Monday, March 31, 2014

Japanese Political Corruption. Wow.

I couldn't find an anime picture of actual Japanese politicians, so here's
a picture of their Yakuza friends instead. Better ones at Liddell's Blog.
I've just added Colin Liddell's personal blog, Caligula's Horse, to my blogroll, and today he has this flabbergasting post up about corruption and Japanese Politicians.

THE USUAL SUSPECTS

From drunken sprees in the Vatican to suicide by dog leash, Japan beats the world when it comes to political scandals

Power is said to corrupt, absolute power to corrupt absolutely. But in Japan, just getting elected seems to have this effect—politicians here have one of the poorest reputations for honesty and integrity in the world. In honor of next weekend’s Lower House elections, we take a colorful look back at some of the country’s most memorable political scandals.

KAKUEI TANAKA: LOCKHEED & LOOPHOLES

The wide-ranging Lockheed scandal, involving a diverse cast of politicians, businessmen and yakuza fixers, is often seen as the culmination of the career of Kakuei Tanaka, once described by Timemagazine as Japan’s “paragon of corruption.” When allegations surfaced in 1976 that the Lockheed Company had been paying billions of yen to secure aircraft contracts, Tanaka had already stepped down as prime minister over an earlier misdemeanor. When eventually found guilty of taking $2 million in Lockheed bribes, in 1983, the former PM was able to stay out of jail thanks to legal loopholes and with the full support of his Niigata constituents, many of whom had benefited from decades of lavish pork-barrel politics.

SOSUKE UNO: THE FEMINIST GEISHA

When Sosuke Uno became Prime Minister in 1989, the LDP was reeling from an affair known as the Recruit scandal. The dweeby-looking Uno hardly seemed the man to restore confidence, and support for him started ebbing away almost immediately. The killer blow, however, was struck by his former geisha mistress, Mitsuko Nakanishi, whose revelations about the PM’s arrogance and stinginess were picked up by the media. Divorced before becoming a geisha, Nakanishi clearly had an agenda of her own, telling reporters that Japanese women have “always been beaten down by men and have always quietly endured the pain.”
(several more HERE.)



The Duel!

In keeping with the politics-plus-anime orientation of this blog, I present "The Duel." Sent in by Dave Holle. Dave says:
The source of the Obama/Putin Yu-Gi-Oh duel seems to be:

Somebody Else's Ayn Rand Insight

In a recent post HERE, I suggested that Rand's Objectivism was a version of communism rather than a counter to it. According to Jeff Odgis, it is a counter under the right circumstances, which makes me shift my paradigm a little. Jeff is clearly right, but I wasn't entirely wrong — I just wasn't seeing the whole picture.

With the collapse of most traditional religion in this country (and the rest of the West), a lot of people are enchanted to encounter a way of thinking that fits together logically and consistently, and that is based on a few credible assumptions. This is the case with most forms of Marxism. Since many youngsters haven't been brought up with any kind of clear moral code or direction, they're hungry for some kind of pattern or explanation in life, so they, in their naivety, see such a structure in Marxism, be it the actual undiluted stuff or the watered-down forms called cultural Marxism or political correctness. Sure, there are internal contradictions, and none of it bears up when it confronts reality, but remember that we're talking about the young and ignorant who have few defenses.

So Jeff's thinking is that once the kids have been bathed in all this, they can be cured by Objectivism, despite its own downside. It gives them the materialism and scientism that the ambient Marxism has convinced them is basic to rational thinking. It also gives them the moral certitude that Marxism supplies, along with a cadre of handlers who can keep them on the strait and narrow. So, this isn't a perfect cure — there aren't any — but can certainly serve to wean them away from the more dunderheaded aspects of Marxism. On the other hand, if their first encounter is with Objectivism rather than Marxism, Objectivism itself acts to twist their minds into the errors of materialism, scientism, etc., which are not good things. You can't win, not really.

I'd prefer people to think like I do, but if they can't, or can't yet, I'd rather they were in the Objectivist cult than the Marxist cult.  I think.
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Quibcag: This is "The Professor," from Nichijou (日常), drinking from the Cup of Objectivism.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Quick Vulturine Quibcag

This is just a quick quibcag to send you over to this short, but shocking, post by Vulture of Critique.  (It seems churlish to just link without a quibcag.) The girl seems to be from Future Diary (未来日記 Mirai Nikki)

The Good Parts of the Ukrainian Upheaval

My view of the Ukrainian revolt has been skewed by my concern about the extent to which it was caused and shaped by big shots from the West like George Soros, whose motivations are basically to make the place easier to loot. Also, despite everybody's propaganda, Ukraine as it was did seem to be a little awkwardly put together, with Crimea being full of Russians and all.

But all revolutions happen not for one reason, but for many, because the people who bring it about have different agendas.

I've long thought that the White countries of Western Civilization should be allied against the growing threats of the Third World. Allied, but not shoved together into a clumsy political union like the EU, which satisfies nobody but, again, big shots like Soros, and globalist, unpatriotic politicians.

