Stepping Off The Carousel

Here’s my admission: I’ve never watched Breaking Bad. I never watched it because the inherent premise of it — a good man forced into crime by circumstance — was abhorrent to me, and because I’ve always been the guy who tried to do what was right regardless of circumstance.

But lately, I’m starting to think I may have been an idiot all these years, because when the system can be so easily gamed by people with fewer scruples and lower morals than mine, what’s the point of being the good guy?

Over at Return of Kings, some guy makes the same point in an article entitled In A Broken America, Only The Dishonorable Are Rewarded. (By the way, I love articles whose titles make reading the thing unnecessary, but you should read it anyway.) In true RoK fashion, he refers to people like me as “dupes”, and in his frame of the situation, he’s probably quite right.

Fortunately, of course, I’m in the majority of the population because up until now, most people can be counted on to do the right thing. I suspect too that this is why Social Security is pretty much untouchable: not because of the greediness of retirees, but because having done the right thing their whole lives and paid into the system (albeit at gunpoint), people are insistent that government also does the right thing and delivers on their promise by supporting retirees.

That government might one day renege on that promise is the stuff of nightmares — and not just for the cheated retirees, either.

What concerns me is that our public morality is becoming frayed by the increasing growth of private immorality. When I stated above that the “majority” of people can be counted on to do the right thing, what happens when that majority becomes a lot less so, and the wrongdoers become ascendant? Which, I think, is Furioso’s underlying point of his article, albeit not enunciated as such. If everybody else is cheating, then why aren’t you? It’s an enticing question, and sadly, a seductive one.

Even worse is that the wrongdoers,  by cheating and abusing the system, make thing intolerable for those who are on the straight and narrow. No better example can be found than in the pain management scenario, where people who are experiencing real and excruciating pain on a daily basis are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain the drugs needed to treat their condition because a jillion fuckups are abusing opiates and government, of course, is applying legislation like a hammer when what’s called for is a scalpel. My late wife was actually fired by two pain management medical practices because the doctors were finding the burden of government intervention and intrusiveness too difficult — and career-threatening — for Connie’s care to be in their best interest. Only when she was diagnosed with cancer did her care improve, because (as the new doctor explained), government doesn’t actually care about terminal patients because their condition is finite.

Imagine my reaction to that little nugget of information. And no, I didn’t load up the old AK-47 and pay a visit to the nearest government office. What I wanted to do was load up the AK and start paying visits to the cockroaches who had created this situation by abusing the drugs which my wife desperately needed. Seriously, had I known the Breaking Bad guy in person, I would have been mightily tempted to slaughter him, his dealers and every single “patient” who used his product. But not even I have enough ammo to make that problem go away because cockroaches seem to be in infinite supply these days.

I worry about this situation, about this waning of public morality. In fact, I worry about this more than I worry about any other aspect of modern society — more than un-Constitutional campus speech codes, more than corrupt IRS officials who target conservatives, and far more than the Russians (who are surely the best example of nationally-degraded public morality) attempting to fiddle with our electoral system.

And I know that our beloved government is worried about it too. How else can you explain the recent huge purchases of guns and ammunition by the Fedgov, and the arming of the thousands of federal agents and bureaucrats who are not even close to being in actual law enforcement?

Never before has W.B. Yeats’s Second Coming been more chilling:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

At the risk of sounding apocalyptic: keep your powder dry and your guns at hand, folks. Because when more than a few decent folks start to break bad, it’s SHTF time.

No Time To Think

When examining the Snowflake Test a while ago, I answered this question thus:

You’re in Starbucks with two friends. Someone runs in and says someone is coming in with a gun in 15 seconds to shoot patrons. They offer you a gun. Do you take it? What do you do next?
— I don’t need someone else’s gun because I always carry my own. Next, I’d tell everyone to get on the floor (so I get a clear field of fire), then find some cover from which to shoot behind, and finally slip the safety catch off the 1911. It’s an unlikely situation per se because I never go to Starbucks, but I understand the general issue you’re addressing.

