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The New Kremlinology [UPDATED]

Watching the USA go pedal to the metal turning itself into the USSR these last few years has been a real kick. I mean it. I haven’t had this much fun since the end of the Cold War, when I got to listen to all those folks assure me that, though the leadership has made some regrettable mistakes, the Russian people really love Socialism and are 100% behind the construction of the glorious Soviet future…. oh, wait, never mind, but look at all the great things Castro is doing in Cuba!*

It can’t have escaped the regular readers that we now live in one of the most ideological societies on earth. We Americans — our “leaders,” anyway — have always been self-righteous pricks, strutting and fretting our hour upon the world stage, but since it was mostly our “leaders” doing it, we could convince ourselves that it wasn’t us being North Koreanized (it’s a word). It was always some wogs somewhere who needed to “embrace democracy,” not us. Fast forward a few years and well, here we are, the new and improved North Korea — everything not forbidden is compulsory, just like in Kim-topia, but at least there’s Netflix and ESPN.

For proof, just look at the Media. Yeah, all of it, even Fox. Make that, “especially Fox” — as the Ace of Spades crowd keep pointing out, they’re all but indistinguishable from MSNBC these days, and when you’ve lost the feeble milquetoasts at AoS, buddy, it’s game over. You want an example? Sure. Word comes that the only Black NASCAR driver found a noose hanging in his locker. You, and I, and everyone not too stupid to breathe knows it’s 100 to 1 that this is a publicity stunt — the driver hung it there himself, or his agent did, or his publicist, or someone at Fox Sports, and when it’s exposed we’ll be told that it’s just a “conversation starter” for “troubling questions about race in America,” and it will be promptly memory-holed.

That’s an easy one, but y’all, they’re all like that. See also: COVID, Trump’s rallies, Joe Biden’s very obvious dementia, the race riots, and the rest of it. They’re all lies — egregious, shameless lies, visible-from-space lies. So what’s the truth? Here’s where old Kremlinologists really get that zippy Viagra glow…

… but they really, really shouldn’t, because they missed it — “it” being “the collapse of the Soviet Union,” which very few thought was even a remote possibility, much less right around the corner. The reason they missed it was simple: After a lifetime in the system, even very minor Soviet functionaries got very good at presenting the illusion of control — as the Chinese say, “riding the tiger.”** All you can do is hang on for dear life, because you’re the one who will get devoured first.

See e.g. Nancy Pelosi and that retarded kneeling stunt they pulled a week or two back. It was so tin-eared, even the vast majority of angry Blacks thought it was a stupid, token gesture. If Trump had any brains — yeah yeah, I know — he’d splash that all over his campaign ads, ideally superimposed over pics of the 101st Airborne executing looters in job lots. Hello, 50 state sweep. The point is, Pelosi, Schumer, even arch-devil Soros have no real idea what’s going on out there, much less any kind of endgame in mind. They at least see the tiger — which is far better than anyone in the GOP has managed — but they’ve got that fucker by the ears… and their grip is slipping.

Pretty soon they’re going to run out of statues. And since the worst of this stuff is happening in all-Blue jurisdictions — I’m talking the kinds of places a Republican couldn’t get elected dogcatcher — they might well move on to somebody important’s house. Graffiti up the gates of Nancy’s zillion-dollar San Francisco mansion, and she’ll roll in the tanks. And then it gets really fun…

UPDATE: Right on cue. Jesus this shit is predictable as sunrise. Not that it matters a bit to the larger point, but it has only been, what, two hours since I wrote this? Next up: “Still, this raises troubling questions about race in America.” Then down the memory hole, starting in three… two… one….

 

*If you haven’t already, you should skim Paul Hollander’s Political Pilgrims. He’s not the most exciting writer, but he lays it all out in almost excruciating detail. Did you know that there were American Leftist gadflies who claimed to believe Albania was humanity’s glorious future? There are few unlikelier messiahs, in all of human history, than Enver Hoxha, but the irritated butterflies of the American Left are like Mulder and Scully: They want to believe, baby.
** I assume it’s the Chinese, anyway. That sounds like the inscrutable wisdom of the Orient. Nobody is better at making banalities seem profound than ancient Kung Flu masters. “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” Ah so, Grasshoppah. In other words, have a fucking plan. Brilliant!!
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Addendum to Previous:

See what I mean with this stuff? (Warning: about a zillion auto-play videos, because Fox. Also warning: Fox News. Be current on your blood pressure meds).

Sabotaging Trump’s rally — by showing all the empty seat, then walking away — would’ve been a slick bit of dirty pool. I mean it. Nice move, “Zoomers” (whoever the hell y’all are); I wish I would’ve thought of it myself. You even blackpilled Z Man about it (not that that’s a particularly high bar). I salute you….

But then y’all have to go ruin it by bragging about it. You’ve turned what should’ve been a very effective piece of propaganda into a win for the other side. Even the Ace of Spades dorks get it:

THE NEW RULES
Based on AOC’s bragging about using TikTok teenagers and K-Pop fans to reduce the headcount at Trump’s rally in Tulsa, some new rules are evidently in effect:

1. Any rally with a headcount < 6200 is a miserable failure.

2. Foreign interference in an election is now totes OK.

3. Voter suppression is also totes OK.

4. Abusing the ticketing system to intentionally deny people the ability to hear the politician of their choice is “a form of protest” and is thus totes OK.

