The Roots of Helpless Behavior

This article by AP highlights the extreme case of Zimbabwe, where the collapse of the society, along with a drought, have brought the country to a near-standstill.

What I found interesting was the passivity of the people, who line up at the public wells, waiting hours for their ration of water. They are angry at the government, who they believe should supply the water – somehow.

Claudius Madondo, chairman of the residents association controlling the line, said nearby wells were no longer functioning, forcing the rationing. Some of the people waiting heckled him.

“Nothing is working in this country, how do we survive?” Hatineyi Kamwanda, another resident, said. “We can’t even use the toilets, the children are not going to school because of this and now we fear cholera is going to hit us again.

“The president should treat us as human beings, we voted for him.”

The idea that a vote should translate into favored treatment is common to many of the Impoverished Helpless.

Bloomberg blames government mismanagement, that makes a normal drought situation worse – MUCH worse.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a nationwide drought that’s depleted dams, cut output by hydropower plants, caused harvests to fail and prompted the government to appeal for $464 million in aid to stave off famine. It’s disastrous for a nation whose economy has been driven to the brink of collapse by two decades of mismanagement, meaning the authorities can’t afford to effect repairs, let alone extend water access to a burgeoning urban population.

For more detail on the post-Mugabe era, see this link.

Naturally, blaming corrupt government is NOT a tactic that will further Leftist aims. So, what else can they do?

Blame Climate Change.

“Climate change does not see boundaries or borders,” said Tich Zinyemba, head of the public weather service at Zimbabwe’s Meteorological Service Department. “Some of the things which we are seeing now such as prolonged droughts, dry spells are as a result of climate change.”

This paper on the historic droughts provides more background, but still is heavily reliant on government intervention and top-down projects.

Few of the available sources have alternative remedies to begging, demanding, and pleading with 1st world countries to pony up the dough to get Zimbabwe out of the rut it’s in. What is NOT generally considered is the effect that intervention at the “boots on the ground” level might have.

In drier areas, scanty rainfall for a few years can kill vegetation permanently and poor land-practices only make it worse.

Heritage has some figures about the problems of the country, but few solutions.

Surprisingly, the most thorough treatment of Zimbabwe’s condition, both past and present, is Brittanica. A surprise to me was this stat:

Zimbabwe has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, with nine-tenths of the population being able to read.

Keep in mind, what 3rd world countries consider literate can mean something as basic as: can write own name. I’m not kidding about that; when I was in college, I had opportunities to talk with many non-Americans. In that process, I learned about the vast differences between official statistics and reality in many parts of the world.

But, Brittanica has (somewhat buried near the bottom of the entry) acknowledged the impact of dispossessing the landowning White population.

…a law was passed in 2002 that allowed Mugabe to pursue an aggressive program of confiscating their farms, forcing more than half of the country’s white farmers to relinquish their property and rendering tens of thousands of black farmworkers homeless and unemployed. As was the case in the 1990s, property was often claimed by politically connected individuals with little or no farming experience rather than by the landless peasant farmers or war veterans who were supposed to benefit from the redistribution program. The government’s lack of forethought in forcing out the white farmers and not replacing them with experienced farmworkers contributed to a significant decline in agricultural productivity; this, as well as drought, led to severe food shortages.

Perhaps his most famous piece on that subject, is Let Africa Sink.

Peering Through the Looking Glass

Ya’ know, I used to read Heinlein’s books, and he always talked about the Crazy Times that preceded those future civilizations. Rampant, unpunished crime, extremely partisan and divided citizens, and – by the standards of a society that functioned – complete anarchy and chaos.

Little did I understand that the Left would take that storyline as an instruction manual.

The Impeachment Frenzy is upon us. Damn the evidence, and rush to judgement, which is a terrible idea for justice.

Which, is absolutely the point. If Shiff-for-Brains and Palsied get their way, the whole thing will be over by the time their supporters start their Halloween festivities. That celebration is their favorite, as they dress as usual, and scare the hell out of all of us.

How is all of this ready-made accusation/trial/conviction package possible? Normal investigations take months, if not years to put together.

Behold Lynching In a Box!

The attorney for the – Not-Quite Whistleblower – has written the Acting Director of National Intelligence to express concern for his client’s safety, using off-the-cuff comments Trump made to lay the groundwork for NOT ‘testifying’, or ‘testifying’ in seclusion. I put that in ‘single quotes’, as I’m hard put to understand how you can testify about something you haven’t seen or heard, or otherwise directly verified.

