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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Alt-Internet

Slate planned a hit piece on the Alt-Tech movement, then realized that perhaps the Alt-Right may have a point with regards to Internet censorship being an all-too-slippery slope.
However distasteful its views, the alt-right has smartly framed its battle in terms of “free speech.” This argument has currency elsewhere on the right, too. President Trump is fond of calling out Amazon, perhaps chiefly because of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ ownership of the Washington Post. Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said on his show earlier this month that “Google should be regulated like the public utility it is, to make sure it doesn’t further distort the free flow of information to the rest of us.” Former Trump aide and Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon has also argued that tech platforms should be regulated like utilities. Combined with Democrats making antitrust regulation a central tenet of their new policy platform, the internet’s gatekeepers could soon be put on notice as never before.

It would be hard not to spot the irony if one of the most significant threats to big tech’s monopolistic power ends up being caused by hate groups. Gab’s Sanduja believes that Apple and Google shutting out his company from their app marketplaces prevents it from accessing 70 to 75 percent of its potential U.S. market. Even if you agree with banning Gab, the power of a handful of companies to banish anyone from the internet should give you pause. And it is one reason why the arguments of alt-tech advocates may find more and more friendly ears in Silicon Valley, where many entrepreneurs increasingly worry they can’t compete.

It’s also hard not to see this conundrum as big tech’s fault from the start. In a way, the alt-right is calling out the essential tension of the major internet companies, which espouse “don’t be evil” philosophies and want to “bring the world closer together,” yet also owe their popularity (and profits) to an internet where seemingly anything goes, until they say it doesn’t. Banning Nazis may be a perfectly defensible stance, but given the inconsistent transparency and enforcement of community guidelines from tech companies, it also has the whiff of the arbitrary.

In a more plural market, Facebook and Google and GoDaddy would be just as free to boot odious ideologies—but they wouldn’t face the same accusations of speech suppression, because places like Daily Stormer would have more places to go for their social-networking and domain-hosting needs. The early ideal of the internet was that of a great commons where all kinds of diverse opinions could be shared, where people could come to understand each other and to be convinced of new, challenging ideas. That particular utopian wish list may have always been naïve, but the notion that an open internet should not be controlled by a small group of corporations beholden only to shareholders continues to hold sway for a reason. Facebook was only ever supposed to be part of the public commons; the walled garden was never meant to subsume it.

Which may be why Gab and its Free Speech Tech Alliance has gained the trust of Nazis but can also invoke the rhetoric of left-wing antitrusters—well, to a point. “If Google and Apple are straight-up corporations for their political sides, they should openly declare their discriminatory behavior. They should be proud of it,” said Gab’s Sanduja. “They should not be mendacious and talk about change and be different. Stop engaging in sophistry. Come out to us as the major SJW platforms you are.”
The funny thing was that they really wanted to talk to Gab's Torba, not Sanduja. Because, of course, Sanduja didn't fit the original intended Narrative of Alt-Tech being nothing but white supremacist Nazis.

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Unemployment is a state of mind

Crew commented, correctly, on the fact that many managers and executives are unwilling to hire people who are unemployed. Their reasoning is pretty straightforward: if you were any good, then surely in this time of near-universal incompetence, you would have a job.

And, let's face it, more often than not, they are correct on the average, even if that is not true in the case of the special, highly skilled snowflake that all of the unemployed readers of this blog indubitably are.

This is nothing new. It has been this way for at least 25 years. So, one can either cry and complain about the situation, or one can accept it and figure out a way to utilize it to one's advantage. Utilize it? Yes, precisely. Allow me to explain.

20-something years ago, one of my best friends was fired from the small, but elite law firm where he worked, because he had too tender a conscience to simply invent billable hours out of nothing, as they required of their associates. He spent over a year fruitlessly applying to various law firms around the city and got absolutely nowhere, as he ran into the same "if you don't already have a job, we don't want you" problem that presently plagues so many unemployed individuals today.

I advised him to get a job, any job at all, even if it was sweeping floors at a fast-food restaurant. When he asked, puzzled, how that would help him find a job as a lawyer, I told him that as a small business owner, if I see a lawyer who is willing to get his hands dirty and do whatever he needs to do in order to get by, that's exactly the guy I want working for me.

So, still somewhat dubious, he took my advice. He got a job at CompUSA selling computers, mostly because he wanted to be able to talk computers on par with the rest of our social circle. Within six months, he was the store's best expert on computers, and had become the go-to guy for all the other salespeople. He continued interviewing, to little avail, until a year after taking the CompUSA job, he interviewed with a growing technology consulting company. His legal background was unexceptional compared to all the other candidates, but they were blown away by his in-depth knowledge of computers, particularly when he was able to point out some strategic mistakes they were risking on the basis of their failure to understand where the consumer market was headed.

They were also impressed when they asked him about his strange resume, and he had a ready answer for them. He explained that after being let go, he had plenty of free time on his hands and figured that it was a good idea to get paid to learn something new.