So I don't know if Ukraine is a viable state by itself. I rather hope it is, and that it works out mutually satisfactory borders and relations with Russia. But some of the causes of the revolution were understandable and admirable. It may or may not turn out to be a good thing in the long run, but Colin Liddell points out the positive side of it. This is from the Occidental Observer:


The Ukraine as a Model of a European Spring

Colin Liddell


The role of geopolitics and the interests of powerful nations and groups —especially where they coincide or enter into a kind a kind of equilibrium — are constantly underestimated in self-determination, nationalistic, and other political struggles.
The Kurds, for example, despite an overwhelming need and just cause for their  own state, and the apparent divisions of their neighbours, are going to find it extremely difficult to achieve statehood as long as the three dominant groups surrounding them — Turkey, the Arabs, and Iran (along with their superpower backers) — stand to lose equally by this process.
We see something similar in the Ukraine. Despite all the leadership posturing by those involved, it is clear that we are heading to a new consensus, in which (1) the new borders – i.e. Crimea as part of Russia – are tacitly accepted, (2) the Russians hold back the more threatening breakaway movements in Eastern and Southern Ukraine, (3) the West favours liberals and moderates in Kiev at the expense of the Ukrainian nationalists , and (4) the gas continues to flow.
This is a pity as 2014 has the potential to see a European version of an “Arab Spring.” But then, neither the Russians, the EU (which essentially means the dominant EU countries), nor, of course, the US wants this.
Advertisement

The Ukrainian revolution was important for three main reasons:
(1) Its passion
(2) Its proximity to Europe
(3) Its rejection of false democracy or “post-democracy”
  • The passion: There are those who claim that the whole thing was stoked up by foreign money and behind-the-scenes string-pulling by CIA operatives, etc. This simply does not square with the empirical evidence. Although the U.S. supported the revolution, there can be little doubt that this was a mass movement with broad-based support, especially in Kiev and the Western parts of the country. Live with it!
  • The proximity to Europe: Ukraine is close to central Europe in a number of ways; geographically, culturally, and in racial/ethnic terms (perhaps more so than many parts of Western Europe now thanks to multiculturalism and the other excesses of modernity like bad architecture). In short, for the couch potatoes in the West tuning into CNN and Fox News, this was clearly and demonstrably an uprising by White people like themselves pursuing their perceived interests.
  • The rejection of an elected president: Although the masses still seem to have a naive belief in the ritual every few years of pushing a piece of paper with a cross on it into the darkness of a ballot box, they also increasingly realize at a gut level that we live in a post-democratic world, where the ritualistic forms of democracy are manipulated by politicians, crooks, and the media to exert oligarchic control over the state for the interests of the few. Yes, Yanukovych was duly elected, but so what!? So was Obama and David Cameron. This is something that the humble Asians with their “people power” movements in places like the Philippines and Thailand have long since realized but, then, they tend to have fewer illusions about politics than your average muddle-headed idealistic White.
These factors mean that what happened in the Ukraine has the potential to spread to other European countries, where we see corruption and sidelining of majority interests on a scale far grander than the Yanukovych government. In many senses it is worse, as the Ukraine has not been subjected to the horrors of Third World colonization as much of Western Europe has been.
There are a number of prime European countries that stand on the brink. They have the ingredients of their own Maidans: massive indebtedness, austerity, ethnic tensions, political disenchantment, and youth unemployment.
Youth unemployment is high almost everywhere. In 2012 the youth unemployment rate (those aged 15–24) varied from 8.1 % (Germany) to 55.3 % (Greece). Monthly figures in 2013 show a worsening situation in the majority of countries, with rates ranging from 7.7% (Germany) to 59.1% (Greece). Given the way that capitalism works, this also means that few actual jobs will be well-paid or satisfying.
The rise of the EU and the way this supranational body is used as a means of overriding the popular will in individual countries — with the cooperation of national governments — has strengthened the perception across the continent that the political class is a self-serving elite out of touch with the common people. This is why a number of traditionally smaller parties, like UKIP and the Front National, are surging at the moment.
Ukraine is important because it is an actual working model of a potential “European Spring.” But the main problem is that such a phenomenon does not serve the interests of powerful nations and groups, as was the case in Ukraine where the U.S. provided substantial support and where the opponents of the Yanukovych government included wealthy oligarchs as well as a large percentage of the inhabitants of Western Ukraine. And, after all the excitement of Yanukovych’s flight and the Russian seizure of Crimea, powerful interests are now starting to coincide and again enter into the kind of equilibrium based on the consensus detailed above.
While a successful “European Spring” has the potential to overturn the existing European order and even drive American power from Europe, the Russians would likely be wary of supporting it, first because of the established enmity between them and the Western Ukrainians who now dominate Ukraine, and secondly because they may fear the likelihood that such a scenario might spread to anti-Putin feeling in Russia.
Following the Arab Spring, the idea became established in Russian foreign policy circles that the US was applying “Chaos Theory” to its foreign policy. According to thinkers like Igor Shishkin, this was founded on a rejection of “linear deterministic process,” a view of the world as “a complex dynamic system, consisting of nations, states, religions, etc., which, in turn, are also complex dynamic systems,” and the realization that “dynamic systems never reach equilibrium” and small changes can lead to cataclysmic consequences.
If Shishkin is right, the Russian fear is that chaos suits America more than it suits Russia, something that also ties in with Alexander Dugin’s Eurasianism, which identifies chaos as an aspect or element of the thallasssocratic (sea-based) power in contrast to the stability and equilibrium characteristic of the telluric (land-based) power. This is despite the fact that the US as the hegemonic power benefits most from the status quo!
Given this analytical underpinning, the Russians fear chaos in the EU-zone just as much as EU and US leaders, even though it offers the best hope of overturning the US-dominated NATO order.
Nevertheless, looked at objectively, the collapse of the EU, the overthrowing of several key European governments, and the breakaway and independence of various regions and historical nations on a tide of decentralist nationalism would not only undermine the power of supranational bodies like NATO and the EU but also disrupt the synergy that clearly exists between these two bodies. In such a scenario Russia would be in a position to use its political and economic power to roll back the gains made against it during its own period of internal chaos and weakness in the 1990s.
Indeed, Russia, despite its hostility to Ukrainian nationalists for obvious reasons, has been developing close relations with several European nationalist parties, including the France’s Front National, Hungary’s Jobbik, and Greece’s Golden Dawn, with the likely aim of making an alliance with forces opposed to the EU.
The National Front wishes to replace the EU and NATO with a pan-European partnership of independent nations, which, incidentally, includes Russia and would be driven by a trilateral Paris-Berlin-Moscow alliance. [Marine] Le Pen’s spokesman, Ludovic De Danne, recently recognized the results of the Crimea referendum and stated in an interview with Voice of Russia radio that, “historically, Crimea is part of Mother Russia.” In the same interview, he mentioned that he had visited Crimea several times in the past year. Marine Le Pen also visited Crimea in June 2013.
This is an excellent example of what one might term cooperative nationalisms. (For Jobbik, the “Crimea referendum is exemplary.”) Rather than the present Western program of isolation and aggression against Russia, it would assume its natural role as a European nation. The real enemy for Russia and all the nationalist movements of Europe is the EU and its program of obliterating all national identities while swamping Europe with millions of unassimilable aliens with no sympathy with the traditional peoples and cultures of Europe.
From an ethnic nationalist point of view, the EU and the USA are the real enemy.
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Quibcag: I think this is one of the girls from Minami-Ke. Anyhow, it's a modification of what I found HERE.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ukrainian and Russian Languages