5. A candidate being 10 points ahead in some poll 5 months out from the election is absolutely dispositive.

6. Millions of online viewers count for nothing.

7. Stacey Abrahms is the rightful governor of Georgia (this is always true).

In case any Democrats wander by here, let me point out three very, very obvious things:

  1. It’s going to take Joe Biden a month’s worth of rallies to draw 6300 people, what with all the truly obnoxious Branch Covidians in his fan bae; and
  2. You could hold a Trump rally in a phone booth now, and he’ll claim it would’ve been the best-attended thing since Woodstock, if not for those meddling kids; and
  3. Any time he draws more than 6300 people — which he will, this being election season — he’s going to claim this is his real level of support. All he has to do is put out pictures of a stadium packed to the rafters and say “compare and contrast.”

You just own-goaled yourselves. Again. And I know y’all won’t get it — narcissists, by definition, don’t know they’re narcissists — but for everyone else just getting up to speed on the New Kremlinology (that is, trying to figure out what’s really going on in the Imperial Crapital by reading the tea leaves), this is highly instructive. So…. thanks?

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A Night at the Movies [UPDATED]

We humans are pattern-finding creatures. Even the most primitive tribes — the kind that wear coconut codpieces and eat grubs — understand, and embrace, the notion of cause and effect. The phrase “cargo cult” is brutally overused in Our Thing, but it’s worth remembering what “cargo cults” actually are:

Back in WWII, the primitive tribes of the South Pacific saw Americans arrive by ship on nearby islands. The first thing these strange seaborne pale-faces did was build an airstrip, after which planes started landing with all kinds of goodies. From this, the tribesmen concluded that building an “airstrip” would bring the planes.

Folks in Our Thing use this as a nice metaphor for the superstitions of our modern techno-savages. Those idiots up in Seattle, for instance, have no idea  how any of the stuff they’ve “liberated” actually works, so they tore up some pavement and tossed random seeds in the dirt — to them, that’s “farming.” If the idiot SJWs on the city council hadn’t kept the utilities running, they’d be resorting to cannibalism by now….

…but I digress. The point is, the original cargo cultists made a perfectly valid inference, based on the information they had. Hell, it’s even a scientific proposition (in Karl Popper’s sense) because it’s “falsifiable.” What makes it a cargo cult is the fact that repeated falsifications didn’t cause them to abandon the hypothesis. Instead, they started telling themselves stories to explain the theory’s failure. In other words, not being wrong was far more important, to the cultists, than being right.

As I say, that’s a human universal. Part of the reason “science” was so carefully circumscribed back in the days was to maintain exactly that sense of detachment. If the gunk that comes out the back end of the Bunsen burner isn’t the gunk I expected to find, then my hypothesis is false, and it’s back to the drawing board. The minute I get emotionally invested in the gunk that’s actually there, I’m no longer doing science. Which is why there’s no such thing as social or, god help us, political “science.” since these fields start with an emotional investment in the gunk that’s already there…

…but again, I digress. The point is, we can’t avoid this in ourselves. The best we can do is be aware of the tendency. And this, I add, is what folks in Our Thing are increasingly unlikely to do.

Almost all analyses of the recent, ummm, “unpleasantness,” for instance, proceed as if there’s some master plan behind it all. Whether or not you want to name Soros or, sigh, (((others))) as your devil, the very fact that you’ve nominated a devil means you’ve already fallen victim to cargo cult thinking. We all anthropomorphize “the Left” — myself most certainly included. But unless we constantly remind ourselves that “the Left” is just shorthand for a tendency, we end up like the cargo cultists telling themselves stories to explain away the planes’ failure to arrive. There is no “Left,” of course, outside of the individuals who tend to behave in a certain way.

Which is why Captain Whitepill has been riding to the rescue lately. As much as I’m playing the part, and as pessimistic as I can be in real life 95% of the time, there are some serious reasons for hope in all this.

All ideologies fracture under stress. We’re all familiar with the just-so assertion that “real Communism has never been tried.” As much as that’s usually just cargo cultism, there’s actually a case to be made there, just like there’s a case in every one of those “Lenin / Stalin / whomever wasn’t a real Communist” books that folks who still read The Nation have sitting unread on their display shelves. Lenin and especially Stalin faced the stark choice between “remaining in power” and “being true to the spirit, and quite often the letter, of Marxism.” Not surprisingly, they picked the former (which is why Trotsky got whacked, even after he was no conceivable threat — he never let Stalin forget his choice). In the weird Castle Wolfenstein world where the Germans won the war, I promise you, there are university library bookshelves groaning under volumes arguing that Hitler was never really a Nazi.

And that’s assuming ideology has much of anything to do with anything, which is a dubious proposition. You think the Cosplay Communards up in Seattle have ever actually read the “intersectional” gobbledygook they’re spouting? The idea that these goofballs can even spell “reification” is laughable. Like the New Left of which they are very pale reflections — pun most definitely intended — they’re only mouthing this stuff as their excuse to flip cars and break shit. I guarantee you, you could get them quoting Hitler himself at their rallies if you took his name off it. “Interest slavery,” anyone?

Nobody involved, White or Black, has any idea what they actually want. We’re told with a straight face, for instance, that “defund the police” doesn’t actually mean defund the police. Rather, it just means “take away all their equipment and forbid them from responding to calls.” When you’ve got the White mayor of overwhelmingly Black Oakland persecuting a Black guy for hanging exercise pulleys in a public park because some idiot thought they kinda sorta look like nooses, it’s clear that Clown World is far, far in the rearview mirror. It’s just nihilistic shit-flinging, by people who hate us almost as much as they hate themselves…

…and for every hour this goes on, the more painfully obvious that becomes.

What you’ve got, when it comes right down to it, is a whole bunch of utter narcissists who feel no need to even try to rein it in. Forget the DSM, since it’s written by a bunch of simpering SJWs. The Last Psychiatrist’s definition is the real one: the unshakable inner certainty that life is a movie, and you’re the star.