He got the job. Then, when their company was bought by a much larger competitor, the acquiring company was so impressed with his performance in the negotiations and the contract-writing that they not only hired him, but named him the successor to their outgoing lead attorney. Following a second acquisition by an even bigger competitor, he was made a director and the head of the legal department of a $1.5 billion corporation.

Don't quit. Don't cry. Don't complain. Do something, anything. Volunteer for an Open Source project. Become the volunteer IT guy at a local organization. Get a job doing anything. All of these things not only create the possibility of new opportunities, but send a very strong message that you are a professionally ruthless doer who isn't afraid to work and is reliably going to get the job done.

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Change or fall behind

Snidely Whiplash fails to understand why he's not employed. Crew, who is not only of the Silicon Valley hiring class, but is the #2 Techstar and a member of the Infogalactic Star Council, is unable to set him straight.
Bob: The companies who try to move don't succeed. They can't convince their employees to move with them, and they can't find the people they need in other locations.

Crew: I think this is not true. What you have in Silicon Valley is enormous numbers of H1Bs, some of whom have been laid off in the latest layoff rounds but they vary greatly in quality and putting together a good team can be very difficult.

Crew: Certainly, where I am we need people but we cannot find them and we are in the heart of Silicon Valley, so we do without and things just take longer to do. And the real problem is finding people who know how to balance short-term business needs (implementing what the customer wants to get their business) with longer-term company needs (doing it in a way that is supportable over the long term and doesn't paint you into a corner.)

Crew: Despite that I still find time to work on Infogalactic and a couple of open source software projects. The reality is that people don't go for those who have been laid off in most cases. Personally, I would prefer to employ Americans ... but Silicon Valley has driven many of them out ...

Snidely: And with pathetic attitudes like that, you're helping to drive them out.

Jack: You still looking Snidely?

Snidely Whiplash: Sadly, yes, Jack. White, laid off, and over 50. Crew up there won't hire me, no matter my skills or experience, because he's an idiot.
I suggest that Snidely's difficulty has less to do with his skills, his experience, or Crew's purported idiocy than his personality. I'm not at all surprised to hear that he's unemployed. He complains that Crew wouldn't hire him, but I wouldn't be inclined to hire him either. It's one thing to not play particularly well with others, it's another thing altogether to pride yourself on your complete inability to do so; even his self-selected moniker is an indication of misplaced pride. It's not an accident that someone who elects to call himself "snide" reliably goes out of his way to say unnecessarily negative things about almost everything and everyone.

Snidely, that's your main challenge. Not anti-American discrimination in tech. The moment I hear that negative, superior tone in a man's voice, I immediately cross him off the list, whether he's a programmer, an artist, or a writer. Sure, he may be directing it at something we mutually despise now, but I know perfectly well he's going to be directing it at a co-worker, at the project, or at me before long. My experience has taught that such individuals never prove to be worth their downside, no matter how talented they are.

I'll give you an example of that negative communication style right in that same thread.

This is how a normal person expresses his opinion: "Hey, it would be great if you would release audio-only versions of the videos. I would prefer to listen to those."

That is a helpful, positive way to express an opinion. It's a good idea too. Why not be sure to release the videos in podcast form or make them otherwise available for audio download? I expect we will do just that.

Now, this is how Snidely communicated the same idea: "One thing I would encourage, as it's probably a make-or-break for me, is to have just the audio portion. Frankly, you're not that attractive, and both my money and my bandwidth are limited."

Same idea, different delivery, and it inspires an entirely different reaction: What the Hell? Fuck that guy! One has to read it twice to even register what the relevant opinion is, so distracting is the negativity.

There are three problems in just two sentences. First, the tone is heavily negative (make-or-break, frankly, not that attractive, limited). Second, he twice tries to make the entire subject about him when it isn't. Third, he insults my appearance, and even worse, he does it without any need to do so in order to make his case. It's just egregious. Now, I could not care less what some 50-something man happens to think about my appearance, but that sort of comment is not going to go over at all well with the average individual who is vain enough to be making videos.

So, Snidely, why would you EVER say anything like that? You didn't need to justify your preference for audio over video, because I was openly asking for everyone's opinions. And why are you whining and complaining about who Crew hires or doesn't hire? You not only haven't given him any reason to consider hiring you other than empty public posturing, you've given him excellent cause to not even accept you as a volunteer for any of the high-profile projects he manages. That's not intelligent. That's self-sabotage.

Now, I understand that this is a very challenging labor environment. It's stressful for everyone. Even those with seemingly secure jobs know that they could lose them at any time due to an untimely comment overheard by the wrong person, a corporate acquisition, or a corporate move. One friend of mine, long self-employed, was convinced by his wife to take a great job offer at one of the strongest, most successful Fortune 50 technology companies in the world, in the interest of stability. He was even assigned to a mission-critical project. I would have sworn he had some of the best job security on the planet.

Nine months later, the CEO announced that the corporation was shutting down all its activities in my friend's state. Since my friend was mission-critical, he was given the opportunity to uproot his family and move across the country to a place they knew no one. He wisely declined. So much for stability and job security.