I took Russian in college, 40-odd years ago, but all I remember is the alphabet and scraps of grammar and vocabulary. My impression of Ukrainian's relationship to Russian is what the Relationship of Southern and Standard American English would be if the South had seceded and decided to spell everything slightly differently, and make words like "poke" and "sody pop" and other regionalisms the standard words, and regard dialectal formations like "He knowed what I wanted, but he done something different" standard grammar.

Anyhow, this chart might clarify it all a little. The Slavic languages are mostly very close together, which is not the sort of thing we're used to, because English has no relatives that close except the Frisian languages, which are very tiny. Anything closer is just considered a dialect of English. As for our most closely related large language, Dutch, here's this paragraph translated into Dutch:

Hoe dan ook, deze grafiek is het misschien verduidelijken allemaal een beetje. De Slavische talen zijn meestal heel dicht bij elkaar, dat is niet het soort wat we gewend zijn, omdat Engels geen bloedverwanten die sluiten met uitzondering van de Friese taal, die zeer klein zijn. Iets dichter wordt slechts beschouwd als een dialect van het Engels. Als voor onze meest verwant grote taal, het Nederlands, hier is deze paragraaf vertaald in het Nederlands:

(I used Google Translate, so there are probably flaws)

If you try, you can match up some words, but without the English, you probably couldn't make any of it out, so there basically is no mutual intelligibility.

This contrasts with the very close Slavic languages, especially the Russian/Ukrainian/Belorussian group.

This is a reprint from Robert Lindsay's fascinating blog.

Mutual Intelligibility Chart for the Slavic Languages

Look at how close they are!

This chart is based on lexicostatistics. The best way to do this is with a Swadesh-215 list with borrowings included. You really need to include borrowings when testing mutual intelligibility (MI) because borrowings are frequently used in conversation, and with MI, you are testing whether or not people can understand each other. A Swadesh-215 list is better because more similarities will show up than with a Swadesh-100 list, and there is no need to limit your words when testing MI because people don’t limit their speech to simple vocabulary, except in this slum where I live.

As you can see, once you start getting over 90% cognates (see Ukrainian-Belorussian and Czech-Slovak) you are very close to the same languages. At the very least, you have two very closely related languages, and I do believe that Belorussian is separate from Ukrainian and Czech is separate from Slovak and MI tests show this to be true (MI 82% between Czech and Slovak).

Note that MI is apparently lower between Belorussian and Russian than between Belorussian and Ukrainian. That is interesting because many Russian nationalists say that Belorussian is a Russian dialect. Note also that Bulgarian and Macedonian, often said to be one language, have fewer cognates than between Czech and Slovak. Based on this chart, Bulgarian and Macedonian surely appear to be separate languages, as far apart as Polish and Slovak.

Note how close both Czech and Slovak are to Polish and Slovenian! Note also how close Serbian is to Slovenian and Macedonian.

It is also interesting how close Upper and Lower Sorbian are to each other. I wonder what the MI is like between them.

It is really amazing how closely related the Slavic languages are to each other.

What DO women want, anyway?

It confused the hell out of Freud, and he hated to admit not knowing stuff. Despite a lot of silly rhetoric to the contrary, they certainly don't want what men want. They mostly don't want beer, or NASCAR, or great big sandwiches with a lot of cheese on them. And, unless the feminists have really gotten to them, they don't want other women, not really. But that's an exaggeration. Women actually want some of the things that men want, and vice-versa, but definitely not in the same proportions or in the same order, or in the same way. Men and women both want status, of course, but they usually get it in quite different ways. Men get it by some kind of accomplishment — gaining power over, and/or respect from, other men, from their strength, leadership abilities, wealth, etc. Women, traditionally, derive status first from their fathers, and then from their husbands. And they enhance the status of their men in some ways, by being attractive or fertile, thus making other men envious or admiring. And they can also prove that their husband or father is powerful by being conspicuously unproductive and thereby showing he doesn't need any help. Scarlette O'Hara was considered a desirable, status-enhancing mate because she went around in a hoop skirt unable to do any work, acted giddy and idiotic, thereby demonstrating inability to do any mental work, and was pretty.

So the instincts for being Scarlette-like developed, till a woman's status was enhanced by being that way even if she didn't have a man.