…whereupon Longtime Reader Felix Estrella made this comment:

“I’d be concerned about your “Starbucks and gun” answer. How do you know that, for example, the guy running into the Starbucks didn’t just steal a cop’s gun and the ‘assailant’ about to come in isn’t the cop chasing after the stealer? Why would you want to get into a fight on the say-so of a complete stranger? Wouldn’t you want to assess the situation before opening fire? Why are you trying to be the hero? Do you thrive on hero-worship?”

Leaving aside the two snarky comments at the very end because they’re not worth answering yet, it’s an interesting comment which I’ve had to think about for a while. “Interesting” because it’s one of those intellectual discussions which works well when one has a great deal of time to analyze it but  which, when one has literally only a couple seconds to make life-and-death decisions, is far more likely to cause indecision and ultimately, tragedy.

In the first instance, a guy who has just stolen a cop’s gun isn’t going to run into a Starbucks hoping some hero is going to waste the pursuing cop — a gun store, maybe, but Starbucks? No. And why would the guy with the gun be looking for protection from the guy without the gun? Even if this were the case, the pursuer is going to be holding his cop’s badge in his hand (or should be), whereupon Hero Kim will hold fire, you betcha, and start looking for the first guy. Unless I see a gun in the second guy’s hand, I’m not going to fire. Rule #1 in COINOPS, Felix, and you should know that.

In the second instance, “assessing the situation” is one of those actions which sounds nice when it’s asked in a courtroom, miles away from the Starbucks and light-years away from the situation itself, but in the few seconds available, it just isn’t a sensible option. Hesitation, in this case, means that the guy running into the store with a gun is going to shoot a couple of folks while I’m standing there, pondering (like Teddy Kennedy at Chappaquiddick) the implications of what’s happening in front of me.

Sorry, that ain’t gonna happen. I stand by my original answer, because I think it’s the correct one.

Now for Felix’s snarky closing comments. I don’t have a hero complex — in fact, given the choice, I’d prefer to be at home and far away from this situation. But I do take my civic duties seriously, and this would be one of those times when obligation takes precedence over druthers.

And Felix, you committed the first cardinal sin on this website: gratuitously insulting the host. Here’s my comment: go fuck yourself. Longtime readership earns you no favors against rudeness.

This topic is now closed.

Seeking Excuses

I have a theory that for many women, sex, or rather agreeing to have sex is difficult, and especially so for the first time with a new partner. How else to explain the fact that so many women admitted that their first time with a new man was generally experienced in an alcoholic haze? (For those who haven’t been keeping up, the source data is here.) So if confronting herself about her “slutty” behavior (even if the sluttiness is only in her own mind), a woman would like to have an excuse like “Oh, but I was drunk…” and thus can excuse away or justify the indiscretion. Or else, as the original study showed, women can even explain away the drunkenness as just a regular part of the dating process, so therefore it’s okay.

I also believe that this is why so many women have rape fantasies, because “Oh, he forced me to do it…” is likewise an expression that denies the woman’s [shameful] complicity in the act. (Of course, now that it’s become okay to accuse a previous partner with actual rape as part of the excuse, the whole thing has become considerably more sinister, especially as such accusations can take place months or years afterwards and still be considered valid by law enforcement. But for the sake of argument, let’s treat this scenario as but a blip on societal consciousness which will disappear at some point when women regain their sanity. We can only hope.) Certainly, this explains female submissiveness (outside a natural submissive personality anyway), which can be regarded (by women) as a kind of watered-down rape fantasy.

The only time, I think, when self-delusion disappears is when a woman encounters a universal object of female desire, such as a hunky actor or popular musician. Even then, there is a “safety in numbers” excuse — “OMG everybody is crazy about him!” — which makes it okay, or at least, provides a figleaf of an excuse for irresponsibility and sexual licentiousness. You only need a sliver of an excuse, and it will be acceptable, in other words.

