Events are turning me into a radical skeptic. I no longer believe what I read, unless what I am reading is an empirically verifiable account of the past. I no longer have confidence in polls, because it has become impossible to separate the signal from the noise. What I have heard from the media and political class over the last several years has been so spectacularly proven wrong by events, again and again, that I sometimes wonder why I continue to read two newspapers a day before spending time following journalists on Twitter. Habit, I guess. A sense of professional obligation, I suppose. Maybe boredom.
The fact is that almost the entirety of what one reads in the paper or on the web is speculation. The writer isn’t telling you what happened, he is offering an interpretation of what happened, or offering a projection of the future. The best scenario is that these theories are novel, compelling, informed, and based on reporting and research. But that is rarely the case. More often the interpretations of current events, and prophesies of future ones, are merely the products of groupthink or dogma or emotions or wish-casting, memos to friends written by 27-year-olds who, in the words of Ben Rhodes, “literally know nothing.” There was a time when newspapers printed astrology columns. They no longer need to. The pseudoscience is on the front page.
And, the worst thing about this state of affairs is that much of the public cannot tell the difference between reporting and opinion/speculation. That’s no accident.
Early Wednesday morning a man with a high-powered rifle attacked Republican members of Congress at a baseball diamond in Alexandria, Virginia. The shooter, a man from Indiana named James T. Hodgkinson, was eventually shot dead by police officers, but not until he had wounded Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and three other people, including two of the officers who took him out.
Prior to his rampage in Alexandria, Mr. Hodgkinson had been a devoted supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders (IN-VT), a self-described democratic socialist who ran in last year’s presidential campaign. Mr. Hodgkinson, like his admired candidate, was a staunch progressive. He was a bitter opponent of Donald Trump, and posted messages on Facebook to the effect that the president needed to be “destroyed”.
At some point James Hodgkinson decided to cross the line between peaceful protest and violent insurrection. By dying in furtherance of his political goals, Mr. Hodgkinson set himself up to be the John Brown of what many people — on both Left and Right — see as the coming civil war in America. (…)
[21st-century Progressives] see their cause, with all its intricate sub-causes, as the equivalent of a mid-19th century movement that strove to abolish slavery. For them, any resistance to open borders and unlimited Third-World immigration is the moral equivalent of slaveholding.
When any cause is that morally righteous, only a tiny step is required for it to move beyond a non-violent stance to an ideology that sanctions violence for the sake of the cause.
As of this writing, only the Antifas and their ilk champion violence in the name of the Progressive cause. Armed insurrection has not gone mainstream — YET.
Were Wednesday’s semi-automatic rounds in Alexandria the first volley of the coming civil war?
A civilization at a decision point is almost by definition walking the razor’s edge between two futures. One future may lead to a catastrophe whose survivors must begin again from scratch. (…)
The poisonous atmosphere in today’s politics illustrates how bitterly established interests will fight to protect their “gains”. They will literally kill to preserve an agenda. For example GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot and seriously wounded by someone “distraught” over the recent Republican electoral victory. “The man suspected of opening fire on Republican members of the congressional baseball team early Wednesday morning was distraught over the election of President Trump and traveled to Washington in recent weeks to protest, his brother said on Wednesday.”
The shooting comes after months of increasing political hostility which include but is not limited to, pitched battles between activists at universities, the forcible eviction of speakers from campuses in the name of safe spaces, veiled calls by “comedians” for political violence and general name calling and incivility. The Hill reports that lawmakers are now receiving anonymous threats from voices which accuse them of betraying a political ideal. (…)
The University of Alaska at Anchorage is displaying a painting of a nude Chris Evans, the actor who stars as Marvel’s Captain America, holding aloft the severed head of President Donald Trump, as a young ’60s-era Hillary Clinton clings to his leg.
Assistant professor Thomas Chung created the painting, KTTU-TV reported, and he says that he “spent days just weeping” after Trump was elected president. The assistant professor describes himself as a social artist who normally doesn’t deal in politics, but Trump’s election “bled into that.”
Pun intended, I’m sure.
Beheadings seem to be all the rage among the Organized Left—another pun intended. To me, this grisly form of protest is a spiritual issue more than anything else. Is it a stretch to say that this is also the reason that the Organized Left is soft on the Jihad? The two entities certainly have a common enemy. And it’s not us, not ultimately. It’s Christ. The Devil wants his servants to take heads before his gets crushed.
Every now and then I wonder how differently my life might have gone had I made different choices.