All this is in introduction to an amazing post by Vulture of Critique, which shows that many kinds of female behavior that seem completely different and unrelated are in fact the exact same thing. He begins:

Richard Ford on self-crippling


More than a year ago, Richard Ford wrote:
Throughout history upper class women have demonstrated their status through self mutilation- either physical or mental as a means of demonstrating their superior status. This is always most marked in societies where a sizable minority were able to live without doing any sort of productive work. Self crippling ‘works’ as a status symbol because it demonstrates that the women who engages upon it is one of the few in her society who can make it through life in this crippled state because no work will ever be required of her.
One of the best known examples of this is the binding of women’s feet in China. This was only found among upper class women and was a way of telling the world that she would never have to do any work.
(Lots more to come, with the punch I hinted at, HERE.)
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Quibcag: The illustration is the delightful Hinagiku Katsura (桂 ヒナギク Katsura Hinagiku) from Hayate the Combat Butler (ハヤテのごとく! Hayate no Gotoku!), a wonderful girl, who demonstrates that she has healthy, attractive, non-feminist feet. I was going to use this illustration here, but I can't find out who the girl is, and besides, I decided it was just too disturbing.

Just One More Ayn Rand Insight

In a comment on a recent post, Burns Wogwade wrote:

Unlike Mencken and Rothbard, Rand has been demonized to a surreal degree. Of course, that's because she was the great popularizer of liberty. Same reason the lightest lightweights interested in liberty are her fans, not theirs. Same reason critters like Rachel Maddow slander Rand: if Maddow has even heard Mencken's name, she isn't quite sure who he was.

Also, to be fair, Rand was a sh*tty novelist and often intellectually glib.

But she understood the leftwing totalitarian mindset like nobody before or since. IMHO that was her great contribution.


It's that next-to-last sentence that got me to thinking. Most of us on the right/libertarian side don't understand the leftwing totalitarian mindset. We don't think that way. Despite the blather from the left, most of us either don't want to boss people around at all, or like Cincinnatus, do it when we have to and look forward to when said people can function on their own.

Despite her expressed principles, Rand evidently had, among her other defects, a totalitarian personality. I say totalitarian rather than authoritarian, because the latter term is intrinsically limited to what the authoritarian considers essential. An authoritarian dictator wants to keep peace and order, while a totalitarian wants total control of every aspect of a society. Authoritarians arrest people who make trouble. Totalitarians arrest, basically, everybody who dissents from anything. Maybe, when you get right down to it, is the difference between religions and cults. A religion calls for adherence to a basic moral code and an avoidance of sin. A cult calls for total obedience in everything — Who to marry, what color hat to wear, what movies to watch and what books to read, what to eat. That certainly describe s herd of Objectivists.

I remember reading, years ago, Jack London's The Iron Heel.  It's fuzzy in my memory, but it describes a revolt against a capitalist tyranny by a heroic socialist. I remember that at the time it reminded me of Atlas Shrugged.  For one thing, it was entirely about economics. All things depended on the economic system. And, since it was fanatically socialist in ideology, it was completely without humor. The hero, Ernest Everhard (see what I mean?) would fit right into a Rand novel if he switched his ideology from socialism to communism.

So, it takes a thief, so to speak. Rand, I think, would have made a superb communist, but wasn't a communist because she couldn't be in charge of communism, so she created the mirror image of it in her capitalist revolt, which could make her the Marx of it all, if not the Lenin and Stalin. Meanwhile, during her wait for the Revolution, she had her own playpen show trials and North Korean self-criticism sessions. She even had her own Trotsky. Also, think about this — there are two political movement that require atheism in their adherents. Communism is one of them. Can you guess what the other is?

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it, until somebody talks me out of it. No totalitarian, me.
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Quibcag: Naru Narusegawa of Love Hina (ラブ ひな Rabu Hina) kicks poor Keitaro out of the hot springs. She's a bit like Ayn Rand, but sweeter, sometimes.

Natalia Agonistes

Good golly, here we go again! This from Sankaku Complex:

Seditiously Sexy Natalia “So Cute They Are Arresting Her!”

The Ukrainian government has ordered the arrest of Natalia Poklonskayathe moemoe chief prosecutor of Crimea after she was charged with sedition for collaborating in what the dastardly Ukrainian anti-semites and their American masters still insist on maintaining was an illegal restoration of the region to glorious Mother Russia.
Ukrainian authorities say she violated their unreasonable laws against participating in an overthrow of the government or handing over Ukrainian territory to a foreign power, and so put her on their wanted list for treason.
There is of course some reason to speculate that if she had never came to global attention for her looks the Ukrainian authorities would never have bothered with her – Ukrainian arrest warrants for other Crimean “collaborators” now working in service of Putin are only 7 in number – making her very much a victim of her own cuteness.
Fortunately for Natalia – now Crimea’s acting chief prosecutor – as she is now in indisputably Russian territory and under the protection of armies loyal to Putin there is no real danger of the wicked Ukrainians nabbing her for treason or otherwise, although she may sadly have some trouble travelling overseas to visit all her new fans in future.
Fortunately all these efforts to besmirch her good name have not diminished the quality of art she continues to inspire:*
*The X-rated warning remains in force

Friday, March 28, 2014

Kollege

Many years ago, I was working in a factory, and in the break room a conversation was going on. One young fellow who was attending the local college was holding forth on some issue, I don't remember what — the war or civil rights, or something. Whatever it was, and I might even have agreed with his position, his arguments were silly and not factual, and of course adhered to the trendy thinking of the time. I pointed out some of the flaws in his facts and reasoning. He frowned, and said,

"If you went to college, you'd understand."