Apparently, Andrew P. Bakaj, Lead Attorney for the Intelligence Community Whistleblower, went to a special law school, where the distinction between evidence, and rumors, hearsay, and gossip, weren’t in the syllabus.

Great. Nothing says “full and fair investigation” like a Star Chamber.

Good thing we have the Dissident Media to provide some perspective.

 

Manufacturing Celebrities

Americans have a mixed relationship with celebrities. In some ways, they are our icons, our saints, a replacement for religious worship in a time of increasing secularism. In other ways, they are our devils. Miley Cyrus urinating in the streets, Kardashians videotaping their antics under the sheets.

Celebrities have usually been constructs, their public personas at odds with their private eccentricities and foibles. Marketers and media talking heads craft their images, setting them up as icons against a backdrop of quasi-religious mockery. Beyonce is fawned over by her attendants as some kind of goddess.

But once upon a time, celebrity fame was at least tied to something real. Elvis could sing. Elizabeth Taylor could act. Cindy Crawford was beautiful. Talent and hard work were prerequisites to success. By many accounts, Michael Jackson’s family were slave drivers, pushing him, prodding him. Many celebrities likely have similar stories.

The formula was talent + hard work + luck. You needed that last little bit. Some talent scout in that dive bar you were singing in, perhaps. Or a friend of the family who knew someone in Hollywood. You needed that break. But only those who had the gifts and put in the work could take advantage of that break when it came.

No longer.

The Kardashians proved that talent wasn’t really needed anymore, and it was questionable how much “hard” work they really did. The Kardashians were among the first to be famous for being famous. They were the chicken and the egg rolled into one sexually-charged, quasi-pornographic package made for mass pop culture consumption.

But even if we cannot resolve the Kardashian paradox easily, there was something there. Some preexisting OJ Simpson-derived fame. Some kind of bizarre facsimile of “work” at maintaining their circular fame. They were somehow anointed by the media and by popular culture, but something was still brought to that table, even if weak and ephemeral.

Greta Thunberg and David Hogg represent a new breed of celebrity, a wholly-fictional creation of marketers and journalists: the anointed activist. In David’s case, we may say that at least he was there when the shooting took place that supposedly drove him to activism.

Greta further lowers the bar.

She merely recites talking points delivered by others of similar political mind. She is a kid at the spelling bee, rattling off her letters. Her winnings? A Nobel prize nomination, for one. A great mural put up to honor her, for another. What has she done? What new thing has she created? Where did she come from?

In popular culture, we may create icons out of wholly fictional cloth. Or we may cancel those who actually did something over a mean high school tweet. Cancel culture allows those same marketers and journalists to cancel the fame of anyone they do not like. Although, at least for the nonce, journalists can likewise be cancelled.

They giveth. They taketh away. If we’re lucky, they get taken away too.

All of this is artificial. The Right and the Left argue over the statements Greta spews over the airwaves. But it’s rather like arguing whether or not you like the cut of the emperor’s clothes.

Who will say that the emperor has no clothes?

Like the Kardashians, when you strip away the pop culture iconography, when you wash away the anointment oils of the media, there is nothing left. The product is the packaging. There is nothing here. The emperor has no clothes.

Zoe Quinn, a “game developer” who created what is, in essence, a barely-formatted word document for all of its “complexity” cheated on her boyfriend with five guys. When her boyfriend later wrote a screed about how bad this was, and what she did, this triggered a chain of events that had Zoe Quinn, fake game developer, being granted an audience at the United Nations.

For what? A domestic dispute in which she was the abuser? Not only is talent or hard work no longer a prerequisite, there appear to be no meritocratic standards at all.

Journalists and marketers reserve for themselves – or at least try to – the ability to manufacture fame, or to cancel it, for any reason whatsoever. It is trivially easy to cancel anybody. Ever said something hasty on the Internet? They will find it. Ever made an insensitive joke? They will find out. If you pass that test – somehow – then surely something can be taken out of context. Scrub a word here, cut off the beginning there, and you have a racist quotation. Unless you’re Mike Pence, have you ever been alone with a woman who wasn’t your wife? You could be a rapist, Mr. Kavanaugh! It doesn’t have to be true. It doesn’t have to be substantiated. It could be some typical childish stupidity from a high school kid. It could be nothing at all.