What you’re seeing in Seattle, in Minneapolis, in Atlanta, and everywhere else, is classic narcissistic injury. The one thing a narcissist can’t abide is the suggestion that he’s not the star of the Movie of Life. They don’t hate the guys on the statues they’re tearing down. They honestly have no fucking idea who any of those people were:

What they really hate is accomplishment. It’s the same psychology that motivated Milton’s Satan: non serviam. Being unable to create, he revels in destruction for its own sake. So it goes with the SJWs. Life isn’t actually a movie, and they’re not the stars, and deep down they know it. The same social pressures that force them to maintain a facade of normalcy, ironically, allow them to convince themselves that life is a movie, that Reality is bending to their will. Remove the social pressures, and the mask pops off… and, as any psychologist will tell you, the one and only reaction to narcissistic injury is bitter, hateful, murderous rage.

It’s one hell of a wake up call. Just as Chad and Stacy Normie are, thanks to the narcissistic fools in the Media, getting to see Blacks as they really are, so they’re also getting to see SJWs, in the Media and elsewhere, as they really are. Believe me, it’s absolutely clear who owns this mess, and it isn’t Donald Trump, much less “The Right” or even “the KKK” (all twelve of them, ten of which are undercover FBI agents). They’re doing everything in their considerable power to drag us into their movie….

…. and it’s a slasher film. And now everyone knows it.

UPDATE: The rumor going around social media is that Trump’s rather poor rally attendance tonight was due to “Zoomers” (whatever those are) “sabotaging” it by reserving tickets, then not showing up. Which actually would’ve been a pretty slick bit of dirty pool, IF they could’ve resisted bragging about it… but they can’t, because they’re narcissists.

Even worse would be if they didn’t do this, but claimed they did. Either way, though, the proper low blow would’ve been to artificially depress Trump’s rally numbers, point it out, and then walk away. “Ha ha ha, the Twitterer-in-Chief can’t even fill a stadium in Podunkville!! What a loser!!!!” That could’ve done some real damage. But now, Trump can easily flip the tables on them — “We had a sellout crowd, had to turn people away, and look, they have to resort to cheap tricks and childish tantrums.” It doesn’t matter now what the actual attendance numbers are — Trump could claim it would’ve been the best-attended political event since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and who can gainsay him?

See, they had to make it all about them. Another massive own goal, because they can’t resist feeding their narcissism. See what I mean about this whole thing trending towards being one of the all-time fuckups?

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More Devil’s Advocate

I know y’all don’t come here for the optimism, but I’m having fun playing Captain Whitepill for a bit, so:

The reason Karl Marx’s hare-brained theories made intuitive sense to Europeans is the same reason Adam Smith’s hare-brained theories* did: White folks, being accustomed, through birth and training, to seeing the world logically, assumed that all men are, at bottom, logical creatures. In other words, the great Enlightenment fallacy (Karl Marx, you’ll recall, was born in 1818). As “reductionism” seems to also be a universal human tendency, it was very easy for those sane, logical Europeans to make the mental leap from “men tend to act in their own economic self-interest” to “men are nothing but economic actors.”

Few theories in the history of Man have been more comprehensively refuted, but lots of us still cling to it anyway. Consider sportsball. The prevailing assumptions, even now, seem to fall into two camps:

The first says that the overwhelmingly Black players of the Negro Felon League will realize which side of their bread’s buttered and come to their senses. All this talk of collectively kneeling at every game, or even boycotting the season, is just that: Talk, by guys who have too much time on their hands before training camps open. The Commissioner will make some token gesture, this line of thought goes, and some idiot Karen of an owner will sign Colin fucking Kaepernick, and all of this will blow over.

The second is just like the first, but with the races flipped. This camp thinks that Whitey is so sportsball-addled that it doesn’t matter what the players do. After all, at least some of them kneeled at every game when the Kaepernick thing first happened, this line of reasoning goes, and though the NFL has seen attendance and revenue drop across the board for the last few years, they ain’t going broke any time this century on the current trajectory.** Moreover, this theory goes, look at what else Whitey will put up with for sportsball: Months where everything’s pink. Spanish announcers in the booth. Ugly sideline reporterettes. So long as the aforementioned Negro Felons are chasing a ball around, all that other stuff is incidental.

I dunno. The opium of the people is opiates, as any trip to trailer country will confirm, but sportsball is a close second… and now there really can’t be any doubt about how pozzed it is. They just invented a new holiday, “Juneteenth,” for everyone to get all ginned up about between Memorial Day and the Fourth. All the cop-kissing and flag-sucking at every summer sporting event will now bookend a week-long (undoubtedly soon to be month-long) celebration of Magic Negroes. And it just so happens to fall right in the middle of baseball season — that is, midseason of the second-Whitest sport in America — and at the tail end of the Stanley Cup playoffs, i.e. the most popular time for the Whitest sport in the world, ice hockey. There will soon be absolutely no place to go to get away from it… and should any substantial number of White fans defect to something like curling, they’ll Kwanzaa it up too in short order.

That doesn’t strike me as the self-confident action of a ruling power. That strikes me as a giant tactical mistake. They’re betting that Whites are too beaten-down and pozzed to make any protest when their last form of solace is taken away. As a purely tactical decision, it’s one hell of a roll of the dice…

… and if they really were winning, they wouldn’t need to roll the dice.