I had a master's degree at the time, and most of the other people there knew it, so I just nodded and didn't argue any more. I suppose he finished his degree in Contemporary Grooviness and is even now proving his points by alluding to his degree.
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Quibcag: I don't know quite who the professorial girl is, but I found her HERE.

L. Neil Smith on Connecticut and other things

Haruhi drawn by reaperwolf91


Guest post by Baloo:

Neil and I don't agree on everything. We have some great times with theological disputes, for example, and the fur flies when we get to C. S. Lewis. He also has rather more regard for Ayn Rand than I do.  That's kind of funny, because Neil is funny, and he writes funny, and Ayn didn't like funny. She wrote: "The worst evil that you can do, psychologically, is to laugh at yourself."

Taking that seriously, so to speak, would put me and Neil out of business in short order. I once described one of Neil's novels as "Atlas Shrugged as rewritten by Terry Pratchett."

But I digress. One thing I never disagree one iota with Neil about is the Second Amendment and gun rights. He's had that nailed and has for years.


Independency!—and a Thumb in the King's Eye
by L. Neil Smith

lneil@netzero.com


Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

I have just been invited to attend a famous science fiction convention next year as its Guest of Honor, and I have happily accepted.

More details about that another time soon. The point here is that I have no idea—and neither does anybody else—whether there's even going to be a next year at least for the land of the free and the home of the brave. That's what living in "interesting times" is about. As I stand here writing, gun owners in the state of Connecticut are braced for a massive, illegal physical assault on their lives, liberties, and property, by a state government and its goons who have given up the last tattered appearances of respect for the Bill of Rights.

They want their subjects disarmed and helpless.

The state has said it will send its uniformed thugs from door to door to ferret out and collect at gunpoint, weapons its doesn't approve of, but whose ownership is supposed to be protected by the Second Amendment. Gun owners by the thousands have refused to reveal what they have to the state through its brand new registration system because by now they finally understand that registration is inevitably followed by confiscation. They may also know that confiscation is historically associated with state programs of mass murder like the Holocaust.

Ecofreaks in power believe Earth needs "another good plague".

Other states, and millions of gun owners in them, are waiting to see what happens. We have arrived at a crossroads in history, and the country stands on the brink of civil war. Our original Revoliution began with an attempt by the British to steal the guns of colonists in Massachusetts.

I don't live on the East Coast, (I'm delighted to report) and there is nothing I can do about the situation in Connecticut, except to point out how important that state was in the creation of this nation, and lament the way is seems to have been taken back over by the vile neo-British.

This is especially poignant as I am involved in a production, just presently, of the wonderful musical play 1776, in which I play (and sing!) John Hancock. It's all about the wild political and personal struggle to get the Declaration of Independence agreed to and signed by all of the thirteen colonies. Hancock and his friends were taking enormous risks, and they had no idea whether there was going to be a 1777.

I figure that by being a part of this little production, I'm doing something—maybe something small, maybe not—about the situation in Connecticut. I'm putting my thumb in the eye of the bucket-headed authorities there who believe that they can abolish fundmental rights by passing legislation or by beating up and killing people. They can't, and I and my fellow castfolk are out here, reminding them of that.

Like I said, maybe something small, maybe not.

If you can't be in Connecticut, either, or help freedom fight back in any other way, I have a favor to ask of you, and something to offer you in return. We can't mount even a small production like this one without money, and under the rules imposed by the "Kickstarter" crowd-funding program, we are rapidly running out of time. If we fall a dollar short, we lose everything we have accumulted in the way of pledges.

Go to:

KickStarter

and give us a boost—as big a boost as you can. In return, we'll help you stick your thumb in the King's eye, or in the eye of some jerkwad in Connecticut who wants to be King and cancel 248 years of history.

Give us all the help you can, and if you don't, I don't want to hear you complain about what's going on in Connecticut, a state that ought to be ashamed for betraying its historical role as a cradle of liberty.

You had your chance.
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Quibcag: The noose girl is Haruhi Suzumiya from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱 Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu)

Gun Grabbing CA Senator Nabbed in Gun Running Sting

This is a splendid example of the pervasive hypocrisy of politicians, most especially liberal politicians, though so-called conservative politicians are definitely in the running. It's the old story. Drunks who vote for prohibition, whoremongers who vote for moralistic laws, bloodthirsty interventionists who somehow evaded the draft, bozos who hire illegals for their child and lawn care who blow off about "securing the border."  And now we have this scumbag who wants to disarm law-abiding Americans, while running guns into the country for his criminal constituents. Kind of like Eric Holder, only Yee runs guns into this country instead of Mexico. This is from The Libertarian Republic:

Gun Grabbing CA Senator Nabbed in Gun Running Sting


Posted by Keith Farrell • 27 Mar 2014

Democrat State Senator Leland Yee of California has been arrested for facilitating gun running from the Philippines in exchange for campaign contributions.

Leland, a longtime gun control proponent, is also being charged with selling legislative influence. Authorities allege that Yee is one part of a large investigation involving organized crime, gun trafficking, drugs, bribes and contracted murder.

While corruption and hypocrisy from lawmakers is a common occurrence, Yee has taken it to a new level. The activities in the criminal complaint detail organized crime being run out of a prominent CA legislator’s office.

Yee has been instrumental in limiting California residents 2nd Amendment rights. It appears that for the right price, however, Yee would personally hook you up with his Philippine gun running connection.
(Read the rest HERE.)

