Saturday, February 15, 2020

only logical

So legally, shouldn't Huawei face steep fines for violating Roe v Wade's "Right To Privacy"? (I'm not holding my breath)

Saturday, July 13, 2019

"History will repeat itself if we are unwilling to confront Marxist apologists who masquerade as competent educators."

my distillation of this article:

the background:
"[A public high school student] took a world geography class that was taught by a socialist. In the class, the teacher tried to advance his socialist ideas. In the process, he claimed that a) communist countries founded on Marxist principles are “not that bad,” and that b) students’ unfavorable impression of communist nations is the result of brainwashing by their parents."

the questions:
"According to The Black Book of Communism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999, page 4), Communist China has killed at least 65 million of its own citizens. Would you say that communism was “not that bad” for those 65 million murdered citizens?
According to the same source, the Soviet Union killed at least 20 million of its own citizens. Would you say that communism was “not that bad” for those 20 million murdered citizens?
According to the same source, communist North Korea has killed at least two million of its own citizens. Would you say that communism was “not that bad” for those two million murdered citizens?
According to the same source, communist Cambodia has killed at least two million of its own citizens. Would you say that communism was “not that bad” for those two million murdered citizens?
And still according to the same source, Vietnam has killed at least one million of its own citizens. Would you say that communism was “not that bad” for those one million murdered citizens?
and the thought experiment:
Imagine there are two countries. One country has so many illegal immigrants crossing its borders that it has to build a wall to keep them out. The other country has to build a wall just to keep its own citizens in. Which country would you say is “not that bad?”

the guidelines for asking these questions:
"The first guideline is that students who take on socialist teachers must be mindful of the fact that there is no chance that they will influence the teacher. Their real target is the impressionable student who needs to have a stone planted in his shoe to get him to critically evaluate the teacher’s indoctrination.

The second guideline is that under no circumstances should the anti-socialist student make an affirmative argument in favor of capitalism. If he does that, then the teacher will simply respond with a canned answer that he has contemplated previously. A far better approach is to hit the socialist teacher with tough questions, which force the socialist to defend the record of socialism as it has actually been implemented in communist regimes throughout history."

Monday, June 17, 2019

censorship online

The Z Man explains many things well, including censorship via technology:
"[it is unlikely] that the tech oligopolies will come to their senses and stop trying to suppress speech on-line. In all probability, they will exhaust themselves trying to stamp out dissent, which means things will get much worse. Apple, for example, is now censoring speech within chat programs like Telegram. Microsoft is promising to moderate speech over Skype. The people behind these efforts are driven by hatred and self-loathing, so they lie awake at night thinking about this stuff.

The trouble is, it is expensive. The latest YouTube banning probably cost the company $10 million dollars to organize. It’s pretty clear they invested a lot of manpower in reviewing specific videos. The return on that investment was mostly bad press and greater awareness by regulators that there is a problem...

...With every censorship effort, the reputation of the oligopolies declines. Silicon Valley is now the universal villain.

The point of all this is not that libertarians are right that the market will magically sort out the problem for us. All of this could have been avoided if the government had done its job and cracked down on these oligopolies a long time ago."


Local Malcontent makes good parody from excessive rain

Saturday, June 08, 2019

The Pharaoh Cheops, Builder of The Great Pyramid, Visits A Modern 7-11 Store

Reposting Bill Whittle's brilliant essay (which seems inordinately difficult to find online):
We can stop, in little ways, taking so d*** much for granted.

As an exercise in perspective, let's briefly compare our civilization to another. Let's compare our supposedly soulless, banal, hum-drum society to the splendors of ancient Egypt. And let's tie both hands behind our backs while we do so. Let's not compare the Great Pyramid to one of our skyscrapers, or airports, or hospitals, or even our shopping malls. Let's take a moment to compare the Great Pyramid of Cheops with the most common and drab and ordinary structure on the block: The Great Pyramid vs. the 7-11.

Assume that we could transplant a corner 7-11 to the Egyptian desert, with all of the support systems that make it what it is. It is a tiny speck compared to the gleaming white marble sides of the pyramid. It looks small and poorly made. From afar. Pharaoh comes by barge and litter to inspect the competition, laughing at the mismatch. He and his princes and a retinue of servants approach the plain, unadorned metal doors and step inside.

By the Gods! It is cool inside! As cool as the desert night, here, in the middle of the relentless day! Outside the servants sweat and minor officials fan themselves, but Pharaoh is, for the first time perhaps, comfortable in the middle of the desert sun. He turns to exclaim this wonder to his underlings, and - By the Ghost of Osiris!! The walls! You can see right through them!

Ten seconds into the contest, and already Pharaoh has been rendered mute by miracles.
He commands endless lines of bucket-laden servants to throw water upon this transparent wall, flinching and then laughing endlessly with his children as the water stops in mid-air and slides to the ground. It is called, glass, Great King. It's cost? No, hardly a years harvest. It is a trifle, the cost a nuisance should it need replacing.