Whatever. It will become gospel, and it will be terrible, and you will be cancelled from polite society. Even if you retain your great station, half the country (or more) will hate you forever. That might even be true for Greta, save that the halves would be reversed.

But it’s all nothing.

The emperor has no clothes.

But journalists will tell you how beautiful the clothes are. They will paint your murals on the walls, sing your praises at all the townhalls. You will be the mascot, you’ll get your book deals. Until you’re cancelled for some idiot’s bad feels.

It’s all fake, and everybody knows. There’s politics at stake, even if the emperor has no clothes.

Guys! I Have This WILD Idea!

It would make a great movie!

You have this horrible guy in office – he’s getting rid of all the rules the previous guy(s) put into place – things like:

  • Allowing Dept. Heads to impose fines for things that are legal, but the agency doesn’t like
  • Rules that limit Due Process for Men (hey, they deserve it!)
  • Rules that ignore the law, and permit payment to abortion providers, because they swear – Pinky Swear! – that NONE of the money will be used for abortions (90% of services for pregnant women)
  • Repeated prosecutions/harassment of political groups backing your enemies, including IRS abuses

You know the kind of actions – things that unfairly restore the balance of power between citizens and their government.

That Cad!

OK, so we meet in secret, and come up with a plan that says Hearsay Evidence will be Okey-Dokey to be used against that Horrible Person.

Huh?

Yeah, I know that hearsay evidence is NEVER used in court – you have to have been present at a crime to allow you to testify about it. There are laws about it.

No biggy. We’ll just have the agency that is opposing that Horrible Person (HP, for short) make a NEW rule, that says hearsay evidence is perfectly acceptable.

And – this is the twist that no movie is without – just by the Sheerest Coincidence, there is a person, who absolutely HATES HP (as do all GOOD people), and he just HAPPENS to be told by an unidentified person that HP has engaged in improper conduct.

What was that conduct, you say?

Um, well, you remember those stories about HP’s slurs against the former #2 to our Very Beloved and Honored Leader (VBHL)? How he used his position to bully governments into dropping investigations against his Nimrod Son (NS)?

Well, it’s kinda like that – but subtle, very subtle.

Huh? You’ve read that part of the script and it sounds like a regular conversation, not an attempt at intimidation.

Well, you have to imagine De Niro or Nicholson uttering those words. It works in context.

Whatevs.

How much?

I’m going to have to insist on an unlimited budget. My film, A Political Coup, is gonna use up all that the studio did on that last turkey, Stop That Justice!, and then some. I mean, you can’t do this on the cheap.

What’s that you say? You’re going to pass on the project?

Heh, heh. Did I mention that I have evidence – real evidence, not this schlock – on all of you? I’m gonna, how do you say it, Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse.

You don’t want to experience an Arkanicide, do you? And your little dog, too?

Reading “The Case for Trump”

I saw the book was out, and wanted to read it. But the price – even after discount, was out of my budget (see below – even for the Kindle edition, it’s $18.99).

There’s something cool I installed, however, It shows up in the right side of the graphic above (larger cropping below). It’s called Library Extension, and you can get it on the Chrome Store.

It checks libraries that you have a card with, and lets you know if you can check out or put a hold on a book. It’s an alternative to buying books that are pricey (in the case of Hanson’s book, likely worth it, but not in my budget).

I’m still in the  1st chapter, and enjoying it hugely (YUUUGELY!). VDH, as he is often called, is scholarly, without being tedious or ponderous in his prose. It’s a true gift, to write for the Common Man/Woman.

Globalization had flattened the hinterland as jobs and commerce were outsourced to lower-cost Asia and Latin America. And yet the disequilibrium had never been fully leveraged by politicians (unless by politicians in negative fashion by Barack Obama in his infamous “clingers” put-down of rural Pennsylvanians in 2008),

I’ll keep posting excerpts as I read it over the next few weeks.

Do ‘Ya Ever Feel Like You’ve Fallen Into the Rabbit Hole?

I’m referring to the Alice In Wonderland story, in which she is following up a strange story, only to find that she has entered a world where NOTHING makes sense, somewhat familiar personas act in bizarre ways, and she begins to doubt her own sanity.

Yeah. That’s how the plethora of revelations is looking to me.

Starting with this one, in which the Oh-So Childlike and TOTALLY Believable Christine Blasey Ford is found to have been in collusion with some VERY shady characters.