Postscript!  Much more on this from Larry Correia over at Monster Hunter Nation. He writes:

I’ve got to hand it to Democrat state senator, Leland Yee. Most political scandals are the typical drug use, hookers, or bribery stuff. This guy reaches for the stars. He isn’t messing around. There is no half assed corruption here. If Yee had a machine that could control the weather he’d be a Batman villain.
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Quibcag: I don't know who the girl is, but I found her HERE.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Prodding the Randian Hornet's Nest

Well, my last post about Ayn Rand certainly got a reaction. Heaps of hits, too. And, despite the fact that what I said was only semi-negative, and included a lot of good things about her, I feel like I just dissed Jesus at a revival meeting. Within the libertarian movement, that seems to happen every time you mention Rand without the proper reverence. But critique Rothbard or Mencken or some other libertarian theoretician, and you might get an argument, but it never sounds quite this... pietistic?

And one reaction illustrates one of her more annoying habits, that of using a common word to mean something slightly askew, at best, from its accepted definition, and then acting all martyr-like when she's misunderstood as a result. In this case "soul." For crying out loud, that's what soul means to most people — a supernatural component of a human being. Likewise, "altruism" means benign behavior without an expectation of compensation, and she used it to mean either phony or psychotic altruism, thereby immediately alienating everybody who heard her use it. She also used "evil" to mean anything she disagreed with, evidently.

I once witnessed part of a debate between some dopey leftists and some Objectivist bunch. The importance of "property" was brought up, and one of the leftists pointed out that owning land wasn't important at all, and there were things more important. The misunderstanding, I think, was because the leftie was a Brit, and to her, "property" sounded like "real estate." The kicker was that the Objectivists didn't explain what they meant by property, but simpered and grinned at each other about how ignorant the leftist was, demonstrating that they weren't there to explain their ideas, but to show off how superior and knowledgable they were. This junior high school attitude seems to show up whenever you argue with one of them. 

And yes, I've met Rand sycophants without the quotation marks. Mostly they're young (but not all) and what they have in common is the humorless demeanor of a true believer, and if you criticize one of Rand's hats, they'll immediately do their best to prove that the hat was perfect. This is the sort of reaction you get from a disciple, not just a follower. Notice the tone of the comments as well as their content. And after I made them that cute quibcag.

So, like I said before, it's really doing Rand a disservice (whether she'd realize it or not) to hold her up as an infallible sage rather than as a good writer who had a lot of useful insights, and who influenced many people in a good way. She had dopey eccentricities, just like everybody else, and they should be recognized as such, and not crammed into some unified field theory of everything. It sort of reminds me of those who think that because Einstein had some pretty terrific insights in one field, he's therefore the guy to listen to on politics and ethics and stuff like that. He isn't. And it also, ironically, reminds me of some Christians who try their damnedest to show that the silly stuff in the Bible really does make sense if you just read it right. You might not understand why Rand thought tap dancing philosophically superior to the hokey-pokey, but you must have faith and someday you'll understand.

John Donohue March 27, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Love affair{{s}}? How many?

She knew plenty about religion and did not condemn it out of hand. She praised it, famously, for being at least a start of valuing the human individual soul. Then, she condemned it specifically for its most grievous faults and atrocities.

I won't bother touching your other opinions, although they are all dubious.

Replies



Baloo March 27, 2014 at 3:42 PM

She believed in the _soul_? Tell me more! Fascinating.



Ex-Army March 27, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Now, Baloo, be nice! But I, too, am surprised to hear that she praised religion at all. _All_ my opinions are dubious? Wow! That's what I usually get from lefties and other true believers.




John Donohue March 27, 2014 at 4:25 PM

You didn't go very deep if you don't know about Ayn Rand giving Western Religion credit for at least valuing and protecting the human individual soul. I use that word purposefully. Not the "god-given supernatural mystical" soul as in dualism, but rather as in "man is a creature of self-made soul." She claimed that religion was a primitive form of groping for the self-made soul.

" ... as man is a being of self-made wealth, so he is a being of self-made soul—that to live requires a sense of self-value, but man, who has no automatic values, has no automatic sense of self-esteem and must earn it by shaping his soul in the image of his moral ideal, in the image of Man, the rational being he is born able to create, but must create by choice ..." Ayn Rand

All the ones posted here about Rand are dubious. I am not commenting about any other.



Chris Sandvick March 27, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Ayn Rand definitely believed in the soul. Just that it wasn't supernatural.

http://aynrandlexicon.com/searchresults/index.html?cx=013104633629966810561%3Ag5jt9ka8qre&cof=FORID%3A11&q=soul

As for points 1-7, yeah dubious is a kind word. I've met personally some of the "sycophants". Anything but, and good people besides. Going to say it's safe to say you didn't actually know her so if you're going to hang a lot on a couple of books written after the woman had died by people who'd been kicked out of her life you might read James S. Valiants The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics which, among other things, compares what Rand was writing in her private journals to what the Brandens where claiming.
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To end with something more pleasant, Vulture of Critique just sent this in:


I cannot exceed Michael Prescott's analysis of Rand.

Prescott was a devotee for years. He turned against his former opinions and wrote several devastating critiques.

I may have missed a few, but some important ones are at:













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Quibcag: The Love Hina girls tromp on poor Keitaro.

Blathering Barack or Silent Cal?

