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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Well, he IS pretty cute



This is a bittersweet pain every parent knows. To see our children grow up healthy and tall and strong is both the fulfillment of a heartfelt desire and a heart-ripping loss. It's charming, of course, to see how upset the little girl to learn that her cute little brother with his cute little smiles is not going to stay exactly the way he is, the way she loves him. But I find myself wondering how much of the misinformation that is passed on from mother to son and from sister to brother concerning intersexual relations stems, at least in part, from this natural desire for things to remain as they are.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Journolist 2

Left-wing activists plotting together. Again:
A low-profile Google Group used by over 1,000 state and national leftwing leaders and activists has been discovered thanks to Wisconsin’s open records law. A Media Trackers inquiry into the actions of a University of Wisconsin professor turned up records and communications from “Gamechanger Salon,” an online community that provides a forum for leftwing activists and leaders to share tactics, strategies and opinions....

The group has the self-described goal of creating a “more coordinated” movement for liberals across the country. Among those included on the membership list are:

Damon Silver, Policy Director for the AFL-CIO
Benjamin Joffe-Walk, Chief of Staff at Change.org
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK
Elizabeth Rose, Director of Communications at the Economic Policy Institute
Philip Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace until earlier this year
Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL
Raven Brooks, Executive Director of Netroots Nation
Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Deirdre Schifeling, National Director Organizing & Electoral Campaigns for Planned Parenthood

The group’s policy manual directs members to abstain from forwarding emails to recipients outside the group. It does warn, however, that with 1,000-plus members, anyone emailing the group should not say anything “you wouldn’t want to be subpoenaed by a Grand Jury or broadcast on Fox News.”
Here is the complete membership list in PDF format. I didn't recognize any names. There are also more groups than you have ever heard of. It is appalling to think about the massive amount of totally unproductive capital that is being misdirected toward these societally destructive wastes of space so they can further interfere with Western civilization.

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Fred calls out Derbyshire and the Darwinists

Fred Reed, who is "a thoroughgoing agnostic", poses a few questions based on his inferences from observation for the advocates of the Theorum of Evolution by (mostly) Natural Selection In Addition To A Panoply of Less Famous Evolutionary Mechanisms:
Over the years I have occasionally expressed doubts over the tenets of evolutionism which, perhaps wrongly, has seemed to me a sort of political correctness of science, or maybe a metaphysics somewhat related to science. As a consequence I have been severely reprimanded. The editor of a site devoted to genetic expression furiously began deleting any mention of me from his readers. Others, to include Mr. John Derbyshire of Taki’s Magazine, have expressed disdain, though disdaining to explain just why.

In all of this, my inability to get straight answers that do not shift has frustrated me. I decided to address my questions to an expert in the field, preferably one who loathed me and thus might produce his best arguments so as to stick it to me. To this end I have settled on Mr. Derbyshire....
  1. what selective pressures lead to a desire not to reproduce, and how does this fit into a Darwinian framework?
  2. Why should I not indulge my hobby of torturing to death the severely genetically retarded?
  3. How many years would have to pass without replication of the [Abiogenesis] event, if indeed it be not replicated, before one might begin to suspect that it didn’t happen? 
  4. What are the viable steps needed to evolve from [two-cycle insect] to [four-cycle insect]? Or from anything to four-cycle? 
  5. Does not genetic determinism (with which I have no disagreement) lead to a paradox: that the thoughts we think we are thinking we only think to be thoughts when they are really utterly predetermined by the inexorable working of physics and chemistry? 
  6. Why do seemingly trivial traits proliferate while clearly important ones do not?
  7. If one believes in or suspects the existence of God or gods, how does one exclude the possibility that He, She, or It meddles in the universe—directing evolution, for example?  
Of course, anyone here who still subscribes to believe in abiogenesis and evolution by natural selection is more than welcome to take a crack at one or more of these themselves. However, before answering any of them, I would highly recommend reading the complete article, as Fred goes into more details regarding why he is asking each of the questions there.

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2014 Hugo Award Recommendations

From Loncon: We are in the final hours of voting for the 2014 Hugo and 1939 Retro Hugo awards!  The voting page for the 2014 Hugo Awards is located at http://www.loncon3.org/hugo_vote/hugo_vote_form.php.  The voting page for the 1939 Retro Hugo Awards is located at http://loncon3.org/hugo_vote/retro_hugo_vote_form.php.  The deadline for voting is Thursday 31 July 2014, 11:59 PM PDT.

This is how I am voting, and how I encourage other Hugo voters to vote. I am voting in some of the other categories, but have not prepared detailed recommendations for them and so will not address them this year. Remember, voting ends tomorrow night, so if you haven't finished filling out your ballots, you should probably do it now.

BEST NOVEL
  1. Warbound by Larry Correia
  2. No Award
  3. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Left off ballot: Ancillary Justice, Neptune's Brood, and Parasite.

BEST NOVELLA
  1. The Chaplain's Legacy by Brad Torgersen
  2. The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells
  3. No Award
  4. Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
Left off ballot: Equoid and Wakulla Springs.

BEST NOVELETTE
  1. "Opera Vita Aeterna" by Vox Day
  2. "The Exchange Officers" by Brad Torgersen
  3. "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling" by Ted Chiang
  4. No Award
Left off ballot: "The Waiting Stars" and "The Lady Astronaut of Mars".

BEST SHORT STORY
  1. No Award
I recommend leaving the ballot otherwise blank. This category is illustrative of how far the genre has fallen. 

BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM
  1. Toni Weiskopf
  2. Sheila Gilbert
  3. Ginjer Buchanan
  4. No Award
1939 RETRO AWARDS

Best Novel
  1. Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis (The Bodley Head)
  2. Galactic Patrol by E. E. Smith (Astounding Stories, February 1938)
  3. The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White (Collins)
  4. The Legion of Time by Jack Williamson (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1938)
  5. No Award
Left off ballot:  Carson of Venus by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Best Novella
  1. Anthem by Ayn Rand (Cassell)
  2. "Who Goes There?" by Don A Stuart [John W. Campbell] (Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1938)
  3. No Award
Left off ballot:  "A Matter of Form" by H. L. Gold, "Sleepers of Mars" John Beynon, "The Time Trap" Henry Kuttner.

Best Novelette
  1. "Rule 18" by Clifford D. Simak (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1938)
  2. "Pigeons From Hell" by Robert E. Howard (Weird Tales, May 1938)
  3. "Dead Knowledge" by Don A. Stuart [John W. Campbell] (Astounding Stories, January 1938)
  4. No Award
Left off ballot: "Hollywood on the Moon" by Henry Kuttner,  "Werewoman" C. L. Moore

Best Short Story
  1. "Hollerbochen's Dilemma" by Ray Bradbury (Imagination!, January 1938)
  2. "How We Went to Mars" by Arthur C. Clarke (Amateur Science Stories, March 1938)
  3. "Helen O'Loy" by Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, December 1938)
  4. "The Faithful" by Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938)
  5. "Hyperpilosity" by L. Sprague de Camp (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938)
Best Editor
  1. John W. Campbell
  2. No Award
Left off ballot: Farnsworth Wright, Mort Weisinger, Raymond A. Palmer,  Walter H. Gillings

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Is POTUS Bibi's bitch?

The Israeli media apparently has cause to think so:
Israel’s Channel 1 decided to publish a Hebrew transcript of a portion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama’s telephone conversation which took place on Sunday, in which Obama was insistent that Israel unilaterally halt all military activities in the Gaza Strip. As is quite clear by now, Israel rejected, and the bloodshed continued. The transcript, as shown by the Times of Israel was as follows:
The following is an English translation of the Hebrew account of the talk given in the report:

Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.

Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?

BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.

BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.

BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.

BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.

BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.

BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.

BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –

BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.
One can quickly see why the US would quickly disavow any credibility of this report: after all it wouldn't look very good for the leader of the free world if the leader of another state, one which on top of it all is reliant on the former for continued military and economic support, flat out rejected what amounted to a demand from the US. As expected the denial was prompt with the US administration calling the quotations "fabrications", "shocking", and "disappointing"

It took mere minutes for the National Security Council to deny the transcript was even remotely accurate:
We have seen reports of an alleged POTUS-Netanyahu transcript; neither reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality 1/2
    — @NSCPress (@NSCPress) July 29, 2014

Shocking and disappointing someone would sink to misrepresenting a pvt convo between POTUS and PM in fabrications to Israeli press 2/2
    — @NSCPress (@NSCPress) July 29, 2014
Sure enough, it wouldn't look good if only the US denied so Netanyahu had to step in, which he did:

The Prime Minister’s Office says in a statement that the Channel 1 report is false, using precisely the same words as the White House.

“We have seen these reports, and neither the reports nor the alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality. It’s shocking and disappointing that someone would sink to misrepresenting a private conversation between the President and the Prime Minister in fabrications to the Israeli press,” the PMO says.

Despite the denials, Israel's Channel 1 refused to retract the leaked statement. Worse, it revealed the source of the leak as a "senior American official."

Despite rejections by American and Israeli officials, Channel 1?s Or Nahari insists that the transcript leaked to him by a “senior American official” is authentic, but acknowledges that the quotes he published were merely an excerpt from a long conversation.
It's easy for the administration to prove otherwise. Just release the recording of the conversation. Unless and until they do, they can't simply claim that it is false and expect anyone to take their word for it. On the one hand, it sounds to me as if a "senior American official" is not at all pleased with Obama backing down to Netanyahu. On the other hand, the language is awfully stilted, which lends credence to the idea that it might be a fake meant to lend cover to Israel backing down sooner rather than later or get back at the Obama administration for Secretary of State Kerry's performance.

In any event, Israel may as well stop its latest adventure in Gaza as the IDF is already rightly expressing its frustration with Netanyahu's political dithering. From Debka:
"Senior IDF officer to government: The troops must go forward or quit."
At this point, they should simply end the military operations. As per 4GW doctrine, they hit too soft and too slow. The IDF is saying go big or go home, but proceeding from this point will likely do more harm than good since Israel has no intention of removing the Palestinians from Gaza and settling it, thereby rendering the entire exercise pointless beyond the short term. At the moment, it appears to have been an exercise chiefly driven by domestic political pressure.

Blowing up a few tunnels and capturing a few rockets wasn't worth the price of the additional global contempt that resulted from being caught on camera killing women and children. So, it's just another one step forward, two steps back in the usual Middle East dance.

And as for the State Department's Jen Psaki saying the leak is a "severe violation of a private discussion", she might want to recall that she works for an administration that has the NSA spying on every conversation and email exchange in America.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A close call

Unless you lived in Minnesota 30 years ago, I can't possibly explain how insane it sounds to hear that there are Africans living in Coon Rapids. I wonder how long it will be before they decide that the name of the town is racist:
Ebola victim who sparked fears of a worldwide outbreak was American: Father who died of incurable virus in Nigeria after taking international flight was going to visit his children in Minnesota...The couple, who both hold US citizenship are originally from Liberia and Decontee arrived in the country with her family in 1991 and Patrick came in the early 2000s. The couple are part of the large Liberian community in Minnesota, who moved there in the aftermath of the nation's two civil wars in the 1980s and late 1990s.
The imported Somalis are bad enough, what with their suicide bombers and the occasional "gas leak" explosions that mysteriously blow up their residences. But Ebola-carrying Liberians too? This is Night of the Comet-level lunacy.

I'm as familiar with the melting pot mythology and Ellis Island rhetoric as anyone else. I get the idea that time plus geographic location is supposed to magically transform people from anywhere into something they previously were not. But seriously, even if you are one of those people whose grandparents were immigrants and are emotionally tied to the idea that you are too a Real American like George Washington because you are resident in a certain geography and there is a piece of paper that says you are, do you really think this is all going to end well? If so, how?

What, specifically, is the positive end result that is somehow going to be produced by establishing Mogadishu on the Mississippi and sending 30 underage Guatamalans to every town in America? Do you see America remaining the same, is it changing for the better, or for the worse? And if diversity is good, then why has every country in the world been predominantly homogenous until very recently?

Perhaps if the unfortunate Mr. Sawyer had lived long enough to bring the Ebola virus to Coon Rapids, that would be enough to convince the American public that this whole "we is the world" sentiment is fundamentally misguided. But I doubt it.

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Gamma spin in action

Here is how Dave Futrelle attempted to characterize the abortive debate on women's suffrage I posted at Alpha Game, which he fled once it became apparent that he couldn't get away with simply declaring himself the winner and would have to actually make a coherent case in support of female suffrage instead:
The very notion of two dudes earnestly debating female suffrage – in 2014, no less – struck me as beyond absurd, so I sent back what I thought was an appropriately dismissive Tweet.

    @voxday @RedPillPhil @heartiste Yes, women should have voting rights, because they, like men, are human. I win the debate! The end.Thanks!—
    David Futrelle (@DavidFutrelle) July 25, 2014


Apparently Mr. Day saw this tweet as my opening gambit in a debate that was now on, and replied with an attempted gotcha. Against my better judgment, I replied:

    @voxday @RedPillPhil @heartiste No. I vote where I live, in the US.. So are you contending that no women live in the countries they vote in?—
    David Futrelle (@DavidFutrelle) July 25, 2014


He replied, and I sunk deeper into the quicksand of this ridiculous “debate.”

    @voxday @RedPillPhil @heartiste There are a few basic requirements for having the right to vote besides being human but being male isn't one—
    David Futrelle (@DavidFutrelle) July 26, 2014


At this point I realized I needed to shut this thing down as quickly as possible. So I posted a couple of quick tweets:

David Futrelle
There are a few basic requirements for having the right to vote besides being human but being male isn't one

David Futrelle
There is no reasonable reason to deny anyone the vote because of gender.

David Futrelle
... and that's preetty much the end of the argument, despite whatever spurious reason you come up with to deny women the vote. Debate over.
This is classic Gamma behavior. Their fear of failure is so great that in the rare instance they don't completely avoid conflict, they engage only insofar as they can later claim that they weren't really trying. They want their audience to believe that, of course, they COULD have roundly defeated their opponent, but they couldn't bother for [insert excuse here]. Of course, they somehow always find the time to explain their various justifications for not really trying, which often takes longer than simply engaging in the first place would have.

Notice how Futrelle falsely claims I said I defeated him in the debate. That's absolutely untrue. All I did was expose his inability to hold his own or to make his case on the subject. My only claim was this: "I was able to show Futrelle's reasoning to be incorrect twice."  Which was undeniably true. There was no winner of the debate since it never reached a conclusion. Futrelle simply ran away and now he is trying to provide a narrative to justify that abject retreat.

Futrelle's fellow Gamma male, PZ, who has run away from a few debates himself, was quick to embrace Futrelle's narrative:
Actually, Day proposed a debate on a subject that was settled in the USA about 95 years ago, and Futrelle laughed dismissively, and Vox Day declared himself the winner.

"Critics such as Futrelle and Scalzi are of low socio-sexual rank, which means that they have the usual gamma male’s distaste for conflict that has a clear winner. The reason is that as long as they can avoid losing, they can still claim victory in their delusional gamma style."

Wait. But it was Vox Day who threw out a few non sequiturs and declared himself winner…this is confusing.
Again, note that I did absolutely nothing of the sort. It may be helpful to be reminded of the Gamma male's core mindset, as provided by a self-admitted former Gamma male: "It's not about being stupid, or even a chubby nerd, it's about lying to yourself relentlessly about what's right in front of your eyes."

That's how Gammas like Futrelle and Myers can lie so blatantly about me declaring myself the winner when in fact Futrelle was the only one who did so. They relentlessly lie, to others and themselves, because the truth is too painful for them to accept. Notice, too, that only one commenter on PZ's site points out the obvious; other than him, no one calls them on their observable lies.