And that’s just Theory #2. It could be a lot worse with Theory #1. As we all know, the kind of guy who makes it in pro sports is, shall we say, “in the moment” a lot more than your average person. If Whitey isn’t a rational economic actor — and he’s obviously not, judging by how much money he keeps giving to organizations, like the NFL, that clearly hate him — why on earth should we suppose that Blacks are rational economic actors?

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they actually did it. Walked out on the season, that is, or whatever it eventually ends up being (and remember, there’s lots of summer left; “boycotting the season” is just their opening bid).

Again, that’s not the mopping-up action of a triumphant army. That’s a clear indication that the generals have lost control of their troops… indeed, maybe never had much control in the first place, which is why they’re so desperately rolling the dice, to rally everyone back in line.

As I say, this isn’t a prediction. I’m more playing the role of Captain Whitepill than anything else. But it’s at least plausible, you must admit.

 

 

*No slander intended on Adam Smith. He was, from all reports, a decent man who was trying his best to observe actual patterns out in the real world. He wasn’t an “economist,” a profession that didn’t exist back then. He was a moral philosopher, who made his rep on books like The Theory of Moral Sentiments. He was wrong, all in, but he wasn’t evil. Karl Marx was pure fucking evil.

**I assume at least some of them kneeled every game of every subsequent season, but I haven’t watched a snap in years. Feel free to correct me.

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Quick Take: The Definition of Insanity

Ace of Spades links to a report that Tara Reade told her future ex-husband about Joe Biden groping her back in 1993. The testimony in question — their divorce proceedings — dates from 1996. Which proves, if nothing else, that Reade’s allegations aren’t a last-second put-up job by unhinged partisan hacks, a la Blasey-Ford.

From this, Ace concludes:

I don’t see how he continues as the nominee. I wish I could — he’s so damaged he’d be an easy win.

But it’s over.

Wasn’t it Freud who said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results?

Democrats don’t withdraw. They don’t resign. There have been two that I can think of who have been forced out in the modern era: Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner. Both New Yorkers, and as New York is the definition of a one-party state, there were lots of powerful Democrats with vested interests going against them. These were, effectively, palace coups, not responses to the voters’ moral outrage. After all, who the hell else were they gonna vote for? A Republican? Get outta here!

And then Trump happened, as my students would’ve written back in my teaching days, proving that even token gestures were unnecessary. Trump’s romantic resume is exotic enough to give a French politician pause. Conventional wisdom says a guy like that can’t get elected dog catcher in a Puritanical country like America… but wouldn’t you know it, Evangelicals came out as some of Trump’s strongest supporters. Plus ça change and all that, oui?

The Media, in the form of the New York Times, has already explicitly said that they won’t be investigating Reade’s allegations — unlike the flaming-hot topicality of the Kavanaugh hearings, the 2020 Presidential Race is one of the Media’s famous “local crime stories,” at least as far as the Democratic nominee is concerned.

 

Hell, the Media are degenerate enough to consider dragging their senile (alleged!) rapist across the finish line as a personal challenge, and as for the DNC, they didn’t blatantly rig the Iowa Caucuses (and the SC primaries, and Nevada, and etc.) to let their guy down now. It’s Biden or bust. They’ll simply pronounce the allegations “debunked” like they always do, and if they’re ever forced to mention it again, they’ll resort to the tried-and-true “Republicans pounce on debunked allegations.”

The only way Joe Biden isn’t the Dem nominee is if the Dems decide

a) he can’t win, AND

b) his defeat will do such damage to the brand that he has to go.

In that case, he won’t be forced out over anything so ticky-tack as a credible rape allegation. No, if that happens, Hillary’s fixers will make sure ol’ Sundown Joe has an “accident.” I mean, who hasn’t severed his carotid artery while shaving and juggling loaded revolvers?

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Credo

I believe in the right of free association.  All other “rights” — of free expression, to private property, etc. — derive from the right of free association.  The only stable form of human organization is the community.

I believe in justice, not Justice.  Only communities can decide what justice is, in and for their communities.  Any social organization larger than the community, which does not leave the administration of justice to the community, is tyranny.

I believe in the person, not the process.  The administration of abstract, universal “Justice” requires treating individual men as means, not ends.  Fealty to abstract “Justice” sees men not as individuals with their own needs, or as members of a sovereign community, but as the outcome of a mechanical, judicial process.

I believe in the fundamental value of the human person, not his fundamental worth.  All humans are equally valuable in God’s eyes, and communities must respect that value.  A man’s worth, however, is a function of his social role.  It is determined by his community.  Abstract “Justice” denies this, which is why attempts to administer it always end up focusing on equality of outcome.  This violates the right of free association, and is therefore tyranny.

I believe in evolution, also called “descent with modification.”  Abstract “Justice” denies this, because it presumes that all men are equally capable of understanding the Good.  Men have different capacities for understanding the good; these capacities are largely inherited.  Forcing “equal” outcomes on people who are incapable of understanding it is tyranny, as the rights of those capable of knowing and acting on the Good are necessarily violated thereby.

I believe in the value of Culture.  It is the duty of those more capable of knowing the Good to arrange matters in their communities to check the worst tendencies of those less capable.  Any attempt to do this outside the community is a violation of the right of free association, and therefore tyranny.

I believe in the fundamental autonomy of the individual.  A man who will not, or cannot, adapt himself to his community is free to find another.  If he cannot find another, he may form his own.  As Thomas Hobbes said, the end of virtue is to be sociable to those who would be social, and formidable to those who will not.  This is the position of the autonomous individual.  Every man has a right to free association with himself, if no other.  Any attempt to constrain this is tyranny.

 

 

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What’s the End Game?

I, like a lot of people, have immersed myself in the COVID-19 pandemic and our reaction to it, including my friends’ reactions to it, which has been eye-opening.