I think men, on the whole, just go “Huh?” to all this, I suppose because there’s little societal censure in licentious sexual activity for men (yeah I know, double standards whatever). But I think we men need to understand this female need for self-justification (or -delusion) when it comes to sex, because how else can we otherwise explain that so many women seem to need booze to help them get it on, even with longtime partners and/or husbands?

It’s not just partner-sex which occasions such a mindset. I recall one woman tweeting (? I think) of her humiliation when her suitcases were searched in Customs, and her collection of travel vibrators and -dildos came to light. Equally astonishing was the number of women who commented with their own humiliations on similar occasions. (I didn’t take note of links or numbers because I read this before I got back into blogging, and didn’t think I’d need them. But I recall that the sympathizers numbered well into the thousands.) So the market came to the rescue in the comment thread, with many women extolling the virtues of Bergamo’s Cucumber Soothing Gel as a travel accessory, which seemed rather odd to me until I found a picture of said wonder-substance:

Of course it’s the product, and not the packaging which makes this so appealing to women — “It’s for my skin condition, Mr. TSA Agent!” — and thus is plausible deniability maintained.

You’re not fooling anyone, ladies… but hey, if it makes you feel better about yourselves (and gets us guys involved in the process, so to speak), then go for it.

“Hey, bartender!”

Beauty, Beholder, Eye Thereof

Somewhere on my meanderings through Teh Intarwebz, I stumbled on this photo, which depicts the typical G.I. squad weaponry of World War II.

For those unfamiliar with Ye Olde Weaponrie, they are from the top: M3 submachine gun, Colt 1911-A1 pistol, Thompson 1928-A1 submachine gun (standard and “commando” versions), M1 Carbine, M1 Garand, M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). All in manly chamberings like .45 ACP , .30 Carbine and .30-06 Springfield, and there’s not a single piece of plastic to be found anywhere: just wood and steel and death and stuff.

I’ve fired every single one of them, of course, and loved the experience more than is proper to discuss in polite company.

Feel free to tell me why I shouldn’t feel a sense of longing for the Good Old Days.

(Yes, I know the M3 could be altered to fire the silly 9mm Parabellum Europellet, but like dear old Uncle Ernie who liked to fiddle all about, we just don’t talk about such wickedness.)

Enough Old Stuff

One of the several “throw or keep?” decisions I had to make when emptying the house was about my CD collection. As I came late to the Digital Revolution (21st Century version) — and some say I still haven’t joined it — I haven’t started downloading music from Amazon Musik or whatever they call it, simply because I have most of my favorite music on CD already, and with a very few exceptions, I find modern music unappealing.

Unfortunately, this also means that I’ve become sick of all the old music, “old” being defined as 60s-70s music of my rock star (uh huh) youth. I mean, if I hear “Sweet Home Alabama” and anything by Led Zeppelin one more time, I’m going to slip the safety off the 1911. Even longtime favorites like Genesis, Steely Dan and Jethro Tull are beginning to pall, and needless to say, I have every album of artists like the aforementioned as well as the Beatles, Joe Walsh and Wishbone Ash on CD, so the collection of my favorite musical genres is extensive. But I never listen to it anymore because I’m bored with it. I ended up keeping almost all my old CDs, but have yet to unpack any of them, let alone listen to them. The problem is that music has always been a major part of my existence, and I have to listen to something.

So what am I listening to, at the moment? Classical, mostly, because it doesn’t seem as though I can ever get sick of it. Lately I’ve rediscovered several old favorites like Saint-Saëns and Dvorak, and of course there’s always the perennials (Chopin, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Beethoven etc.) that can be relied upon for listening pleasure, as always. It also helps that their music is being interpreted differently by the various conductors and musicians (Lisitsa, Grimaud, Mutter and so on) — and just as I’ve veered away from Classic Rock, I’ve also lost interest in classical artists like Gould, Rubinstein, Horowitz and even Barenboim (the “Old Guys”, as I’ve heard them described). I like the freshness and verve that virtuosos like Valentina Lisitsa and Olga Kern bring to the old favorites like Beethoven’s Pathétique and Rachmaninoff’s Piano No.2, and the effect of that is almost, as I said earlier, a rediscovery of classical music.