Can you even imagine that happening here? On a complete tangent, this pair of comments made me laugh:
daintydougal
rhetoric is no substitute for dialectic rhetoric is no substitute for dialectic… *head kasplodes*

fibinachi
Yeah! I second daintydougal. Out of all that, that’s the one that threw me off the most too. Just wow.
Keep in mind that these are the people who claim to be the intelligent and educated side. Then again, we were warned:

"[B]efore some audiences not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct."

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Why home buyers aren't buying

Back in June 2009, I introduced a concept I called the Limits of Demand, which pointed out that the Austrian Business Cycle did not revolve around a shift in capital vs consumer goods, but rather the "finite limit to the maximum consumable quantity of every consumer good available". I stated: "Once the artificially enhanced demand limits are reached, or even worse, consumers cannot afford to service their debt on the goods they previously purchased, the boom will come to a hard and fast end." As Neil Cavuto's lamentation for the housing market suggests, we appear to have finally reached those demand limits, as the six-year stagnation in L1 also indicates:
You can now nab a 30-year fixed mortgage for under 4%. That’s the second week in a row, by the way, that rates have been so low. As of this writing, the numbers tick slightly, but the range remains remarkably low – 3.96% to 4.08%. In either extreme, extremely weird, and stunning when you consider we are supposedly in the latter stage of a recovery.

Usually at this point in an economic turnaround, things are rocking, and interest rates are jumping. But we all know the economy isn’t rocking. And as a result, interest rates are not jumping. What’s weird is those rates are dropping, which usually presages something bad happening.

Then again, this hasn’t been your father’s recovery, has it? Even with absurdly-low interest rates for what’s been years now, it’s hard to make the case they’ve triggered any kind of housing boom. Sales of new single-family homes fell 4.9% through the first six months of the year. They were down 8.1% in June. So let’s just say the trend is not the housing industry’s friend.

Economists and real estate experts offer a variety of reasons for this mortgage malaise. Some argue it’s still pretty tough to qualify for a loan, and bankers aren’t making it any easier, demanding more upfront money from borrowers to avoid any of the problems they encountered post-meltdown.

But it’s been more than six years now, and some very sharp numbers crunchers are getting worried. Even bankers who are lending tell me they aren’t seeing a lot of customers lining up. “Caution is the word,” said one. “They just seem very tentative, even skeptical.”
Cavuto says that history "suggests one of two things eventually happens during such periods: either the prices come down or the demand picks up." This chart I made to explain the Limits of Demand shows that prices will not only come down, but come down further than the experts are presently anticipating.

The credit-driven demand for housing has pushed up prices along the S curve, far beyond where the homebuyers' natural demand (based upon what they could afford without the credit expansion) intersected it. When the credit contraction begins, unless the supply somehow contracts, the demand for housing can be expected to fall from the point where the Dcredit curve intersects the S curve to the point on the original D curve. Where that is in practical terms, I do not know, but a rough guess would be a two-thirds collapse in home prices. And it is this collapse that will spur the economy-wide deflation that I have been predicting for the last six years.

Remember, while we haven't seen deflation, we also haven't seen the predicted inflation, let alone hyperinflation, either. That is because the Fed's desperate attempts to hold up the housing market to protect the banks has led to a six-year period of credit disinflation and the subsequent six-year "mortgage malaise".

That is the core problem with credit money. Central banks can print more paper, but they cannot print more credit-worthy borrowers. And with the median net wealth of Americans down by one-third in the last decade, few Americans can afford to borrow the money required to pay the credit-inflated housing prices even at these historically low interest rates. This should be patently obvious, especially in light of how "35.1 percent of people with credit records had been reported to collections for debt that averaged $5,178."

When even cheery, optimistic cheerleaders such as Cavuto start using phrases like "we are supposedly in the latter stage of a recovery", it should be readily apparent that there has been no recovery at all. As I have been pointing out for more than five years now, this is an economic contraction at least one order of magnitude bigger than the Great Depression. Focusing on GDP and CPI and U3 statistics is rather like trying to measure the precise size of the waves on the beach as a tsunami looms offshore.

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Who is the real problem?

It's not Putin, observes Pat Buchanan:
From FDR on, U.S. presidents have felt that America could not remain isolated from the rulers of the world’s largest nation.

Ike invited Khrushchev to tour the USA after he had drowned the Hungarian Revolution in blood. After Khrushchev put missiles in Cuba, JFK was soon calling for a new detente at American University.

Within weeks of Warsaw Pact armies crushing the Prague Spring in August 1968, LBJ was seeking a summit with Premier Alexei Kosygin.

After excoriating Moscow for the downing of KAL 007 in 1983, that old Cold Warrior Ronald Reagan was fishing for a summit meeting.

The point: Every president from FDR through George H. W. Bush, even after collisions with Moscow far more serious than this clash over Ukraine, sought to re-engage the men in the Kremlin.

Whatever we thought of the Soviet dictators who blockaded Berlin, enslaved Eastern Europe, put rockets in Cuba and armed Arabs to attack Israel, Ike, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush 1 all sought to engage Russia’s rulers.

Avoidance of a catastrophic war demanded engagement.

How then can we explain the clamor of today’s U.S. foreign policy elite to confront, isolate, and cripple Russia, and make of Putin a moral and political leper with whom honorable statesmen can never deal?

What has Putin done to rival the forced famine in Ukraine that starved to death millions, the slaughter of the Hungarian rebels or the Warsaw Pact’s crushing of Czechoslovakia?
As a general rule, the moment you see an American politician pointing at to someone and claiming he is Hitler, you know he's probably innocent of whatever he's being accused of doing. It's not a perfectly reliable device, but when they're obviously engaging in hyperbolic rhetoric, the chances are they are doing so because they can't make a reasonable case based on his actual deeds.

It is somewhat remarkable that even the least competent administration in American history is managing to screw up the Middle East, Russia, and the southern border of the USA all at the same time. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if Obama ordered the bombing of London and an amphibious invasion of Uganda.

It's obvious that the USA is the real problem here. But what is more difficult to understand is what their motivation might be, beyond a short-term pecuniary interest in pillaging Ukraine.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

There is NO PLACE for anti-palestinianism....

It's been interesting to read up on 4th Gen War theory while watching the events take place surrounding the war in Gaza. And I have to say, it appears to be an almost textbook example of Israel winning the conventional Clausewitzian levels while Hamas is winning at the more important moral level. For those unfamiliar with this military theory, this doesn't say anything about which side has the right of it, only the moral perception of the two sides on the part of the neutral observers. For example, this sort of thing works directly against the Israeli interest:
One Direction star Zayn Malik has been bombarded with death threats by outraged Israelis after posting a #FreePalestine message on Twitter. The 21-year-old, who was brought up a Muslim in Bradford, Yorkshire, shared the #FreePalestine hashtag earlier today to his 13million followers, who retweeted it 140,000 times. However, moments after the post appeared, Zayn began receiving messages telling him to 'kill himself' and one even read: 'Let me kill you'.
The young man has 13 million followers, about .00001 percent of whom actually know or care anything about Gaza. How are death threats against him going to fly in their barely sapient eyes when all he did, as far as they can see, was share a message of freedom? Meanwhile, some Jewish leaders are making the dreadful mistake of demanding that European governments censor their citizens and impose regulations upon them, which would be an excellent way to ensure that those governments, already very unpopular due to the Euro crisis and the corruption of the EU, will be thrown out at the first opportunity:
“We are potentially looking at the beginning of another Holocaust now. These events [violent demonstrations and expressions of anti-Semitism] will only grow in scale across Europe,” he asserted. Addressing the legislators and representatives of a number of European governments, including those of Denmark, Holland and France, the oligarch and former head of the Russian Jewish Congress called for Jewish communities across the continent to “unite and consolidate.”