Everything from conspiracy theories for overthrow of our government to big pharma or even the president staging it all to make a buck. On the left side of my friends there’s this idea that the US was uniquely caught flat-footed and had the worst reaction in the world, on the right this was cooked up by an evil cabal.  The Feds are “holding back” needed equipment, out of spite or wonton incompetence.  “We’re hearing …. ”   “People are saying ….”

Now … I would NOT rule out an escaped virus from the bio lab in Wuhan. But by that I mean if we found that to be true down the road I wouldn’t be completely shocked. I just don’t think that’s what happened. Not only have epidemiologists been warning us for decades about outbreaks like these, they’ve also been warning us about the almost perfect conditions some of the practices in Asian wet markets, particularly in China with respect to the wild animal trade in many of them — create. And we’ve seen it happen there before, recently, with a very similar virus, in 2002 in a different area of China. It was even a corona virus. SARS-COV. As with SARS-COV2, it broke out in November, the CCP was less than forthcoming about it through December and January. And it spread to many countries from there.

This one is worse, it appears to be more contagious, and is particularly nasty to the lungs in late-stage severe cases.

Countries all around the world have basically followed China’s and South Korea’s lead in implementing very strong social distancing measures, which has crippled the world economy — only not as severely as China did, especially in Wuhan.

That’s all for the most part, the facts. Now on to more opinion.  Mixed in with supporting facts.

I think the big social shutdowns were done largely because by the time symptomatic cases started breaking out world-wide, too many people were already infected and it was too late for early-outbreak contact tracing. This was largely due to China’s dragging its feet for 6 weeks, even destroying lab samples of the virus, arresting doctors who sounded the alarm to other doctors, not allowing Western epidemiologists to come in and both assist and learn about the virus, and denying human-to-human (H2H) transmission of the virus until late January. You know, about the time it was pretty obvious because cases started popping up in country after country and they could no longer deny it. Oh, and they kicked all at least Western journalists out of the country, if not all non-Chinese journalists.  That’s not fishy at all.

Ah, the journalists. If it bleeds, it leads, and the early predictions were bad. Really bad. 2.2-4 million dead in the US alone. Now of course this was a new virus and we had very little data on how it actually behaved outside of what we could garner from China and South Korea at first. There is no other way it could happen. As I’ve said many times, models are not reality. Dr. Fauci said it better yesterday. “Models are hypothesis. Data is data.” Good data makes your model more accurate. But you can’t have good data at the beginning of an outbreak of a brand new (to humans) virus.  Journalists make much out of saying “but two weeks ago, you said this, now you’re saying that.”  As if it were intentionally misleading.  Well, duh! we freakin’ know more about it now.  “At first you said it was nothing to worry about.”  Yes.  So did China, to which it was mainly confined and without foreign observers.  And the WHO said the same thing.  The we got more data.

I think Hollywood has a lot of people thinking that we can (maybe this is a bit of an exageration, but not much) merely ask, “Computer! How many people will die from this virus? “And the computer will quickly answer “if nothing is done, 2.2 million people will die” and that’s the answer and it is right because it came from a computer and computers “know”.

Well they don’t. They “know” only what we tell them. They can just do math faster than we can in our heads. That’s it. And if we tell them garbage, their answers will be garbage, only they can do it really fast and sometimes with errors exaggerated exponentially. Don’t confuse fast answers with certainty.

I can tell the journalists have no clue what’s going on by virtue of the questions they ask. For instance, there seems to be this idea that we can’t be safe until every single person is tested. All 330,000,000 of us in the US. Finally, yesterday one of the task force members essentially said, “we’re not going to do that”. Of course we’re not going to do that.  It’s impractical and unnecessary. We’ll test sample populations and model the rest, like we do with pretty much everything else.

I’ve said from the beginning that the so-called “lockdown” is simply a measure to buy us time to catch up to the virus. Not to stamp it out.  It was nearly two months before H2H transmission was confirmed, with tens of thousands of people from China flying all over the world during flu season with flu-like symptoms (sometimes) when nobody was looking for a new virus.

It had to have been sometime in January that our CDC started working on a test for it. They wanted to take it a step further and test for mutations in case this virus started to do that. That was a good idea. They shipped it out to 50 state and local labs in very early February, but only 8 of the 50 labs could get it to work. It turned out that it worked fine for detecting the virus itself, but the third vial, to test for mutations … was faulty.

Now government regulatory agencies are not built for speed. Regulation, by its very nature slows things down. Which is normally (within reason) a good thing (“Dont be hasty” – Treebeard). But not in an emergency. It took the FDA another 16 days to ok the test’s use without the third vial. THEN mass production could begin.

So we basically lost January to China, and February to a mishap and a slow regulatory response. Too late for contact tracing. And this thing happened all over the world.

By mid March, the NYC area was exploding with the virus. Mardi Gras. Spring Break. Ski-trips to Colorado. You know the rest.

The world economy is shut down, and we can’t keep it that way for too long or the cure may be literally be worse than the disease. Here’s the problem. We don’t know how bad the disease is. And we may never know how bad it is. If we do, it will be from looking back at what happened and piecing it together. Why is this?

Because it began as an unknown, and the more we found out about it, the more we were able to react to it, which in turn changes what we know about it because we are tinkering with R0 through social distancing and with mortality rates with new treatments.

So as a good friend of mine sincerely asked me yesterday, “What’s the end game?” — speaking to the economic shutdowns, specifically.

And here’s the bare, naked, honest answer.