For instance, I wonder how deeply I might be involved in the so-called Deep State had I remained a part of the intelligence community. But that’s one decision I have no regrets about. When I exited active duty USAF in 1994, I came home to Los Angeles to be near my great-aunt and great-uncle who were then in their 70s. My uncle was gone six years later and my aunt would follow twelve years after that. The two raised me for the first part of my childhood, so, of course, I am grateful to have been close by when they passed.
Other forks? I love children and I sometimes wish I’d had at least one, but, other than my miscarriage, I can’t really call it a regret. And here’s an odd thing: I don’t think I’m good wife material—something about which my ex-husband would agree. I’m the first-born and was a de facto only child for nine years; I’m ornery and often oblivious.
Since the divorce in 1992, there have been a couple of close remarriage calls, but no cigar. And, the only regret I have about that is that I married at all. I like men; I just haven’t found one that I want around all the time. I’ve certainly been “in love,” but I think that, for me, much of that has been hallucination on my part. Vain imagination.
Relating that to having children, I’m old-school: I believe in being married before having children. Let’s be real here: the main reason that I did get married was because I wanted children.
So, with my beliefs and idiosyncrasies in mind, it’s likely that I would have never given birth even if I had made different decisions. I’m at peace with that.
More roads taken. Just today, I met up with two old friends I’d met through blogging. Wonderful people. These and dozens of other good, fun and kind-hearted people I would have never known had I not begun baldilocks.
Monday will be 50 years since the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Loving vs. Virginia, the landmark case that wiped laws banning interracial marriage off the books in Virginia and 15 other states. Thus did Mildred Loving, both black and Native American, and her husband, Richard, who was white, make civil rights history. (…)
The Lovings were arrested in July 1958, when the local sheriff burst into their bedroom in the middle of the night, demanding to know what they were doing together. They had married in the District of Columbia, but their union was illegal in Virginia. A county judge offered a deal: They could avoid prison if they promised to leave Virginia and not return for 25 years.
They moved to Washington, but a longing for home upended the agreement. Mildred, missing her family, wrote a letter to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. He referred the matter to the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the constitutionality of Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law. Yet the Lovings — Richard died in 1975, and Mildred in 2008 — were reluctant civil rights icons.
“It was thrown in my lap,” Mrs. Loving told a Times reporter in 1992. “What choice did I have?”
Indeed. Love is what it is. Hard to imagine going to prison for such a thing, but I’m glad I was born when I was born.
My own family is multiracial, multiethnic, and multinational. It’s difficult to imagine having it any other way. Of course, America has always been all those things, but now, of course, we’re far less hypocritical about it.
Philosophy can be a bit like a computer getting creakier. It starts well, dealing with significant and serious issues that matter to anyone. Yet, in time, it can get bloated and bogged down and slow. Philosophy begins to care less about philosophical questions than about philosophers’ questions, which then consume increasing amounts of intellectual attention. The problem with philosophers’ questions is not that they are impenetrable to outsiders — although they often are, like any internal game — but that whatever the answers turn out to be, assuming there are any, they do not matter, because nobody besides philosophers could care about the questions in the first place.
This is an old problem. In the sixteenth century, the French scholar and doctor François Rabelais satirized scholastic philosophy in his Gargantua and Pantagruel. In a catalogue of 139 invented book titles that he attributes to the library of the Abbey of St. Victor, he lists such titles as “The Niddy-noddy of the Satchel-loaded Seekers, by Friar Blindfastatis” and “The Raver and idle Talker in cases of Conscience.”
Centuries later, we seem to be back to the same problem. This is how philosophy speaks today: “The Failure of Class: Postcapitalist narrative and textual precapitalist theory” and “Deconstructing Lyotard: Cultural narrative and premodern dedeconstructivism.” Or: “As Lewis taught us in a classic series of articles, trope theories Gettierise zombie arguments” and “While the contextualist disagrees, we still hold that supposed mind/body ‘problems’ cannot generate an unacceptably Russellian picture of the world.”
Do not try to understand these lines. I produced the first two using a “Postmodernism Generator,” and the second two using an “Analytic Philosophy Generator.” They sound like real examples of contemporary scholasticism — philosophy talking about itself to itself in its own jargon. Such scholasticism is the ultimate freezing of the system, the equivalent of a Windows computer’s “blue screen of death”: so many resources are devoted to internal issues that no external input can be processed anymore, and the system stops working. The world may be undergoing a revolution, Rome may be burning, but the philosophical discourse remains detached, meaningless, and utterly oblivious. Time for an upgrade.
Read the whole thing. Flip on your brain’s comprehension and application switches first. It’s amazing that all too many of us need to be reminded to do these things. I think that’s a summation of this essay.
Venezuelan activists are increasingly posting details of locations and lifestyles of leftist officials and their families, depicting them as thriving off corruption while the population struggles to eat in a devastating economic crisis.