Sloutsker also called on all European governments to impose what he called “strict regulations” on the format and content of demonstrations in order to prevent further violence against Jews. Citing a recent proposal by Belgian Jewry to establish a position of Special European Commissioner to monitor and combat anti-Semitism and racism, Sloutsker said such measures would “help send a strong message that European leadership is united and committed to combating anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia.”
The Israelis have yet to learn that in a global media battle, they simply cannot expect to have it both ways. Everything eventually makes its way out. If you want to claim popular anti-semitism is beyond the pale, then you simply cannot engage in anti-palestinianism. And it is truly bizarre to see complaints about the European conflation of diaspora Jew and Israeli, even as other Jews openly conflate them.
The state will not allow one Jew to remain undefended, MK Yisrael Hasson chimed in, asserting that the fates of European and Israeli Jews are intertwined.

Jews is Belgium are being asked “why are you killing children in Gaza?” Rafael Werner, a representative of Belgium's Jewish community recounted, asserting that there is little distinction being made between Jews and Israelis.
So, are they intertwined or not? Considering that Martin van Creveld, one of the leading theoreticians of state vs non-state war, is an Israeli, I think both the Israelis and the diaspora Jews would do well to familiarize themselves with his books. From what I see from my very limited vantage point, based on basic 4GW principles, Netanyahu has made a common, but critical mistake in attempting to compromise between the De-Escalation model and the Hama model.

And to bring it full circle, I fully support the legality of both anti-semitism and anti-palestinianism. Die Gedanken sind frei. And keep in mind that once one embrace thought and speech policing, one reduces the question to a simple game of will to power.

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The bad science of food

You can't trust scientistry. You simply can't. Think about how many times, over the last few DECADES, you were told that eating fat and butter and cream and cheese was bad for you. Remember how fettucini alfredo was once called "a heart attack on a plate?" Then read this belated mea culpa from a doctor who admits that he has been giving out worse than useless advice to his patients for years.
Milk, cheese, butter, cream - in fact all saturated fats - are bad for you. Or so I believed ever since my days as a medical student nearly 30 years ago. During that time I assured friends and family that saturated fat would clog their arteries as surely as lard down a drain. So, too, would it make them pile on the pounds. Recently, however, I have been forced to do a U-turn. It is time to apologise for all that useless advice I've been dishing out about fat.

The roots of our current confusion lie in a paper by an American scientist called Ancel Keys in 1953. It covered the increasingly common problem of clogged arteries. Keys included a simple graph comparing fat consumption and deaths from heart disease in men from six different countries. Americans, who ate a lot of fat, were far more likely to have a heart attack than the Japanese, who ate little fat. Case solved. Or was it?

Other scientists began wondering why Keys chose to focus on just six countries when he had access to data for 22. If places like France and Germany were included the link between heart disease and fat consumption became much weaker. These were, after all, countries with high fat consumption, but relatively modest rates of heart disease. In fact, as a renowned British scientist called John Yudkin pointed out, there was actually a much stronger link between sugar consumption and heart disease.

But Yudkin's warnings about sugar were denounced by a fellow scientist as 'nothing more than scientific fraud'. He was, as one of his colleagues colourfully put it, 'thrown under a bus'.

Meanwhile, the war on fat gradually gained momentum, to the extent that by the time I reached medical school in the Eighties, there was no mention of Yudkin's findings. People were cutting down on dairy products and switching to sugary carbohydrates and vegetable oils. This, it turns out, was a mistake. To turn vegetable oil into margarine, manufacturers used a process called hydrogenation (gas pumped through oil at high temperature), which produces trans fats. These are the Darth Vader of the fat world: good fats turned bad.

Unlike saturated fats, there is clear evidence that trans fats damage your heart. They were found in most shop-bought biscuits and cakes until they were removed in 2007.
Think about how many people have suffered ill effects from eating a bad, science-recommended diet. The amazing thing is that this doctor clung to what he "knew" even though "I put on over two stone, despite regular exercise. My cholesterol soared past the healthy range and two years ago I discovered I was borderline diabetic."

Observation is an important part of the scientific process. Not publishing. Not peer review. And it is eminently clear that too few people in the scientific and medical communities are observing anything.

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Hugo recommendations: Best Novella

Equoid by Charles Stross. I am a fan of the Laundry novels. After Accelerando, they are Stross's best work. Equoid is a Laundry novella, so I went into it with high expectations, having recently read and enjoyed The Rhesus Chart. Unfortunately, Equoid is absolutely void of the humor and light-hearted feel of the novels in the series, its attempt to subvert the "virgin tames unicorn" trope reads more like tentacle rape slash child abuse porn (talk about sending the very wrong message in light of the recent MZB/Kramer revelations), and Stross's attempt to recreate HP Lovecraft's style in a series of letters falls more than a little flat. As the reviewer at Tor.com noted: "it’s the sort of confounded feeling I get when I’m sure that a writer was trying to gross me out on purpose with some problematic imagery and succeeded, yet I’m not sure that the depths gone to were necessary in the story." As if monsters raping young girls isn't enough, there is also a government project entitled EMOCUM. Get it? Stross has written fiction that merited awards in the past. He may well do so in the future. This isn't it. This is something he'll want to disown someday.

The Chaplain's Legacy by Brad Torgersen. I read this when it was published as part of Torgersen's collection Lights in the Deep, and while it wasn't my favorite of the stories in that collection, it's not at all difficult to see why Torgersen keeps getting nominated for awards; more than any SF/F writer today, he sits astride the fence that separates Blue SF/F from Pink SF/F. The novella is a tale of alien enemies forced to join together in cooperation by circumstance; somehow Torgersen manages to seamlessly blend Pink tropes such as female military commanders with Blue tropes such as devout religious characters, combining them with a dash of Golden Age optimism. Stylistically, he writes well, and if the we-can-all-get-along theme seems a bit vanilla, it can also be taken as rather brilliant metacommentary on the current SF/F divide. I mean, religious people on one side, insect army on the other? Anyway, it's the best of the bunch.

The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells. A surprisingly sensitive take on an epically brutal monster from a game-tie in series. This was, in some ways, my favorite of the five nominees; Wells portrays a man unhinged by loss in an adroit manner, so much so that the reader is momentarily confused at times as to what is story-reality versus story-delusion. Stylistically, Wells is competent, but he's not at the same level as the other four writers (if one counts Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages as one writer) and worse, his take on human sexuality is the same "I'm not worthy" gammatude of Joe Abercrombie. His nominally badass slaughtering machine, who doesn't shirk at butchering large quantities of men, women, and children, would faint at the very thought of ever raping a woman. The psychological inconsistency is jarring. It's a good story and a worthy nominee, but I'd put it at number two.

Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente. The title is good. The story isn't. It's a haphazard, incoherent attempt to force-fit the Snow White story into the Wild West, complete with a weird attempt to also bring in Indian folklore. Continent-spanning cultural appropriation doesn't even begin to describe this admittedly creative attempt to find a new way to portray more kick-ass women. Yawn. That being said, it is identifiable as fantasy. Credit where credit is due.

Wakulla Springs by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages. This pair are easily the best writers of the lot from a stylistic perspective. Unfortunately, as with several works in other categories, this novella isn't science fiction or fantasy. It's much more concerned with historical racism in the American South, (with repeated reminders that black folk weren't permitted to swim in certain places or stay in certain hotels, and this made the black individual feelbad) than with any science fictional or speculative elements. There are the occasional nods to magical realism, such as Cheeta the chimp who may or may not be talking, but this novella simply isn't of the genre.

My vote for Best Novella, and my suggestion to others, is The Chaplain's Legacy by Brad Torgersen. My vote will go as follows:

  1. The Chaplain's Legacy
  2. The Butcher of Khardov
  3. No Award
  4. Six-Gun Snow White
I recommend leaving the other two novellas off the ballot.