We don’t know.     [yet]

Why don’t we know? We don’t have enough data to figure out what we’ll have to do, and to what extent — to contain this when we lift the restrictions. We’ve all basically agreed to stay shut down through April. In the mean time we are quickly getting that data and coming up with new ways to get more and better data, and developing medical mitigation (treatments) and developing and testing vaccines. Like I said, we’re buying time.

As Fauci said yesterday when we do open up, it won’t be like flipping on a light switch and everything goes back to normal, ESPECIALLY not uniformly, everywhere. But the end game is starting to come into form out of the fog as we get data in. If you listened to Dr. Birx yesterday, she talked about smaller communities, specifically about our Inidan Nations, but smaller areas like where I live where there are now few enough cases where full contact tracing is plausible again. That’s PART of the plan.

The whole thing depends on 1) controlling the spread 2) making the disease less deadly with treatment 3) protecting our most vulnerable until we either (back to 2) have treatments that make it less deadly or (back to 1) we develop a vaccine.

But we’re not making nuts and bolts here. When you’re developing something, you can’t say, like you can with making nuts and bolts “We can have 50,000 nuts manufactured by Friday”. You can’t say “In 13 days, we will have a sure treatment that will keep people out of the ICU”. But we CAN be optimistic that we will get it figured out, and soon. We just can’t tell you what day that will be right now. Over the next few weeks, we will have a MUCH better picture and can start saying more definite things.

We have multiple people, multiple companies and organizations, myriad doctors in the field working to figure this thing out and how to beat it.

People are motivated. People are motivated right now, partially out of alturism (yes, we do have some semblance of it, despite what Ayn Rand says). And partially for profit. Yes, that’s right. It CAN be both. But the motivation is pushing hard on both sides of that coin right now and I’m confident it will be done.

Fauci and Birx and the other task force members have all given us a little glimpse of what the unfolding will look like.

Less infected areas will have stay-at-home orders lifted first. There will still be guidelines to follow when we’re out and about. These guidelines will be informed by the data that is rolling in and will continue to roll in over the next few weeks. Yes, you can go back to work BUT … you should do these things until we get a vaccine. Yes, you can have gatherings and concerts BUT … take these precautions. And in the more infected areas they will be lifted more slowly as the numbers get down to some sort of at least rudimentary contact tracing is possible.

The “end game” isn’t really an “end”.  It’s more like “the rest of this will be managable from this point forward”.

That’s why we must, as they are saying, keep our foot on the gas over the next couple of weeks to drive those numbers down as low as we can get it before we start lifting restrictions. It will most definitely NOT mean the disease is beaten. Only beaten back to where it can be better managed. It will flare up in spots. The forest fire analogy is not a bad one. And if good enough treatments come out, and I think they will, that make getting this thing literally “no worse than the flu”. At which point restrictions become less warranted, and things will literally get back to “normal”. But socially, at least, it may be a new “normal”, where we wash our hands more, are more encouraged to stay at home when we’re sick, etc.

If you want to know what’s going on, watch the daily briefings. Pay no attention to the press – most of their questions are not insightful at all. It’s stupid cat-and-mouse “gotcha” games mixed with sheer ignorance about how things work, and an inability to listen.  That’s because most of them didn’t come to listen. Some of them are clearly agenda-driven, and are statements rather than questions. Don’t get your information from the media. Yeah, I know Trump rambles and repeats himself. Just wait for the various task force members to get up to the podium. Watch the entire breifings. Trump is trying (badly) to echo what he’s gotten from them tempered with some of his own judgement, and he’s just not a good speaker. But the other task force members are. They will tell you what they’re thinking, individually, and those things are driving what direction the group is headed, and the president’s job is just to gather that and make decisions when you get to the point of “well, it’s either A or B, we can’t have both”. As a facilitator and decision maker, I think he’s pretty good, and I think that’s what task force members are saying when they say he’s doing a good job.

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Epic Pandemic

I know.  I really suck as a blogger anymore.  I haven’t posted here in … a year?  Time was, I was on it. I think part of it is there are a lot more conservative voices out there now than there were when I started in 2003, so I don’t feel as compelled to vent and “philosophise” as I used to be.  So many more people out there are better at it than I am.  (Not the least of which is our own resident blogger who suggested this blog in the first place, the venerable Severian.)

And that’s a GOOD thing.

I end up combatting people more on The Hello Kitty o’ Bloggin’, as our own Morgan Freeberg calls it … facebook these days.  I do most of my echo stopping there.  I really WANT to get back into this I suppose – it’s worthwhile.  But my voice is now drowned in a sea of better ones.

Still …  I made some observations today I’d like to share, and I’m gonna share them here.

I watched the President’s press conference from the Rose Garden today.

I’m just going to start out by conceding that our president is an ineloquent man. There’s no getting around that. And by nature he’s a bit of a carnival barker salesman, an optimist, and clearly he has a bit of an ego. I’d argue that all of our presidents, some more than others, have a bit of an ego. Don’t get me started on our last one, Trump has nothing on him when it comes to that.

All that being said, where this guy excels is … getting expert advice and making sound decisions.

For all the hand-wringing about his “slow” response to the virus … it isn’t HIS response. It is our system’s response. And I’m really not blaming the CDC, here, either – this is probably the most apolitical government organization we have, and it’s filled with professionals, many career, long-term professionals that monitor this stuff all over the world every day and make decisions based upon that vast experience. Yes, they can make mistakes — they’re human — and yes, there can be and are glitches in the system. But these are the best people we have, and they take their jobs very seriously.   And honestly, the response has been pretty fast given the realities under which we operate.

The President doesn’t tell them what to do, they tell the President what they’re doing, and sometimes what they NEED to do and what they need to do it if they can’t get it under the current system.