After an hour or so of pressing hands and faces against the glass, of running inside and out, of feeling the smoothest surface they have ever experienced, Pharaoh reluctantly moves on to the magazine rack. Glancing at one, he recoils in horror, making a sign of protection against evil. There, like a tiny row of jail cells, sits face after face of imprisoned souls, bound into small rectangles. What else can they be? We have all seen Egyptian hieroglyphics: they are entrancing, but photorealistic they are not. How many monuments, how many man-years of backbreaking labor, how many deaths could be averted for a man obsessed with being remembered, if only Pharaoh had been able to be photographed? Immortalized! Captured with a precision and nuance greater than that of all of his artisans working together for a thousand years?

And there, on the rack beside the magazines: newspapers, pictures and text detailing the most significant events across the entire globe, covering an area that makes the Egyptian empire look puny and insignificant. How to explain to a king who must wait weeks or months or even years for critical information that each bundle of paper contains news no later than a day old from every remote corner of the Earth, and sells for about a tenth of what our most poorly paid laborer makes in a single hour? Now he begins to think we are mocking him. Yet there is much more to vex and amaze Cheops.

Toilet paper. Draw your own picture of what the highest-born Egyptian must do in those circumstances. Down the aisle to the back - wonders on either side. And then: Ice.
Likely Pharaoh has never seen ice, let alone touched it. At first he recoils, thinking he has been burned. You grab a handful, and gesture for him to put a cube in his mouth. Pharaoh grows enraged - you are trying to kill him! You do so first, sucking on an ice cube. Tentatively, he tries, for the first time in his life, something cold - a diamond that turns to perfectly pure water in his hand.

Think, for a moment, that you have drunk river water for your entire life. Think what a taste of cool, clear water would taste like. Just imagine that one, garden-variety wonder. Then beers and wines, refined and brewed and filtered, not the murky swill he will have known. And as Pharaoh hesitates with each can and bag and box of food he opens, you will have to reassure him, time and time again, that even though you have no idea where the food was made, or when, or by whom, you know it absolutely to be safe to eat. Corn flakes and potato chips - how many lives would a bag of Ruffles be worth to this man, he who has never seen, let alone tasted a potato? How many men would Pharaoh send to die to obtain another box of Oreo cookies for his sons? An army? An entire fleet? Cans of ravioli. Peanut butter. Eggs and milk, of course, but of a quality and size unheard of.

Grab a frozen lasagna and hand it to the Great King. Frozen, like a brick, and like a brick he gnaws on it. Delicious! Then across the room to a small black box, which opens with the same magic lantern that lights this palace of wonder day and night. A moment of conversation passes, and Ding! What was frozen is now steaming hot! Without fire, and in an instant!

The Princes have been exploring every nook and cranny, reporting back to their father: In back, water which flows endlessly, purer than any they have ever tasted, and some of it is hot! It flows from the walls, father! A stream unending! Behind the counter, scores of small, beautifully-colored cylinders which make fire! Made of - what? Not wood or metal - something smooth and hard and perfect! Soaps, of wondrous scents and soft as pillows! Father! Come and see this!

But Pharaoh hardly notices. He is staring up at a box mounted in the corner of the wall, and there, for the first time in his magnificent life, Pharaoh can see... Pharaoh!
Cheops raises his arm, and the small shwabti Cheops raises his! Pharaoh advances, makes a face! The imprisoned Pharaoh does the same! And there, in one of the four corners! The back of the slave Pharaoh's head! And in another small square, the Crown Prince! He is not in the room, and yet Pharaoh sees him plainly! When he emerges from the storeroom Pharaoh hugs him as if he had returned from the dead.

Yes King, we can on such boxes see any event of significance around the entire world, as it happens. And we can see singers and minstrels and performers - not only those alive today, but those who may have died many years ago! Yes, as real as any other! Preserved forever in language and form!

What would that be worth to such a man?

Over there, in a corner, another magic tablet that communicates back to you, and upon following a set of instructions you give it, disperses money at your command, a seemingly bottomless pot of gold (although, it must be said, the only flash of disappointment Pharaoh has shown was for the quality of money - gold coins would have made a much better impression.)

The sun is setting, and yet the magic of the palace grows ever stronger. Light does not fade. Having read by candlelight his entire life, the idea of day during night is powerful magic indeed. The princes have fallen silent. They have discovered the Slurpee machine and mortgaged their birthrights, entire kingdoms to the clerk for another refill.