OTHER HUGO AWARD RECOMMENDATIONS

Best Novel
Best Novelette
Best Short Story
Best Editor 
Retro 1939 

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Mailvox: contra suffrage

Chris Gerrib asks
VD, why shouldn't every free adult human be able to vote in the country they are a citizen of?
For the same reason unfree children who are not citizens are not permitted to vote: it is expected that their votes will not be in the long-term interests of the country or its citizenry.

Another commenter, Shelles, appears to be of the David Futrelle school of debate, in which her inability to imagine an effective argument is confused with the nonexistence of such arguments. Which I found a little amusing here, since she somehow manages to touch on two effective arguments while missing the aspects that make them effective.
The only way to win the argument that women should not have the vote is to be able to successfully equate them with others that do not have the vote: minors, felons. The condition of being a woman is in no way like either of these.

The other possibility is to argue that the country will be better off if women don't vote because women have a tendency to for for X, Y and Z, all of which will harm, if not destroy the country. The obvious problem with this argument is that it depends on one's personal on view of exactly how the country ought to operate. This is countered by offering another personal view of how the country ought to be that is best advanced by women having the vote.

Done.

In essence the argument is: Women should not have the vote because it's in the interests of a certain group.
It is certainly not the only way, but it is true that one will win the argument that women should not have the vote when one is able to successfully equate them with others that do not have the vote: minors, felons, and so forth. However, the fact that "the condition of being a woman is in no way like either of these" is irrelevant and does not suffice as a counterpoint. The way women are successfully equated with others who do not have the vote is to demonstrate that their votes are equally incompatible with the long-term national interest as the other classes of current non-voters.

This can be done using a variety of metrics, including what Shelles describes as another possibility to the only way. Just to give one example, if the reason children are not permitted to vote is due to their limited time preferences, a comparison could be made between children's time preferences, women's time preferences, and men's time preferences. If women's time preferences were determined to be more akin to those of children than those of men, that would be a clear justification for denying the vote to them.

But to return to the option to the only way, Shelles says "the obvious problem with this argument is that it depends on one's personal on view of exactly how the country ought to operate". But since the argument rests on the country's freedom, well-being, and future existence, her counter relies upon arguing that the country should be unfree, worse-off, and nonexistent. This is not a successful or convincing counter, even if it truly represents the personal view of the interlocutor rather than a hypothetical position of Shelle's imagination.

One should always be careful when attempting to summarize an opponent's position. Words like "in essence" or "basically" tend to be red flags alerting a critic to holes in one's arguments.  They aren't necessarily so, but in this case, they are. Because the statement is true: Women should not have the vote because it's in the interests of a certain group, so long as that "certain group" is defined as "all the citizens of the country, including the women".

There are very solid rational, Constitutional, and historical reasons for denying female suffrage. John Adams summarized them best in his famous written exchange with his wife:

"I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.

"Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands.
 

"Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation."
- Abigail Adams, 31 March 1776

"Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems. Although they are in full force, you know they are little more than theory. We dare not exert our power in its full latitude. We are obliged to go fair and softly, and, in practice, you know we are the subjects.

"We have only the name of masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave heroes would fight."
- John Adams, 14 April 1776

Events have proven John Adams correct. Free men are accustomed to voluntarily limiting the use of their power and not pushing it to the full extent of its capabilities. Women, to say the least, are not. Just as an angry woman does not pull her punches, women in politics do not restrain their instincts to attempt to control the uncontrollable. Abigail Adams is projecting: she wrongly assumes all men would be tyrants if they could because she knows that is true of herself and other women. And women do not hold themselves bound by laws in any case, regardless of whether they have had voice or representation or not. They are bound by fear.

This is why a nation that wishes to remain wealthy and free does not permit female involvement in its governance, and why totalitarians from the Italian Fascists to the Soviet Bolsheviks have historically made a priority of female involvement in the political process.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mailvox: maintain the frame

Paleo asks about teaching Christian submission:
My wife and I (deacons / community group leaders) have been helping a late-twenty something single woman understand what it means to be a Godly woman. Surprise, surprise, *submission* and male-only eldership have been huge stumbling blocks for her. She is familiar with the pertinent scripture (she is a PK) so we decided to do two things:
  1. let her see how it works in practice (My wife is a successful business executive - VP level - who puts her family first and has no problem reconciling wifely submission)
  2. begin sharing a (non-biblical, secular) historical rationale for the idea that civilization is predicated on patriarchy. And conversely that Feminism and civilization are ultimately incompatible.
 When I gently argued that female suffrage is directly related to the precipitous decline of the family and that the current declining peace and prosperity is directly related to that - well she lost her mind and has just notified us that she's leaving the church.

Long set-up for my question: Is it possible to winsomely argue against feminist disasters like female suffrage in this day and age?
Is it possible? Of course. Does that mean a stubborn, prideful, rebellious woman is going to accept a logically flawless train of reasoning? To ask the question is to answer it.

The extent to which these attitudes are rooted in sinful rebellion are obvious from the fact that women holding them would rather leave the church than accept the Biblical and historical truths. And the church is as much better off without them in the fold as it is without unrepentant murderers, adulterers, thieves, and homosexuals. This may be a sub-optimal outcome, but it is by no means a negative one.

Paleo did make one mistake. He "gently argued". He says that he would like to "winsomely argue" with these women and logically convince them of the error of their ways. (I will pause so the veteran players and masters of Game can stop laughing before I continue. Everybody done? All right then.) The problem is that women simply don't respond to logic and sweet reason. They're not wired that way. They respond to strength, confidence, and authority, all of which a man in a position of legitimate authority throws away when he starts treating her as if he's insecure and afraid of hurting her feelings with the truth.

The Church grows when men thunder from the pulpits. The pews are filled when its leaders fearlessly reject sin and tell the sinners they must repent before they can stand in communion with the Body of Christ. If anyone is offended by the Word, the problem is with him, not with the man who speaks it.

Now, I don't wish to be hard on Paleo or even to criticize him. He's doing a lot more than the average feminized Churchian, who fears the female membership more than the Lord God Almighty and worships the unholy spirit of equality. But the fact that his heart is in the right place doesn't mean that he's going about it in the right way.

Jesus said "Fear not". Game says "be bold". The fact that the lesser truth is in harmony with the greater Truth should lend confidence that speaking the truth boldly, whether it makes the listeners uncomfortable or not, is the only way for every leader in the Church. Never back down. Never temporize.

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How to win a debate every time

David Futrelle demonstrates his mastery of dialectic in a remarkably brief debate with me concerning women's suffrage on Twitter:
David Futrelle
I'll take on any "dark enlightenment" bloggers (that's hard to say w/ a straight face) in a cat pic duel.

Vox Day
Why not take me on in an actual debate. An easy topic like: should women have voting rights?

David Futrelle
Yes, women should have voting rights, because they, like men, are human. I win the debate! The end. Thanks!

Vox Day
Sorry, David, you haven't won yet. Yes, you are human. Did you vote in the recent EU elections?

David Futrelle
No. I vote where I live, in the US.. So are you contending that no women live in the countries they vote in?

Vox Day
I'm demonstrating to you that merely being human grants no voting rights. Do you concur?

David Futrelle
There are a few basic requirements for having the right to vote besides being human but being male isn't one

David Futrelle
There is no reasonable reason to deny anyone the vote because of gender.

David Futrelle
... and that's preetty much the end of the argument, despite whatever spurious reason you come up with to deny women the vote. Debate over.
A performance for the ages! Socrates had nothing on this guy. I had no idea that simply begging the question was sufficient to declare a debate over and announce yourself the winner. But I can see where this tactic would be extremely useful and plan to incorporate it into all my online discourse in the future. I shall be unstoppable! There is more at Alpha Game.