Those people accusing Trump and allies of using Russian trolls against Democrats? Posing as ‘experts’ on Russian trolling, which they claimed was aimed at getting Trump elected?

They were using bots, posing as Russian trolls, to defeat Republican Roy Moore in AL.

Do you use LinkedIn? You might want to cancel your account.

Day after day, the STANDARD media is releasing ‘news’ that, after the truth can no longer damage Democratic candidates, is shown to be wholly false.

Day after day, buried in the back pages, media finally admit that their stories were:

  • False
  • Concocted by Democratic operatives, if not their masters
  • Created, pushed, and promoted by the Titans of Silicon Valley
  • Slanderous/Libelous – but, not pursued, as the cost is far beyond that of the average person

And only a few people pushing back:

  • Volunteers – bloggers, video channels, podcasts
  • Mouth-to-mouth communication – passed quietly, with necessary caution, for fear of public harassment and loss of income
  • A vulgar Orange-haired President, surrounded by enemies, both foreign and domestic
  • And An Army of Davids, as Breitbart put it

It’s exhausting.

As With Epstein, The Corruption is Evident, But…

…it’s very likely that nothing will be done to bring the culprits to justice.

You can probably get the video online of Dr. Oz’s show today. The link is of the preview. He’s made a model of Epstein’s cell setup, and is asking questions about the scenario of Tim Gallagher, a medical examiner. He is going to, in a few minutes, look at the information available about the autopsy, and make some conclusions about what happened.

He did point out that most autopsies are longer than the two lines that were released; often many pages of findings. So, it appears that he may be somewhat skeptical about the official investigation.

However, I doubt that he will find that it was murder. Oz did repeat a stat I’d heard, that only about 1% of suicides have a broken hyoid bone. Gallagher calls it doubtful that it could have been broken by suicide.

He is cautious, saying that he (Gallagher) has no EVIDENCE of murder, but he hesitates to call it suicide. Oz points out that Assisted Suicide might be a possibility.

For network TV about a controversial topic, that might reflect badly on the Elite, this is not bad.

Money in Politics

I found this article on The Intercept, on the tangled relationship between money raised for the parent political organization, and House committee assignments. It puts the chairs of each committee into a fresh perspective. Apparently, for the “money” committees – those that have the potential to use for raising money from corporate interests – ya’ gotta pay to play.

On those so-called money committees, like Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce, even freshman members are asked to pay higher dues. That’s because those committees have jurisdiction over effectively every major industry, giving members a leg-up in demanding checks from corporations who need — or oppose — legislation before the panel. It is also valuable for industries to have committee members write letters to agencies they oversee.

The Intercept was started up as an independent news organization, by Ebay founder:

EBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar provided the funding to launch The Intercept and continues to support it through First Look Media Works, a nonprofit organization.

If the linked article is any indication, the outlet is worth checking out. Warning: most of the stories on the site lean Left – the above article may have been planted as a strategy for the Young Turks to oust the Old Guard. But – aside from the entertainment value – such looks “under the hood” can be a valuable way to find out stuff that is usually hidden from the public.

Caveat Emptor.

Pre-2020 Thoughts

I’m living in SC, right near the NC border (I wrote a blog post about the upcoming McCready-Bishop District 9 election here). It’s too close to call, and heating up. The mud-slinging is heavy, and just about everyone I’ve talked to is heartily sick of the whole thing.

No matter what the outcome, it’s unlikely to give a sign of how the 2020 election will go. McCready (D) may well win, but that probably will be as much due to people’s disgust with the blatant fraud that the GOP candidate engaged in last year, as to favoring McCready.

In the initial election, McCready had wide support – war veteran, entrepreneur in the solar industry, and just generally a clean-cut image. It didn’t hurt that he was the victim of some serious fraud, that likely skewed the election to the GOP candidate (Mark Harris – NOT running this time).

The current GOP candidate, Dan Bishop, is being held up as in the pocket of the drug industry, based on ONE vote against a bill – but, the full record does NOT support that characterization.

McCready’s work in the solar industry did benefit from tax subsidies, as well as Chinese-made solar panels. Read the whole story, from a mainstream source, that may put the various claims in context.

If McCready wins, the Dems/Leftists will likely begin the crowing about the upcomingTrump-collapse.

I don’t see that happening. Here’s a link that might explain the difference between a weak and divided Democratic party, and the GOP, and why the pundits might – once again – be wrong about Trump.

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