The social media blitzes, targeting officials and their business partners, relatives and even lovers, are another weapon in a wave of huge protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s government that began in April. Protesters are seeking early presidential elections, freedom for jailed activists, and humanitarian aid to alleviate chronic food and medicine shortages.
One Twitter account published photos purportedly showing the wife of Vice President Tareck El Aissami enjoying champagne and lounging on a pristine beach with her sisters. In another case, an alleged lover of a powerful Socialist Party official is shown on trips to the Middle East.
Venezuela’s opposition accuses officials of profiting from currency controls and a decade-long oil boom to fill their pockets. The opposition-led congress estimates that at least $11 billion have “disappeared” from state-run oil company PDVSA .
Reuters doesn’t mention it, but this is the outcome of socialism, and not just a one-off event but the usual and inevitable outcome of socialism, which always leads to a protected class[.]
Daniel Ortega got caught shopping on Fifth Avenue buying $3,000 worth of designerluxury sunglasses. Romania first lady Elena Ceaucescu was caught with diamonds on the soles of her shoes. The Castros own billions in assets in Spain, Italy, Argentina, China. Two years ago, the late [Hugo Chavez’s] daughter, Maria Gabriela, was reported to be Venezuela’s richest woman with $4.2 billion in assets. (…)
As a blogger and writer under different venues, I have been reporting this stuff for years. The flashing dollar bill parties of the Chavistas. The Caribbean luxury vacations of the Chavistas. The Miami condo-buying. The trips to Disneyland. The Miami shopping trips. The dollar-bill flashing parties. The Chavista luxury yachts. The social whirl and real estate. These stories extend all the way back to 2004. Yet they never got all that much traction.
As I’ve opined before, most people cannot see the connection between cause and effect, but just to be on the safe side, the MSM would prefer to not only keep silent on information which would spur that connection—on this topic, especially–but also to use active means to distract attention away from the potential connection. Makes you wonder if even certain failedcomedians are merely carrying out their orders. If true, the drastic methods indicate that the MSM may be scared.
The future nomenklatura must protect its interests, however. I don’t know if I want to see them become more desperate.
As ever, Mark Steyn shouts into the wilderness, noting that, in the wake of the Islamic terror bombing in Manchester, England, UK politicians are all on-message, lamenting “sowing of division” as the alleged goal of yet another set of “lone” wolves.
When death stalks the land, make no mistake: He may look like a grim reaper, but he’s really a grim sower. An entire sowing bee of experts has so decreed. Indeed, in their warnings about sowing division, our betters are so non-divided that they give off the faintly creepy whiff of fellows all reading off the same cue card helpfully biked round to them by the Central Commissar ten minutes after the “incident” occurred.
You non-experts might think this a fairly crude sleight of hand – that concerns about “division” is a not so subtle way of suggesting that the real problem isn’t guys like Salman Abedi waiting with his nail bomb at the exit to the pop concert, but divisive types like you querying whether it’s prudent to keep importing more and more Islam into the western world. Well, screw you: if you disagree that the real danger here is the sowing of division, you’re just sowing even more division.
Pace The Toronto Star, I’m not sure it is “stating the obvious” to say that Monday’s attack was meant to “sow division”. What’s going on in Britain and Europe occurs because division has already been sown. It was sown by a careless political class that insisted there could be no questioning of a reckless demographic experiment. It is being reaped, as the division-sowing pop star Morrissey has divisively noted, by the political class’ hapless citizenry.
(This zombie-like messaging reminds me of 2008, when I noted how on-message American Democrat politicians were when they all asserted that “we can’t drill our way out of this”—the ‘this’ in question having been a so-called gasoline crisis.)
But, even before I got to Steyn’s conclusion–stated much more vividly that I can or want to reword here–the retort was in my mind: no, Islamic terrorists are not trying to sow division. They are trying to sow a singularity: a world that is totally Islamic. And, I contend that British and EU politicians know exactly what they are doing. They’ve planted Islam in Europe and allowed it to grow, to their own specific ends. And, when the time comes, most of them will convert–or at least wear to public face of Islamic piety. (I can’t imagine them giving up their expensive champagne.)
To these politicians, a bunch of blown-up little English girls are just the broken eggs for the Omelet of Unity. One with no ham, of course.
Right now, I’m reading Nancy Isenberg’s White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America. (Actually, I’m listening to it, via an audiobook copy checked out from the Los Angeles Public Library. As I’ve said many times before, audiobooks allow multitasking—driving, riding, working out, cleaning the house, etc.) Since I’m only at the end of Chapter One, this won’t be a review, but I can’t help but put down a few thoughts. These initial observations may read as critique against capitalism or Western Civilization, but that’s not my intention. All civilizations have flaws–most much worse than ours.