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You feel poorer because you are poorer

This proves that various "recovery packages" which amount to tens of trillions of issued credit and trillions in federal government spending were all predicated on a lie. Just as the money nominally spent to "save" the household sector went directly to the mortgage banks as housing prices continued to plunge, the money that was supposed to "stimulate" the economy stimulated nothing but Wall Street and the bottom lines of the financial institutions. Notice that this supports what both Karl Denninger and I have been saying for years: there has been ZERO REAL ECONOMIC GROWTH in the USA for more than 30 years.

It's very simple to see. Just compare the increase in real GDP to the increase in credit. Is the ratio above or below 1.0? If the growth in the amount of credit is greater, then there has been no real economic growth. Since GDP is measured in monetary terms, this means the nominal growth is merely the increase in the number of promises to pay in the future chasing each other around.

That's why the infrastructure is crumbling. That's why fewer people are working. That's why you feel stressed. American median wealth has substantially declined even as the amount of debt has skyrocketed. The Samuelsonians claim this doesn't matter, because Peter still owes Paul. But both common sense as well as the wealth statistics demonstrate otherwise.

Key quote: "a full 25% of American Households have a net worth of just $3,200; and that 5% (1 out of 20) households has a negative net worth of -$27,416!"

As a youth, I never understood the Biblical concept of a 50-year debt jubilee. It sounded so ignorant and prehistoric. Now, as an adult trained in various schools of economics and having witnessed two major boom-bust peaks in Japan and the United States, I tend to regard it as one more example of the divine inspiration of Scripture.


This chart from Steve Sailer might put the matter more starkly to those who prefer numbers to pictures. Note that the 27 million additional immigrants who entered the USA from 2003 to 2013 have not, contrary to the insistence of neo-classical and Samuelsonian economists, enriched the economy or the native population.

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Gun rights in the capital

It's another step forward for Gun Freedom in America:
A federal judge on Saturday overturned the Washington, D.C., ban on carrying handguns outside the home, saying it was unconstitutional.

“There is no longer any basis on which this court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny,” said Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. of the District of Columbia District Court.

“Therefore, the court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional,” he added in his 19-page ruling on the case, Palmer v. District of Columbia, which has been dragging on for five years.

The court ordered the city to allow residents to carry handguns outside their homes and to let nonresidents carry them as well.
I'd prefer to see the Constitutional language implemented more completely and for all gun-related laws to be thrown out, but it's good to see gun rights advancing, however slowly. Always make it harder for the government to kill its people. The harder it is for the government to do it, the higher the risk to its agents to try it, the less likely it is to happen.

Celebrate Palmer this week and buy a handgun.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hamas is Israel's al-Qaida

Keep the history of Hamas in mind when you read about how terrible they are and how Israel has no choice but to eradicate it due to its implacable religious opposition to the existence of Israel. And notice that the article is twelve years old, although it reads as if it was published yesterday.
Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years.

Israel "aided Hamas directly -- the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization)," said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies.

Israel's support for Hamas "was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative," said a former senior CIA official.

According to documents United Press International obtained from the Israel-based Institute for Counter Terrorism, Hamas evolved from cells of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928. Islamic movements in Israel and Palestine were "weak and dormant" until after the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel scored a stunning victory over its Arab enemies.

After 1967, a great part of the success of the Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood was due to their activities among the refugees of the Gaza Strip. The cornerstone of the Islamic movements success was an impressive social, religious, educational and cultural infrastructure, called Da'wah, that worked to ease the hardship of large numbers of Palestinian refugees, confined to camps, and many who were living on the edge.

"Social influence grew into political influence," first in the Gaza Strip, then on the West Bank, said an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to ICT papers, Hamas was legally registered in Israel in 1978 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the movement's spiritual leader, as an Islamic Association by the name Al-Mujamma al Islami, which widened its base of supporters and sympathizers by religious propaganda and social work.

According to U.S. administration officials, funds for the movement came from the oil-producing states and directly and indirectly from Israel. The PLO was secular and leftist and promoted Palestinian nationalism. Hamas wanted to set up a transnational state under the rule of Islam, much like Khomeini's Iran....

In the end, as Hamas set up a very comprehensive counterintelligence system, many collaborators with Israel were weeded out and shot. Violent acts of terrorism became the central tenet, and Hamas, unlike the PLO, was unwilling to compromise in any way with Israel, refusing to acquiesce in its very existence.

But even then, some in Israel saw some benefits to be had in trying to continue to give Hamas support: "The thinking on the part of some of the right-wing Israeli establishment was that Hamas and the others, if they gained control, would refuse to have any part of the peace process and would torpedo any agreements put in place," said a U.S. government official who asked not to be named.

"Israel would still be the only democracy in the region for the United States to deal with," he said.

All of which disgusts some former U.S. intelligence officials.

"The thing wrong with so many Israeli operations is that they try to be too sexy," said former CIA official Vincent Cannestraro.

According to former State Department counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson, "the Israelis are their own worst enemies when it comes to fighting terrorism. The Israelis are like a guy who sets fire to his hair and then tries to put it out by hitting it with a hammer. They do more to incite and sustain terrorism than curb it," he said.
And notice how the utterly idiotic meme that some Jews like Howard Stern are trying to push, that to be "anti-Israel is to be anti-America", is based in part upon this 2002 theme about Israel being "the only democracy" in the Middle East.

The plan of the Israeli Right may well be at work here in the 2014 conflict. Hamas's implacability may permit them to convince the Israeli moderates that ethnic cleansing of Gaza and the West Bank is ultimately necessary. Which, thousands of years of military history suggests, is absolutely true. But don't shed too many tears or spare too much sympathy for a strategic plan playing out exactly as it is supposed to. If the strategists of the Israeli Right decided to sacrifice a few hundred Jews in order to justify the PR cover necessary for the expulsions, it's a bit much to expect Americans to be overly concerned about the fate of those sacrificial lambs.

However, the growing world disapproval of Israel, and the declining level of American approval, indicates that no PR-based strategy is likely to succeed in the short- or long-term. Then again, perhaps the Hamas Plan is primarily intended for domestic consumption.

UPDATE: Speaking of Jewish strategy, I'm not sure this is the optimal way to convince Muslims that Jewish women are not the collection of whores they are often accused of being.

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Women and the civilizational cycle

The materially deleterious effect of women working on a society is illustrated in a paper entitled "Women Prefer Larger Governments: Growth, Structural Transformation and Government Size"
The increase in income per capita is accompanied, in virtually all countries, by two changes in the structure of the economy, namely an increase in the share of government spending in GDP and an increase in female labour force participation. This paper suggests that these two changes are causally related. We develop a growth model where the structure of the economy is endogenous so that participation in market activities and government size are causally related.

Economic growth and rising incomes are accompanied by a greater incentive for women to engage in labour market activities as the opportunity cost of staying at home increases. We hypothesize that government spending decreases the cost of performing household chores such as, but not limited to, child rearing and child care so that couples decide to engage further in the labour market and chose a higher tax rate to finance more government spending.

Using a wide cross-section of data for developed and developing countries, we show that higher participation by women in the labour market are indeed positively associated with larger governments. Furthermore, we investigate the causal link between the two variables using as instrumental variables a unique and novel dataset on the relative price of home appliances across OECD countries and over time. We find strong evidence of a causal link between participation in the labour market and government size: a 10 percent rise in participation in the labour market leads to a 7 to 8 percent rise in government size. This effect is robust to the country sample, time period, and a set of controls in the spirit of Rodrik (1998).
This is also an implicit argument against female suffrage. However, the researchers' hypothesis is incorrect, as government spending observably does not decrease the cost of child rearing and child care; one reason European families have so few children is that the cost of raising children is exorbitant despite the greater amount of spending by European governments. Free day care and year-long maternity leave doesn't make up for the fact that food and gasoline cost considerably more than in the USA.

Voting is not freedom. The conflation of voting with freedom is one of the key deceptions upon which feminism rests. And like all ideologies based upon deception, the more powerful feminism becomes, the more likely it is that the polity in which it has become influential will collapse on the basis of the weight of its contradictions.