To my eye, the President listened to them and talked to a variety of private sector players and had them put together a plan that could be implemented quickly and effectively. Their plan required that he move some government regulations out of the way, and when the President was made aware of them, I’m sure in consultation with a lot of government agencies — he saw fit to remove those barriers.

THAT … is the President’s job. Not deciding when and whom and where to test or how fast a vaccine will be developed, or what events will be shut down or who will be quarantined. His job is to get advice, reccomendations, and remove obstacles in emergencies.

This is what Trump does best.

So despite his bumbling, repetitive and too often hyperbolic words … he’s doing his job, and doing it well especially in this case.

We’ve had, what, 40 some odd deaths from this virus. 22 of them in a single nursing facility. Average age of the dead — 80.

Population-wise, I’ll stack that up against any country. Yes, it will go up. Significantly. Don’t kid yourself. But it will go up in those other countries as well. This is what viruses do. We will minimize it here, especially considering our population and highly mobile infrastructure and numerous high-density population centers.

What disgusted me at the press conference was the presumptuousness of many the press corps, more interested in scoring political points than getting actual, useful perspective for their viewers and readers – the American public — about what we’re facing. Forunately, many of the professionals behind him, none of whom seemed to be the least bit concerned about being near the President even though he had apparently stood next to someone who later tested positive for a few seconds for a photo — filled in very well for him in this area.

Seriously, this is the damned President of the United States. If his physicians were concerned, they’d have him tested and isolated. Would it LOOK better if he’d been tested? Sure. But if there were reason to be concerned, trust me, that concern would be acted upon. The health of the President of the United States is closely monitored.  And honestly, if he HAD been tested, I’m sure the question would be wasn’t it selfish for him to be tested when others couldn’t be? I am tired of these people.

A lot of the questions centered around giving an exact date when “everyone” would be able to be tested. Last I checked, the population was 320 million people. No, we don’t have the capacity to test 320 million people. We will, shortly, have better capacity to test people who have a good reason to be tested, though. And we can’t say, “Sunday night at 7:43 pm”. Stupid, stupid questions.

There was even one stupid question someone asked as if we were looking into why this virus was worse for older people. As if this were unique to this virus. Anyone with any sort of a brain knows that ALL diseases are worse for older people. (I have to wonder if they were trying to paint the administration as “ageist” for not looking into this).

I also read somewhere that “We” refused a test offered by the WHO. I don’t know the details but I do know this. If “We” refused a test from the WHO, “We” — those experts, had a reason. The general we out here may not understand that reason. But it wasn’t arbitrary, and it wasn’t malicious or selfish.

So what I got out of this is that a decently large, but not TOO large (the bigger the group, the worse it is at coming to any concensus) group of people have been highly involved for the last two weeks, analyzing and advising and discussing what to do and how to do it. The widespread closing of many institutions for the next two weeks, at least for now — and other measures like it we heard yesterday and the day before, likely came out of this through back channel reccomendations before this press conference.

It’s not a bad idea. One of the questions was how quickly the president was going to have additional respirators necessary.

Although the President later said that they were requesting additonal respirators, it is clear the general approach here is to render extra ones unnecessary by dulling the epidemic peak. If we don’t have as many patients at a time, we don’t need more respirators. Though we’ll produce some just in case.

In short – I’d rather have an ineloquent guy up there who knows how to get people together and can make sound decisions based on input than some eloquent pie in the sky dreamer who will mandate sunshine from cucumbers.

I was skeptical of this guy at first. But man … he isn’t bad.

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In Diversity™ We Trust

Severian’s last post was on History vs the leftist narrative, specifically on Civil Rights.  Then Morgan asked on The Hello Kitty of Bloggin’,  after watching the Democrat Debates …

“Is there an agenda to popularize the Spanish language in the United States? If so, is the vision that more people should be knowledgeable about it, or that fewer people understand English? Or both?

Or, is the agenda to balkanize the country, get as many languages in active use as possible, so that there’s.more confusion, less clarity? What’s the goal here exactly?”

Well lemme ‘splain.

It’s because Diversity™, of course.  That is the whole purpose behind the United States of America.  Let’s review our history, shall we?

You see, centuries ago diversity was banned in Europe, so a bunch of enlightened people said, “Hey, I want to go somewhere where I can be diverse!”

And so they boarded rickety ships to bounce across the treacherous ocean for weeks, and when they landed they saw there were only Americans of Asian Descent (the land bridge between Asia and North America — before Lewis and Clark hegemonically traversed the continent in their SUVs).  They thought to themselves, “here, I can finally be diverse!” Indeed, Diversity™ doubled right then and there!

They wanted to be more diverse so badly that they imported brown people from diverse tribes in Africa. Sadly, in a dark era where no white person was even remotely against slavery, they were treated poorly and relegated to slavery because of a line Donald Trump had slipped into the Constitution in 1787.  This went on until JFK and the Democrats freed them in 1964. (when the Whigs and the Democrats switched sides after the Whigs lost a drunken bet with the Democrats in a bar the night before the bill was passed.)

Meanwhile people from other parts of the world had heard about this wonderful place where they, too, could come and be diverse, and they started coming… from China, from Japan, from Mexico, and the Middle East, with only the distant dream of Diversity™ on their minds.

We also created great UniDiversities to increase our knowledge and awareness of Diversity™ (especially after the Democrats freed the slaves!)

But in 1972, the Republican (aka, “Nazi”) Party was founded by Richard Nixon specifically to ban Diversity™ and put to everybody who wasn’t white into concentration camps. Fortunately, the Democrats came roaring back with Jimmy Carter in 1976, who created the Department of Education that has vastly improved Education in the United States by teaching us all to be more Diverse™.  Since then our education has become the best in the world! And! he graciously let 52 Americans be the guests of some nice Iranian students for more than a year just so they could become more diverse.