In similar vein, I listen to the old standards like the songs of Rogers & Hart, Carmichael and Gershwin — they never grow old — but I have to say, I also enjoy the interpretations given their music by “modern” artists as well: people like the incomparable Harry Connick Jr. and equally-brilliant Norah Jones. Even Willie Nelson and Eric Clapton have started to reinterpret the standards and to my mind, are eclipsing the “old guys” like Fred Astaire and Julie London, who actually introduced me to this genre. (It’s not that the latter are bad — of course they aren’t — but I’ve just heard them so often, it’s starting to get stale. Yes, even Astaire.)

There’s a common thread to the above which I’ve just realized at this moment: it’s not the music I’m sick of, it’s the original versions thereof. Nobody is reinterpreting Classic Rock, other than as cover bands like American English (Beatles) and Zepparella (Zep).

So maybe that’s what Classic Rock needs: for new guys to reinterpret their music (as opposed to just reproducing it), much as Dred Zeppelin did to Led Zeppelin (I love the Dred, by the way). Let’s hear Dream Theater do their version of the White Album (minus the excruciating Revolution No.9, please), let’s see what Norah Jones does to Suite: Judy Blue Eyes and let’s find out what Samantha Fish does with Blowing In The Wind and Harry Connick Jr. with Only One Woman.

But if I can ask for one, and only one favor from all this reinterpretation activity: we do not repeat not need another version of Free Bird. Don’t make me slip that safety off the 1911…

Update: This wouldn’t be a decent post without an example of the “old” music, and a totally gratuitous pic of what I’m talking about. Here’s Samantha Fish:

…and here’s Only One Woman.


The Russian word in the title means “to conceal”. Let me give you a modern-day example thereof.

There is an international group of people whose purpose is to hobble the industrial capability of the advanced nations of the world, so as to “equalize” the outputs of those nations and the “emerging” nations — much as racehorses are handicapped by carrying heavier weights to compensate for their greater ability. There are all sorts of reasons for this group to exist: some members are part of the emerging nations themselves and seek to help their client countries, while other members are citizens of the advanced nations who wish to improve the chances of the emerging nations by slowing or crippling the advanced nations. The motives of the first group (the “emergents”) are obvious, unambiguous and completely understandable. Those of the second group, however, are a lot less so, unless one understands the philosophical underpinnings of their actions.

There is a socio-political philosophy that advancement of one group can only occur at the expense of another; in other words, progress, wealth, development and so on are all finite, and therefore when one group advances, it takes from the “pool” of, say, wealth which by definition will impoverish others. This philosophy is called Marxism.

So while both emergents and Marxists have different motives, their goal is the same: handicapping the progress of advanced industrial economies.

There is a third group of people who have yet another philosophy, but whose goals (at the moment) are similar to those of the emergents and the Marxists. This last group, whom I’ll call the naturalists, prefer to think of the Earth as a perfect ecosystem that is despoiled by the actions of Man, and therefore will support any initiative or action that lessens the baleful effects of human activity. (These are the people who will oppose electrification of a rural Third World community because electrification will “spoil” the traditional culture of the community, regardless of the fact that the traditional culture causes people to starve in huge numbers and have infant mortality rates six times greater than their own group.) This group is largely ineffectual because their philosophy is ignored not only by thinking people, but by the people in the Third World who believe, rightly, that things like electricity provide a greater chance of survival in their hostile environment. But the naturalists serve an important purpose in the furthering of the three groups’ common goal (handicapping advanced nations’ progress and prosperity): their philosophy can be adopted by all three groups as an umbrella.