There, behind the counter: a machine that will do mathematical calculations to eight decimal places, flawlessly. Instantly. There sits a machine that can do in five seconds what it would take an entire court of astronomers and scribes five years to calculate. The eyes of the underlings, the Egyptian bureaucrats who must count and account for everything in the kingdom - by hand - begin to glaze over. What they could do in a single day with such a wonder! But Pharaoh now is transfixed by the metal of the countertop. Hard. Very hard. On impulse, he removes his short bronze sword and hacks at the steel. Impervious. Cheops' prized sword is dented and useless. What a sword and shield such material would make - and it's everywhere: in the doors, the cabinets... common as sand.

But Pharaoh is no longer happy. Like many of that era, he suffers from terrible toothaches. There is so much sand that even the grinding of flour produces bread that erodes the tooth enamel. Pain is a constant companion for him, and like many of his age - like many of every age, before our own - he suffers in silence. That is his life. This, the most powerful man on the planet, suffers just like the poorest. But here, in this bland, ubiquitous convenience store, there is mercy for rich and poor alike. Cold medicine. Medicines to reduce fever. Medicines for toothache, too. And medicine for pain.

In fifteen minutes, this Great Pharaoh will know a few moments free of pain. His children, whom he loves as we love our own - also free of pain.

What would the most powerful man in the world give for such a thing? How much gold? How much land? How many lives?

The pain subsides. And although perhaps not a good or a wise send off for a man with a toothache, the transcendental look of joy on Pharaoh's face when he first encounters a Coke and a Snickers bar is a sight that his children will never forget. Even after he is long dead, they will always remember him thus, as they ride toward the river on the dark night of the new moon, the little palace glowing in the dark like a beacon visible for fifty miles and more.

Now, on the other hand, the Great Pyramid of Cheops is a massive, beautifully decorated and cunningly designed pile of stones.

Friday, March 29, 2019

4th estate, 5th column

It is long past time for us "normals" to cease our complicity in the ruse that the mainstream American media can be viewed as anything remotely approaching "objective." Instead, we would be better served to label the media for what they are: Information warfare operatives with an overtly partisan, Democratic Party-infused gaslighting agenda.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Sickness

I'd like to excerpt some of the better quotes from the other Limbaugh, but they're all good and should be read straight through.

Monday, October 29, 2018

party prophecy

Alexander Hamilton was so much more interesting than the musical about him:
Were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.

...we have already sufficient indications that it will happen in this as in all former cases of great national discussion. A torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectives. An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty. An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretense and artifice, the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the public good. It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual concomitant of love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.

Friday, September 07, 2018

"Where's The Crisis?"

Andrew Klavan asks:
[America's] economy is booming. Our factories are thriving. Consumer confidence is high while unemployment is at historic lows. We are largely at peace with an unruly world... Racism has been eradicated from our institutions. Present poverty here looks like middle-class life in the 80's. Crime rates remain low. With a little work, you can hope to stay healthier longer than ever before. And you can carry the knowledge of the ages in a phone the size of your palm.

Good times... by the standards of human existence — where One is Nuclear Apocalypse and Ten is Peace, Prosperity and Good Will — I’d say the U.S. is at about a Nine, with an extra half point off for lack of Good Will.

So why is it, when I read or watch the news, it sounds like it’s World War Z out there?

...for all the palaver about [Trump's] being a tyrant, well, after eight years of having a Chicago pol in the White House who misused the IRS, the Intelligence Community and the Justice Department by unleashing them on his political opponents, Trump seems like an icon of Constitutional governance to me!

[Unlike the Trump hysteria, the] Obama nightmares were not supported, amplified and spread by news media, social media, entertainment, intellectual and bureaucratic establishments — all of which are wholly owned and operated subsidiaries of the American Left, working with an assist from the institutional Right.

...Trump not only outsmarted [the beltway and media institution] in 2016, he has snatched the national narrative from their grasping fingers and they are fighting tooth and nail to seize it back. That, and that alone, is both the source and the purpose of the panic in the news...

Monday, June 11, 2018

the difference between life and death

Benjamin Netanyahu says:
The Iranian regime shouts, “Death to Israel!” In response, Israel shouts, “Life! To the Iranian people!”

Friday, June 01, 2018

Who Cares If Democrats Call You Racist?

Michael J. Knowles
"[W]ho cares how Democrats try unjustly to discredit you? Democrats — the party of slavery, Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, black disarmament, among myriad other anti-black policies — have precisely zero moral credibility on racial issues against Republicans, whose party was founded explicitly to free the Democrats' slaves... The economy is booming, the bureaucracy is poised to shrink, federal judges are respecting our laws and Constitution, illegal aliens are being denied entry into the United States, President Trump is resisting extralegal attempts to overturn the 2016 election, and so Democrats are furious. The only tool they have left is to feign hysterical indignation over tweets on news cycle after news cycle. Conservatives shouldn’t take the bait. We owe the party of slavery no explanation, and we shouldn’t covet its partisans’ approval."