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Flirting with Hultgreen-Curie

On the plus side, at least she didn't manage to get herself killed while sinking the ship. Compared to the average female pioneer, the soon-to-be ex-commander is practically a success story:
The first female commander of a Royal Navy warship has been sent home after allegedly having an affair with another officer. Commander Sarah West, 42, took charge of the frigate HMS Portland in May 2012, but has been sent home from duty after claims she was having a relationship with a male officer on the same ship.

This would breach the Armed Forces’ Code of Social Conduct, which prohibits personnel from having relationships with subordinates if they compromise ‘operational effectiveness’. While the Royal Navy is investigating the affair, Cdr West, from Grimsby, Lincolnshire, retains her position as commander of HMS Portland. It is not known whether the male officer is married.
It's certainly an interesting idea to have warships commanded by women. It poses a fascinating question: does the entire ship stay in port when the captain pulls the common Navy trick of getting herself pregnant right before a scheduled deployment? Since Commander West was "sent home from duty" but "retains her position as commander of HMS Portland", I suppose we have our answer. This may prove a whole new front of 4GW.

"Mr. Lee, this is your mission. You are ordered to seduce and impregnate Captain Mary Wettlaufer, commanding officer of the USS Stennis. Our informants report that her carrier group is being sent to the South China Sea. Under no circumstances can the Stennis be permitted to leave Bremerton!"

"Yes, sir. This agent will do his duty, sir. But what is in this bottle, suicide pills?"

"Viagra, Mr. Lee. I fear you will need it, as Captain Wettlaufer is said to put the "dog" into "running dogs of capitalism"... your sacrifice in this regard will be noted by the Party and the Central Committee."

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Friday, July 25, 2014

And now, a moment of silence

For Our Friend Damien's abortive SF career:
Damien Walter @damiengwalter
I don’t believe I can claim to belong in SF any longer. That makes me a little sad, but also excited.
While I did advise Our Friend that he ought to go ahead and quit as per his declaration concerning his distaste for the true demographics of the SF community, I don't think I can take all the blame for this sad loss to world literature. Any reasonable mind will clearly conclude that it is mostly the fault of that dreadful D-List author, Larry Correia: 
The Official Alphabetical List of Author Success

A List – High upon Mount Olympus They Gaze Down Upon the Pathetic Mortals = All the $
  •  Authors who are worth more than the GDP of some countries.
  •  Authors who build their houses out of gold bars.
  •  Characters from their books get their own theme parks.
  •  The lady who wrote Twilight.
B List – The King(s) =$$$$$$$$$$
  • Authors who have TV shows about their books starring Peter Dinklage.
  • Authors who sleep on large piles of money.
  • Politicians who get illegal campaign contributions masquerading as advances.
  • Oprah’s Book Club
and all the way down to:

X List – The X
  • Writes violent pornographic bondage fan fiction involving My Little Ponies, Voltron, and Breaking Bad on the internet, while dressed in a stained bunny costume that looks like a strange gimp version of that thing from Donnie Darko.
  • Don’t make any sudden moves.
  • We’re just going to walk away real slow now.
Y List – The Yama
  • A primordial creature barely capable of vomiting words onto a page in a blasphemous impersonation of the act of writing, so mind shattering and terrible that a single story threatened to end language forever. He is The Thing That Should Not Be. To read his foul creations will summon the Black Goat of the Woods with its Thousand Young, and it will kill your muse and sodomize the corpse.
  • Is confident that he’d be a much more successful writer than A-X, if only he wasn’t too busy stalking Asian women on the internet to actually submit any of his crayon scribbles.
  • The reason sci-fi conventions have security.
Z List –  The Guardian’s Village Idiot = ($)
  • A kind of Anti-Author.
  • Motivated by delusions of relevancy, crowd sources witch hunts against writers higher on the list.
  • Collects the opposite of royalties, and actually has to be paid a strange sort of “Book Welfare” to produce a book.
I'm sure we will all be waiting, with no small amount of anticipation, to learn what genre Our Friend Damien will be not writing in next.

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The fakers

This rings true of my experience of the Ivy League and its uptight denizens.
A young woman from another school wrote me this about her boyfriend at Yale:

Before he started college, he spent most of his time reading and writing short stories. Three years later, he’s painfully insecure, worrying about things my public-educated friends don’t give a second thought to, like the stigma of eating lunch alone and whether he’s “networking” enough. No one but me knows he fakes being well-read by thumbing through the first and last chapters of any book he hears about and obsessively devouring reviews in lieu of the real thing. He does this not because he’s incurious, but because there’s a bigger social reward for being able to talk about books than for actually reading them.

I taught many wonderful young people during my years in the Ivy League—bright, thoughtful, creative kids whom it was a pleasure to talk with and learn from. But most of them seemed content to color within the lines that their education had marked out for them. Very few were passionate about ideas. Very few saw college as part of a larger project of intellectual discovery and development. Everyone dressed as if they were ready to be interviewed at a moment’s notice.

Look beneath the façade of seamless well-adjustment, and what you often find are toxic levels of fear, anxiety, and depression, of emptiness and aimlessness and isolation. A large-scale survey of college freshmen recently found that self-reports of emotional well-being have fallen to their lowest level in the study’s 25-year history.

So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them. The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk. You have no margin for error, so you avoid the possibility that you will ever make an error.
My freshman year, I spent a few days at Harvard and Dartmouth with a Bucknell girl whose two best friends were at those superior learning establishments. Dartmouth was exactly like Bucknell, only the girls were shorter and uglier and the temperature was colder. But Harvard... I have never, in my entire life, been around a bigger group of hapless posers.

The description of the Yale guy who reads the first and last chapters of a book rings very true. It's become a common phenomenon online, but Harvard was the first place I encountered people who regarded having heard of something as being synonymous with knowing it. That's why I developed the habit of asking a question or two about the contents of a book someone has mentioned because I've learned that many people will pretend to have read things they have not.

Seriously, if you haven't read something, it's no big deal. There are a lot of books out there. There are hundreds that I think I should read that I haven't and probably never will. It's no big deal not to have read a book... unless, of course, you're writing a review of it.

I've mentioned this part before, but the most egregious example I've encountered was the big guy who kept telling girls about how he "played hockey for Harvard". Unfortunately for him, I happen to be from Minnesota and I also happened to know that the Harvard hockey team was in Minneapolis that night, playing the Gophers. I think one of my friends back home was going to the game or something. I asked him if he was hurt, which he denied in a puzzled manner, and promptly fell into the trap. When pressed, he finally admitted that he played INTRAMURAL hockey. Right.

Not everyone I've met from an Ivy League school that isn't Dartmouth or Brown is a lying, pretentious poser, but a surprisingly high percentage of them are. And while it may be a character flaw, I've discovered that there are few things more entertaining than intellectually bitchslapping the unsuspecting, insecure little bastards.

Even if I was going to send my children to an American university, and I can't imagine I would, I wouldn't send them to any Ivy League school.

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Speaking of preferential treatment

A longtime member of the Dread Ilk has a job opportunity in Ohio:
I have a Dread Ilk job opportunity. My local sales firm in the Ohio region is hiring two sales people, one experienced and one entry-level. They plan to make decisions in the next month. If anyone is interested, could they communicate through you? This is a golden opportunity for an entry-level sales person to break into the oil and gas industry.

The successful person will be working for my rep firm, and indirectly working for me so I would only pass on quality people, obviously. Would love to see one of the Ilk get hired so whatever you can do I would appreciate it.
If you're interested shoot me an email with Ilk Job in the subject and I'll pass it on.

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How do you say "taqiyya" in Hebrew?