Advanced nations are likely to reject attempts to slow them down to allow competition from emerging nations — sentiments like “we welcome competition” are utter nonsense because nobody likes competition except the beneficiaries thereof.

Advanced nations also accept the fact that Marxism is nonsense — wealth is not finite, it’s infinite — and even when advanced nations buy into Marxism slightly (e.g. most of Western Europe, all of Scandinavia and people living in coastal U.S.A.), they will acknowledge privately that Marxism fails utterly wherever it’s practiced in its purest form (e.g. Cuba, the former Soviet Union and lately, Venezuela).

Advanced nations also accept the fact that the entire ethos of human history and endeavor is the exploitation of the Earth’s resources to improve the condition of humankind. Sometimes that exploitation is excessive — the open-pit mines of Kazakhstan, the deforestation of Eastern Africa for farming, and so on — and all recognize the need for responsible and even delicate management of resource exploitation where it can be done. Needless to say, the degree of responsibility is the subject of debate.

All of which brings us to the maskirovka.

I have written extensively as to why all current climate prediction models, the basis of the maskirovka, are a load of junk. Rather than do all that again, therefore, I’ll just refer to this excellent summary.

Update: For some reason, the last part of this post did not appear, so I’ve rewritten it below. Many apologies.

The goal of the three groups cannot garner support from the broad mass of people, for the simple reason that most people (of all skills, nationality and education) will not buy into the disparate philosophies of all three groups. What is therefore needed is a overriding message which can cover and conceal these philosophies and blur the goals into a single thesis. That statement has to have some underpinning, so a set of data — climate data — has been assembled to alarm people into thinking that not only is climate change imminent and catastrophic, it is also man-made (anthropomorphic). That the data is junk is beyond debate; one test of a mathematical algorithm supporting the thesis of “CLIMATE CHANGE SOON! WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!” found that not only was the algorithm flawed, but it created precisely the same conclusions regardless of the data fed into it — randomly-generated numbers, in other words, had the same conclusion as actual climate data points. (And the data collection methodology of the latter was also flawed, meaning that the foundation data was junk to start off with, hence the need to jiggle the calculations to provide the required conclusions. In the data analysis business, we used to call this the “K” factor, or to use its proper term, Lies & Bullshit.)

Of course, when people (such as myself) pointed out the inherent fallacy and mendacity of the maskirovka, the hysterical name-calling and insults were bound to follow: “climate-change denier” (consciously linking the term “denier” into the same category as “Holocaust denier”) became the term, rather than the more appropriate “skeptic”. Note too that the original term for “climate change” was “global cooling” in the 1980s, then “global warming” in the early 2000s (Al Gore, call your office), and then when the contradictory terms for the same phenomenon were pointed out, the thesis was quickly renamed into the catch-all “climate change”.

None of this, however, can refute the utter fallaciousness of the climate change data (also proved by the constantly-shifting doomsday dates of global catastrophe, all of which have either been passed or else can plainly be seen to be nonsensical). Further (actual) scientific research has shown that solar activity — which cannot be controlled by human intervention — is largely responsible for the overwhelming number of climate change events. This, then, is the simple reason for the hysteria with which anthropomorphic climate change skeptics are attacked; the mathematical foundation of the thesis is fatally flawed and indefensible, actual climate change is uncontrollable, and therefore the focus has to be shifted to impugn the skeptics. Some have suggested that skeptics be treated as criminals, some in academia have been ostracized by their peers and/or forced out of their jobs, and so on.

None of this matters. The plain fact is that the maskirovka has failed, millions of climate change research dollars are imperiled, and without the figleaf of “science” to support it, the entire coalition of the emergents, Marxists and naturalists is no longer viable.

The Emperor, truly, has no clothes. Anyone claiming otherwise is either a fool, a liar or a villain. There is no other alternative.