Calvin Coolidge is almost always left out of the list of great Presidents.  I've even seen him listed as one of the worst Presidents here and there. And that's a crying shame. True, he didn't invade Iraq or get all worked up about the Crimea, or women's rights in Pakistan, or homophobia in Uganda. He didn't think up ways to borrow money from China and give it community organizers in Chicago. Speaking of China, he didn't send Mrs. Coolidge and the little Coolidges there to wear red dresses and climb around on the terra-cotta soldiers. He didn't bomb Serbia to make them allow the creation of an Islamic state in Europe. As for Europe, he basically left it alone to solve its own problems. As for problems, he thought that they mostly solved themselves, and that interfering too much and too often could just exacerbate them. This is in contrast to his successor, Herbert Hoover, whom Coolidge referred to, uncomplimentarily, as "Wonder Boy." He thought that government should only do what it was required to do, and should leave everything else to the people. He didn't want to "fundamentally transform America," but, on the contrary, did his best to preserve it. And he pulled that shameful racist "war bonnet" stunt.

But despite all these defects, he kept us on an even keel, presided over prosperity, and solved what was becoming a serious immigration problem.

Right now we need less Obama coolness and more Coolidgeness.

What follows is a comment I came across the other day by Leon Haller on the Ludwig von Mises Institute blog. It sums Coolidge up in a few short sentences better than anything else I've read.

Calvin Coolidge was, ideologically, the best president of the twentieth century. Admittedly, this says less than it appears to, given the ever declining quality of American leaders (and, frankly, Americans), but even by some ‘absolute’ standard, Coolidge was very good. He was the last president truly committed to preserving capitalism (Reagan had some good rhetoric, but in the end, he never repudiated the socialism of the New Deal, as did candidate Goldwater, essentially only opposing, and none too effectively, its logical expansion in the Great Society of the Sixties).
Of even greater historical importance, Coolidge was also the last patriotic American president, and the one who ended our earlier immigration invasion, which (temporarily) stabilized our population and allowed for the preservation of what Russell Kirk called America’s British Culture. America might well not exist today had we not ended the unending immigration flows of the early 20th century. Doing so allowed for a healthy cultural assimilation to occur – a national culture now obviously nearly destroyed by our current renewed immigrant invasion, which constitutes the biggest Big Government program in American, if not world, history: the transformation of the traditional white American people into a new, nonwhite people. A campaign of federal government mandated “peaceful genocide”.
I’m quite certain neither Calvin Coolidge nor Andrew Jackson nor even Herbert Hoover would have tolerated this greatest of all historical outrages.
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Quibcag: The illustration is Mai Minakami (水上 麻衣) from Nichijou (日常), whose coolness and persistence reminds me of Coolidge. That, and she's pretty cute.

1776 And Then Some!

Cartoon by BALOO!


As a public service, I print the below, which looks like a damned worthy cause:

Funding Freedom and Humanizing History

"You should know that rebellion is always legal in the first person-- such as 'our' rebellion. It is only in the third person-- 'their' rebellion-- that it is illegal."
- Benjamin Franklin, Stone & Edwards' 1776

There are three ways in which one can begin a major creative project.

The first (and most generally accepted) method is to seek so-called "appropriate" government funding, through a grant application or through an ostensibly scholarly program.

The second (and most common) method is to quietly create, seeking no permission, asking no favors, promising no returns... and allowing the project, accomplishment, and finally the very self to fade into obscurity, to be discovered only posthumously.

The third (and certainly riskiest) method is to throw caution to the wind and try-- bucking the system as you go, flipping the metaphorical bird at the establishment, and giving authority the swiftest possible kick in the ass.

Of course, with risks come untold benefits: complete creative control, freedom of association, and the exhilaration of knowing that failure could be only moments away. But in order to prevent failure, one sometimes needs to ask for assistance.

A wild hare attached itself to me a couple of weeks ago-- one that I've been trying to shake for several years-- and I acted upon its commands. I am now in the throes of preparing for a grassroots production of Peter Stone & Sherman Edwards' musical play 1776.

The story is enthralling, unique, and aimed straight at the heart of authoritarian government: it takes place in the summer of 1776, when congressional tensions were as high as the sweltering temperatures outside-- and, as is the case whenever true progress is called into question, Congress has spent years sitting idly by as King George's taxes continually bleed the colonies dry. War has broken out; mothers search the battlefields for their dying teenage sons. Benjamin Franklin has invented the stove-- but Congress refuses to warm to John Adams' fierce cries for American independence.
In an excellently written, well-paced libretto (written in 1969, during a similarly hectic and discombobulated time), Stone and Edwards accurately depicted the two months culminating in the unanimous decision to declare indepence from Great Britain and from King George's pocket-picking.
It is with this in mind that I ask you to consider my request.

In order to give credit where credit is due (and remain decidedly un-sued), I am requesting licensing for this play through Music Theatre International. In addition to licensing and rental fees, we will require costumes, a venue, a musical director, an orchestra, and a very large cast (more than 25 actors).

I've got the cast-- and I've got the time-- and so I ask your help in securing the funding to present this sorely-needed cry for freedom.

We are out to raise $20,000, and we have until April 3rd to raise it all, or receive nothing. If you love freedom, please consider donating to this project. Please also share this project with your friends of any stripe, because music truly is the universal language. It is through music that we share our strengths and our vulnerabilities-- and it is through music that we may once again "see Americans-- all Americans-- free, forever more."