In the comments, Steve offered the excuse of superior motivation and "training" to explain the inordinate amount of Jewish success, first in Germany, now in the USA:
Whenever I read complaints about Jewish success, I wonder if people really want the totalitarian control which would be necessary to stop a high IQ, highly motivated, creative, hard working people from achieving it, because that is what is necessary to stop it. You have to give up your freedom to repress the successful and promote the mediocre and that is quite a price to pay, just because you don’t like Jewish billionaires or bankers or whatever. But as America has already travelled a way down that road (promotion of mediocre anyway), it probably won't be too much of a stretch. In any event, a little secret for your readers. When Jews succeed they do not look around and say to themselves: "so many Jews have succeeded before me, I had better stop now, because the Gentiles around here are going to get mad." There is no "group strategy" like that, - isn't that what McDonald calls it? No they are trained to think: "if that Jew made it, I can make it - only faster and better." Yes, that is the "secret" of the Jews. I myself don't think lazy and stupid and resentful would be better, but from the looks of things, I may be in the distinct minority...  I just think [ethnic nepotism] is complete BS. Wanting to believe someone else succeeded because someone else got the break.
I pointed out that the real "secret" of Jewish success is that Jews "relentlessly and ruthlessly promote other Jews at the expense of non-Jews while furiously fighting to prevent any efforts of the majority to do the same." Steve offers zero evidence in support of his assertions, raising numerous questions such as this one: do Jews actually work more hours in six days per week than every other group does in seven?

Now, there isn't anything intrinsically wrong with favoring one's own. It is normal human behavior. You see it in the NFL all the time; when Denny Green was hired as the Vikings head coach, the coaching staff suddenly went from being all-white to nearly half-black. Was that wrong? One could hardly criticize Green for bringing in the likes of Tony Dungy (later Super Bowl-winning head coach), Tyrone Willingham (later head coach at Stanford and Notre Dame), and Willie Shaw (Hall of Fame cornerback, father of current Stanford head coach David Shaw). And small groups will tend to stick together more successfully than large groups. But to simultaneously attempt to deny other groups the ability to do the same, and moreover, to deny doing what is observably being done, is both wrong and mendacious.

I've personally witnessed this in-group promotion in several different industries. To give one example, I have seen how the Littlest Chickenhawk was handed multiple opportunities to fail upward; he was nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate as a teenager despite the fact that his WND column was banal and one of the least-read; my weekly readership there was 4.1 times larger than his. Now, at 30, he is editor-at-large of Breitbart News, guest hosts regularly for major talk show hosts, and appears regularly on news channels including CNN, Fox News, and Sun News Network in Canada. Is Ben Shapiro THAT much more talented or intelligent or insightful than I am? Than every other contributor at WND is? I doubt Shapiro himself would make such a claim?

And there is considerable evidence of that relentless in-group promotion described, both anecdotal and statistical. Ron Unz exposed the corruption in Ivy League admissions offices in an article entitled "The Myth of American Meritocracy":
Consider the case of Tiffany Wang, a Chinese immigrant student raised in the Silicon Valley area, where her father worked as an engineer. Although English was not her first language, her SAT scores were over 100 points above the Wesleyan average, and she ranked as a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, putting her in the top 0.5 percent of high school students (not the top 2 percent as Steinberg mistakenly claims). Nevertheless, the admissions officer rated her just so-so in academics, and seemed far more positively impressed by her ethnic activism in the local school’s Asian-American club. Ultimately, he stamped her with a “Reject,” but later admitted to Steinberg that she might have been admitted if he had been aware of the enormous time and effort she had spent campaigning against the death penalty, a political cause near and dear to his own heart. Somehow I suspect that a student who boasted of leadership in pro-death penalty activism among his extracurriculars might have fared rather worse in this process. And presumably for similar reasons, Tiffany was also rejected by all her other prestigious college choices, including Yale, Penn, Duke, and Wellesley, an outcome which greatly surprised and disappointed her immigrant father....

Finally, there was the case of Becca Jannol, a girl from a very affluent Jewish family near Beverly Hills, who attended the same elite prep school as Julianna, but with her parents paying the full annual tuition. Despite her every possible advantage, including test-prep courses and retaking the exam, her SAT scores were some 240 points lower on the 1600 point scale, placing her toward the bottom of the Wesleyan range, while her application essay focused on the philosophical challenges she encountered when she was suspended for illegal drug use. But she was a great favorite of her prep school counselor, who was an old college friend of the Wesleyan admissions officer, and using his discretion, he stamped her “Admit.” Her dismal academic record then caused this initial decision to be overturned by a unanimous vote of the other members of the full admissions committee, but he refused to give up, and moved heaven and earth to gain her a spot, even offering to rescind the admissions of one or more already selected applicants to create a place for her. Eventually he got her shifted from the Reject category to wait-list status, after which he secretly moved her folder to the very top of the large waiting list pile.

In the end “connections” triumphed, and she received admission to Wesleyan, although she turned it down in favor of an offer from more prestigious Cornell, which she had obtained through similar means. But at Cornell, she found herself “miserable,” hating the classes and saying she “didn’t see the usefulness of [her] being there.” However, her poor academic ability proved no hindrance, since the same administrator who had arranged her admission also wrangled her a quick entrance into a special “honors program” he personally ran, containing just 40 of the 3500 students in her year. This exempted her from all academic graduation requirements, apparently including classes or tests, thereby allowing her to spend her four college years mostly traveling around the world while working on a so-called “special project.” After graduation, she eventually took a job at her father’s successful law firm, thereby realizing her obvious potential as a member of America’s ruling Ivy League elite, or in her own words, as being one of “the best of the best.”

Steinberg’s description of the remaining handful of Wesleyan applicants seems to fall into a very similar pattern, indicating that our elite admissions process operates under the principle of “Ideology and Diversity tempered by Corruption.” 
One wonders how many of the "honors" students shared her background. Steve and Miss Jannol may believe her "success" is the result of her innate Jewish superiority, but the facts demonstrate otherwise. And even the familiar appeals to intelligence are increasingly outdated; as the demographic math would indicate was bound to happen, Jews have been completely surpassed by elite Asians in the National Merit Scholarship program and have therefore resorted to using the very sort of quotas they once complained WASPs used to keep them out of the Ivy League.

As Unz observed: "The last 20 years have brought a huge rise in the number of Asians winning top academic awards in our high schools or being named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. It seems quite suspicious that none of trends have been reflected in their increased enrollment at Harvard and other top Ivy League universities."

These are the facts. Facts are not anti-semitic, they are merely the truth of the world as it is. And the truth, however uncomfortable, will be sought after and observed here: the more any commenter attempts to obscure the truth, the more I will take the time and effort required to expose whatever it is he is trying to hide. I had actually moved on from the subject until commenters like Steve started showing up and attempting to pass off transparent deceit as truth. And before Steve attempts to dig himself in any deeper, it may be helpful to keep in mind that I am one of those National Merit semifinalists and I am not easily baffled with bullshit. Every assertion made will require evidential support. Every statement made will be dissected, and every retreat into rhetoric will be noted as such.

For whatever reason, Steve is attempting to hide the observable fact that the inordinate success presently enjoyed by Jews in America is not the inevitable result of working harder, being more intelligent, or innate ethnic superiority, but is primarily due to a laudable dedication to in-group promotion being expressed in a variety of means, some legitimate, and some not. I assume he is doing so in an attempt to prevent an anti-semitic reaction, but whatever his motivation may be, I will point out that deception and misinformation do not work for long on those with open eyes and functional memories.

People are certainly free to ignore my warnings. Most have in the past and I assume most will in the future. But if Steve thinks Americans are going to meekly accept the financial pillaging of their nation any more tamely than the European nations historically have, especially when they have also suffered the demographic demolition of their country, I think he is woefully mistaken. And, I note, there are more than a few Jewish leaders who more or less agree with my concerns.

It's not a real problem yet. The difference between Israel's disapproval rating in the USA and in France, (which is a reasonable proxy) is nearly 50 percent; 27 percent vs 65 percent. If that percentage begins to rise in the next five years, it will be an initial indication that my read of the situation is correct.

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