Isenberg outlines the British concept of “trash people”–meaning the poor—and how the British upper crust desired to use that population for its own ends with respect to the colonies. Of course, we all know that class divisions have existed and still exist in Western civilizations, but reading about the planning and the implementation of these endeavors bids comparison to how the present-day American “upper crust” uses the poor and the not-so-poor. Back then, control of the poor to the end of making profit, was far more overt than it is today, which makes today’s efforts far more effective—as is so for all hidden agendas.
From what I can tell, there has always been a set-apart group in European countries and their colonies: an indentured/enslaved caste—whether the bondage is formal or not. Sometimes, it’s the natives of a conquered land. Other times, it’s a forcibly imported group, such as African slaves, the British underclass, or the Irish. Today–in America at least–it’s primarily those of Mexican descent.
The interesting thing about this history is that it proves the axiom that there’s nothing new under the sun. And, though the tactics have changed, the goal remains the same: control.
But, back in the heyday of the British Empire, the elite just wanted to control your body and couldn’t care less about your mind…
I had a lot of trouble concentrating today, as anyone who follows my Facebook and Twitter feeds already knows. I got up at around two this morning, having “slept” for a few hours—more of a fitful opening and closing of my eyes.
The problem? I have been applying for jobs like crazy for the past few months and the only feedback I received was an “Unfortunately” letter from Trader Joe’s. You’d think that it would be easy to get a job in the present environment—especially for a veteran who can write, think a little bit, and pass a drug test, but it isn’t. I haven’t been looking for a jackpot; just something I can use to keep from scratching, scraping, and begging my readers to help me with. By the way, fans of baldilocks are some of the most wonderful and generous people in existence.
So, as I said, I expressed my frustrations on my accounts and received an avalanche of great ideas, leads, links and at least one solid opportunity.
I’ve kept some information to myself and to personal friends, but I want to let it out here and now. The only reason I’ve remained in California since the loss of my house in December 2014, is to be near my church. Otherwise I’d be in New Mexico near my parents and most of the rest of my family. I love my people dearly (here’s a gratuitous link to one of the writers among that number), but God comes first and when I put Him first, He provides. I’m human and my faith wavers, but it does not fail because I’ve asked Him to help me with it. It’s an ongoing endeavor.
I love to write; here, at baldilocks, and wherever. One of my wonderful friends even gave me an opportunity—a different one than the one mentioned above–to get a well-compensated position as a technical writer. However, it’s necessary to consider that job in the context of why I remained in California. Would I have time for my church? What about time to write in-depth pieces for DaTechGuy and for baldilocks? Unlikely. No doubt, I will have more difficult decisions to make, should the job be offered.
But today, I have faith, just enough for today. Tomorrow, will be time enough for tomorrow’s faith. And so on.
My common ground with the alt-Right is this: like them, I think that Western civilization and culture is the greatest thing that ever occurred to mankind. It has elevated our society from brutishness and beastliness into civilization, quite possibly to the zenith of thought, achievement and prosperity. Just taking the period from Ancient Greece to the Internet, it is difficult to imagine how life would exist today were it not for Western culture — the sciences, economy, music, arts, literature, morals, manners and mores, the whole damn thing. Western civilization, in other words, is absolutely worth maintaining, prolonging, venerating and all that.
And here’s the first little roadblock that the alt-Right throws in my way: their distaste, and even hatred for Jews.
I have no idea why that is. Pound for pound, the Jews have contributed as much or more to Western civilization than any other group — it’s even called the “Judeo-Christian tradition”, FFS — and to discount this contribution deliberately, to me, shows a shallow intellect at best. (At worst, Hitler, but I’m not going to go there.) Of course, I know that many Jews are socialists, communists, progressives, one-worlders, and all those things that are not only themselves distasteful, but are contradictory to Western thought. Ending slavery in the Western hemisphere (an action performed solely by Western nations, lest we forget) is not the same as allowing Western culture to be perverted or submerged by inferior cultures — and let’s be perfectly honest, when compared to Western culture, all other cultures are in general absolutely inferior to ours. To say otherwise is to be ignorant of history, or to be able to consciously deny the fact of the matter despite all evidence to the contrary. (…)
Do I think that a lot of Jews are liberal a**holes? You betcha, again. (Don’t even ask me about Jews and their support for gun control, unless we also mention JPFO, who also seem to have missed the memo.)
Am I prepared to become an anti-Semite because of The Great Jewish Conspiracy? Think again, Adolf.
Don’t just read the rest of the post; read the whole blog.