Balls to the wall,
Giovanni Martelli
Producer, Director
HMFWIC, Independency Productions

More On Ayn Rand

Recently I did a post about Rachel Maddow lying about Ayn Rand (she tends to lie about everybody, of course — she's a leftist), and a basic thing about the Rand controversy struck me: A lot of people dislike Ayn Rand for the wrong reasons. Reasons to dislike her include:

1. She had the curse of omniscience. She thought she knew everything.
2. Related to #1, she didn't want to hear what anybody else had to say, and regarded all criticism of her as some kind of attack on reason itself. This is a leftist habit that maybe she picked up in Russia, and it's a shame to see a non-leftist indulging in it.
3. She surrounded herself with a gaggle of sycophants and acted like a cult leader or a North Korean interrogator, blessing or condemning her followers according to whims disguised as objective criticism.
4. She got her principles mixed up with her taste. That's easy to do, but most of us are aware that it's a danger, so we try to avoid it. Rand, on the other hand, seemed to think she didn't have such weaknesses, so she made very silly statements about smoking, tap dancing, and the realtive worth of various other cultural things. If I were like Rand, I'd turn my taste for Japanese cartoons (like Rika up there) into some kind of statement about some deep philosophical principle involved in them. I won't, because I know I like them because they're cute and clever, not because they illustrate some kind of ideological underpinning of something refined and exalted.
5. When she felt like doing something immoral, like having love affairs, she dressed it all up as though she was doing something noble.
6. She didn't know a damn thing about religion, so she condemned it, every bit of it, out of hand.
7. She was, evidently, a scientific ignoramus, kind of like Limbaugh, so she condemned sociobiology, one of the greatest scientific conceptions of our time.

So if she annoys you because of those things, fine. She annoys me. But don't let her defects blind you to her virtues. She made about as good an argument as can be made for the value of free-market capitalism. She detached religion from morality — probably because she disliked religion, but still — and showed that for many people at least, it isn't necessary to live an admirable life. Most importantly, she showed how fake altruism (although she just called it "altruism") was corrosive and, to use her term, "anti-life." She popularized the term "enlightened self-interest," although she didn't originate it, and that is one of the handiest ideas in the world.

I read Rand like I read Heinlein, soaking up the good parts, and ignoring the silly parts. You should do that too.
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Quibcag: That's our old pal cutie-pie Rika Shiguma (志熊 理科) again, from Haganai (はがない), who certainly looks like a productive person in her little lab coat, there.

Why Did The Chechen Cross The Ocean?

Actually, this graphic isn't entirely accurate. I'm sure that this situation obtains throughout the Western World, where from Australia to Denmark, immigrants are explicitly or otherwise welcomed, no matter what their situation — They might be terrorists or some other sorts of criminal, and are almost surely going to qualify for public assistance of some kind, but it would be racist to try to filter out the bad ones, as we're constantly taught, so here they are.

Speaking of such, and of Chechens in particular, you may have forgotten another Chechen chap, with criminal connections to the Tsarnaevs, but Steve Sailer hasn't, and you can read about him HERE.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What Would Torquemada Do?

There are and have been a lot of weird, screwy religions out there. There are the Yazidi, for example, who evidently literally worship Satan, but in a nice way, not like Aleister Crowley, and the devotees of Juggernaut who allegedly let their god roll over them in a sort of steamroller, as in animated cartoons. Then we have the Scientologists, like Tom Cruise and Greta van Susteren, who believe that:

75 million years ago Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners, stacked them around volcanoes and detonated hydrogen bombs in the volcanoes. The thetans then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to do this today. Scientologists at advanced levels place considerable emphasis on isolating body thetans and neutralizing their ill effects. (from Wikipedia)

And then we have the late Fred Phelps, civil-rights activist attorney and rather overenthusiastic critic of pederasty.

I could go on and on. Mormonism, an admirable faith in many ways, includes the belief that Noah sailed his ark from Missouri, where the Garden of Eden is located, and landed in the Middle East. And there's the rather icky religion, Santería, which may or may not be practiced in the White House by Obama's mother-in-law. Now I'm a Santeríaphobe.

But the kicker is Christian Zionism, an odd variant of Christianity wherein one is required to consider Jews as more worthy or something than Christians. I wrote about this some time back, when I learned that Michele Bachman held this belief. It seems to be linked to Dispensationalism somehow, which is equally screwy.

But some of the younger Christians whose elders are Christian Zionists are evidently having second thoughts. No, they're not switching their allegiance to Shintoists or the Druze, but deciding that a special devotion to Judaism doesn't really compute for a Christian.  At his site HERE, Vox Day writes:


May I suggest crying Holocaust?

Failing that, I'm sure this weakening support is nothing that a few judicious accusations of anti-semitism wouldn't cure:
Support for Israel is weakening among evangelical Christians, prompting a new struggle for the hearts and minds of younger members of America’s largest pro-Israel demographic group. While hard numbers are not available, evangelical leaders on both sides of the divide on Israel agree that members of the millennial generation do not share their parents’ passion for the Jewish state; many are seeking some form of evenhandedness when approaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“What is happening is that the hard line of Christian Zionists was not successfully passed forward to the next generation, because it was based on theological themes that are now being questioned by younger evangelicals,” said David Gushee, professor of Christian ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University in Atlanta.
I find it rather amusing that after decades of relentless Jewish attacks on evangelical Christianity, Jews are suddenly alarmed to discover that evangelical Christians are no longer reliably in their corner. How is this a surprise to anyone? They should be relieved that they haven't managed to convert evangelicals into open enemies despite their best efforts.

If Ha'aretz is worried now, perhaps they should have a look at Europe, where the post-Christians are openly anti-Israel. After coming to America, many Jewish immigrants foolishly elected to attack the primary factor that prompted America to give them refuge. Ah well, no worries, there is always China. Are we not reliably informed of the tremendous respect and affection the Han have for the Jewish people?

Upon reading the end of the article, it appears it is impossible to parody at least one of these organizations:

The group is also launching speaking tours on campuses, and intends to invest in videos and social media activity that will monitor Christian influencers and “confront them when they cross the line.”
Now that's going to work a treat. Nothing inspires love and affection like monitoring and confronting people.
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Quibcag: The thoughtful girl with the glasses is from HERE.