But then Ronald Reagan inexplicably won the election of 1980 (due to a clerical error at Trump, Inc*) and he immediately started a nuclear war with Russia. This was because he was not diverse and they were … well never mind, but it greatly reduced the Diversity™ in the world. Plus, Toxic Masculinity. Which is not Diverse™. Everyone should be more like women. That would be Diverse™.

After 12 years of cruel, oppressive Republican rule during which Reagan coerced some Germans to vandalize an historic, diverse wall, the great Bill Clinton was elected the First Black President™, which Americans thought finally ushered in Diversity™ once and for all.

But alas, it wasn’t to be, because G.W. Bush (aka “Hitler”) stole the election 8 years later by cleverly winning a majority of the votes in the Electoral College (like that was even legal!) and had the CIA fly planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon so that he could attack Iraq.  This was clearly because they were brown and he hated Diversity™, and also for oil. The United Nations had asked Saddam Hussein nicely 17 times to stop killing his own people, but it turned out he was doing it to reduce Iraq’s carbon footprint. Well this was the last straw (before California bravely banned them). Bush viciously attacked and removed Hussein from office because racism. And also blood for oil. Halliburton!!!! By the time he left office he personally had 100% control of all Iraqi oil, which he quickly lost to Dick Cheney (aka “Darth Vader”) in a drunken bet at a bar the night before the next election (Cheney then poured the oil all over Grand Teton National Park just so it could be drilled up again — also because he hates nature and especially fly-fishing).

After that, America came to its senses and elected Barack Obama, Savior of the Universe™, to be the Second First Black President™. Under his wise and kind rule, Americans began to get along Diversely like never before. Some people in Ferguson, Missouri even burned and looted a bunch of minority owned business just so they could get insurance money which they were owed by their former oppressors, who were now forever banished. It was almost the Paradise that Michael Moore proved Iraq was before G.W. Bush (aka “Hitler”) went in and started terrorism as we know it today (and stole all their oil).

Obama even stopped the oil that Halliburton had re-drilled out of Grand Teton from covering the Gulf of Mexico with his bare, diverse hands.

But it wasn’t to last forever. She Whose Turn It Was to be the Third Black President™ and The First Female President was stunned by her totally unfair loss to Donald Trump (aka “Hitler”), a Russian agent who was heretofore known only for grabbing pussies, and whose wife’s arms could never measure up to the previous first lady’s.  She was also an immigrant who spoke only 6 languages, plus she immigrated legally, which really isn’t very Diverse™.

She Whose Turn It Was to be the Third Black President™ graciously left her supporters waiting while she drank the entire wine supply just to save them from themselves when she gave her concession speech the next morning after drinking 163 cups of coffee in 21 minutes. This was very diverse of her. It was a sad day because this meant that no woman could ever be elected president. Ever. This was indeed confirmed when Donald Trump (aka “Hitler”) decreed it was so as he squashed a kitten under his foot, because kittens represent Diversity™. Crunch!

Hitler (aka Donald Trump) had the audacity to try to faithfully execute the laws of the United States, which included putting people who crossed the border illegally – including children — in the cages Barack Obama (Savior of the Universe™) had diversely built for people who crossed the border illegally. Building them was diverse, but actually using them for their intended purpose was not. And it was just like Auschwitz, only 50 times worser.

All brown people began leaving the United States in droves, fearing for their lives, but they were overwhelmed by the flood of poor confused brown people coming in the other direction. Why were they coming? Didn’t they know?

Ah, but this was all part of Trump’s (aka “Hitler’s”) evil plan to End Diversity™ Forever! – to cleverly keep brown people from leaving by encouraging more brown people to come in to his concentration camps. Plus he outlawed being gay, and ordered all bakers NOT to bake wedding cakes for them, and he and his evil minions began driving Democrats out of restaurants and spitting on them for being so Diverse!

Since America was founded specifically to be The Most Diversest Country, Ever!™, he must be stopped at all costs, even if it means going through the Russians to procure a fake dossier to spend two and a half years in the headlines telling everyone proof he colluded with the Russians — was JUST around the corner!

Therefore it is more important than ever that we rally around our national motto,

“In Diversity™ We Trust!”

 * This was an error on Trump’s part as a Russian agent, which proves his incompetency.
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Gender and the co-opting of language

You know, I was sitting thinking about the 87 “gender” thing, and the “I F*cking Love Science™” crowd.

It hit me that once again, a word is being co-opted by the sophists.  A word that means one thing, and they pretend it means another — simultaneously coasting on the actual meaning … social reputation … of the word and denying that very meaning.

You know, I could grant them the word “sexuality”.  Maybe there are eleventy jillion “sexualities”.  The vast majority of them a result of nurture (or lack thereof) rather than nature.

But there are only two genders, scientifically, in nature.  Oh, sure, sometimes nature screws up and produces a person here or there who has some physical attributes of both genders.  And that’s certainly no reflection on those people any more than being born deaf or blind or with three arms is.  It is not “normal”.  It is what it is.  A good term would be “neither, but we’ll try to fit you in as best we can.”

But hijacking the word “gender” (which is, in fact, a scientific term) to essentially mean “sexual preference(s)” or “self-identification” is intentionally dishonest.  Pretending you’re still talking about science while using this word is a special kind of stupid dishonesty.

The progressives did the same thing with “liberal”, and myriad other words.

We shouldn’t let them get away with it.  Causes all sorts of problems.

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