade. That forward tilt of my body (a perennial problem I have) is part of that. (Note: As of this posting the next two videos are still uploading. They should be up later.)

Finally, we have the backward crossovers. They are coming along nicely. My instructor pointed out a couple of mistakes I’m making: not bending the rear leg enough during the cross (which will help get a deeper cross and more power) and having my feet too close to parallel during the cross. I could have them “toe out”. To clarify what I mean by “toe out” (since having my legs crossed might confuse the matter my right leg (even when it’s on the left side because crossed) needs to have the toe angled to the right and left leg (even when on the right because crossed) needs to have the toe angled to the left. This, also, will give more power and speed in the cross but more importantly will reduce the chance of having the blades collide, tripping me up.

In class, after the practice session that I was able to record, my instructor had me doing another turn: Forward inside Mohawk. I’m finding it particularly challenging to begin with but, on top of that, he had me doing an exercise where I do one forward crossover, an inside Mohawk, which supposedly now has me going backward (if I can actually do it right) then a backward crossover, followed by a “step out” into forward inside edge. The idea is that we then repeat this, going front to back then back to front over and over along a curved path.

I think it’s supposed to look something like this:

Gas Issues

Well this is just ducky. Got home from afternoon skating session and found a notice on my door that there had been an emergency/maintenance or outage on my gas. They left the gas turned off. I presume that was for safety not knowing the status of any gas-using appliances in the house and fair enough. Only this happened yesterday and I did not know until I went over to look at what appeared to be the results of some digging in my yard. (I was figuring burrowing animals.) Saw the notice on my door and “Call to have gas turned on. Must be home when we turn on gas and light appliances.”

Well, okay, fair enough. I call the number which says “24 hours” and the message is “this is after our regular business hours”. Options to continue (besides waiting for Monday and regular business hours) is report an emergency and several account info options (presumably automated responses). Report emergency has “report a gas leak” and several water/sewer related issues. Nothing about “you guys turned off my gas and I need it back on”. I ended up going with “report a gas leak” as the closest.

The young lady on the other end was very nice. Apparently a contractor hit the gas line (call before you dig!) which was why they had to turn off my gas. She apologized for the trouble and they are going to get someone out tonight. Took my number to call when the guy’s on his way.

Chances are, though, I’m not going to be able to go to tonight’s evening ice skating session.

I could live without the furnace for a couple of days. That wouldn’t bother me. But hot water? That was kind of important. It appears that I had enough hot water in the tank that I didn’t notice when I took my shower this morning. I may have had the spigot biased more toward the hot than usual, hard to say with its design, but there was enough for me to take my shower without getting chilled. And the back of the house is snug enough that internal temperature hadn’t dropped much.

What bothers me most about this is that I won’t get to do my evening skating session. That’s an hour and a half or exercise and practice that I won’t be able to make up. I had planned on a good six and a half hours total skating/training time this weekend but…not going to happen.

This is just…annoying.