The point is that in this environment, you have to continually up your game. And whether your weakness is on the skills side, the experience side, or the personality side, you have to shore it up. As I mentioned in last night's Darkstream, video was never my medium. It still isn't my preferred one, but I have upped my video game, and I am going to continue to increase it because that is what I have to do if I am going to be at all relevant to the 90 percent of the population that is post-literate.

The times always change. We can either change with them or we can fall behind.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Mailvox: of scraps and subscriptions

An email today from a sane man who finds himself caught up in a crazy world:
I want you to know I appreciate what you are doing. I'm in tech and the number of pozzed out SJW folks I interact with on a daily basis in that capacity is nearly unbearable. It feels like fully 1/5 - 1/4th of all articles, blog posts, and podcast episodes I see out there on most feeds are identity politics bullshit these days. There seems to be an overbearing need for virtue signalling from guys that make six figures and can't get an attractive girlfriend. It goes all the way up to a number of well-known blogger/podcasters who should have their lives together, based on the amount of income they bring in, but yet continue to white knight for fairly dubious (aka, low value) scraps of female attention.

I must also relate a story. I recently had dinner with a silicon valley startup dude (I say "dude", because he was allegedly a founder, but not particularly successful) regarding the possibility of Silicon Valley startups outsourcing to other parts of the US (particularly the deep south and rust belt). I pointed out that low ping times, similar timezones and laws, and better optics around outsourcing might eventually make the numbers work well enough for at least some companies to try it out. It was at this point that I was subjected to an extended rant about how his company would never do that as (summarized) "we don't want to hire people who are going to be bringing racism into the office and wanting to take time off in the fall to duck hunt and f#$% their sisters". This individual stated this, loudly, in front of numerous witnesses without a hint of fear of consequences. It is this sort of behavior and the cucking I described in the previous paragraph that makes me believe that the alt-tech revolt is just getting started - I know dozens already who are hopping mad about this sort of thing and I send them to your blog. I certainly am motivated to help grease the skids for it.
That is a great observation on the driving force behind Silicon Valley virtue-signaling, and it indicates that it is going to be possible to red-pill some of the seeming SJWs. They are operating on a false paradigm, and moreover, they have to, on some level, know it. I mean, it just isn't working for them, is it.

But regardless, the Alt-Tech revolt is just getting started. We've set the Voxiversity launch date to September 11th, the Alt-Patronstarter site is already fully functional, and I'm putting the subscriptions together now. There will be six levels of monthly subscriptions, from $5 to $500, and while I have most of the rewards identified, I'm interested in hearing additional ideas from those of you intending to support this foray into video production.

The Alt Hero kickstarter will be launched two weeks after Voxiversity. It will not be a subscription, just a straightforward fund-or-kill 30-day campaign.

Share your thoughts.

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Google's gold, Google's rules

I don't know why anyone expected it to be any different. Google is paying for results, not research:
The New America Foundation has received more than $21 million from Google; its parent company’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt; and his family’s foundation since the think tank’s founding in 1999. That money helped to establish New America as an elite voice in policy debates on the American left.

But not long after one of New America’s scholars posted a statement on the think tank’s website praising the European Union’s penalty against Google, Mr. Schmidt, who had chaired New America until 2016, communicated his displeasure with the statement to the group’s president, Anne-Marie Slaughter, according to the scholar.

The statement disappeared from New America’s website, only to be reposted without explanation a few hours later. But word of Mr. Schmidt’s displeasure rippled through New America, which employs more than 200 people, including dozens of researchers, writers and scholars, most of whom work in sleek Washington offices where the main conference room is called the “Eric Schmidt Ideas Lab.” The episode left some people concerned that Google intended to discontinue funding, while others worried whether the think tank could truly be independent if it had to worry about offending its donors.

Those worries seemed to be substantiated a couple of days later, when Ms. Slaughter summoned the scholar who wrote the critical statement, Barry Lynn, to her office. He ran a New America initiative called Open Markets that has led a growing chorus of liberal criticism of the market dominance of telecom and tech giants, including Google, which is now part of a larger corporate entity known as Alphabet, for which Mr. Schmidt serves as executive chairman.

Ms. Slaughter told Mr. Lynn that “the time has come for Open Markets and New America to part ways,” according to an email from Ms. Slaughter to Mr. Lynn. The email suggested that the entire Open Markets team — nearly 10 full-time employees and unpaid fellows — would be exiled from New America.

While she asserted in the email, which was reviewed by The New York Times, that the decision was “in no way based on the content of your work,” Ms. Slaughter accused Mr. Lynn of “imperiling the institution as a whole.”
Now we have Fake Funding to go with Fake News, Fake Traffic, and Fake Ads. I don't have any problem with Google expecting the people it funds to obey them and sing from Google's songbook, only with the pretense that things were ever going to be otherwise.

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Compression and decompression

The producers of A Game of Thrones learned the wrong lessons from George Martin's mistakes:
Too often over the last three seasons—particularly since “Hardhome” in season five, when the series began to chart its own course—the show’s secondary characters and plots have seemed lost. Game of Thrones just doesn’t have time for anyone who isn’t Jon, Daenerys, or the Night King anymore. The show has shed George R.R. Martin’s most frustrating tics, which ultimately weighed his story down: his insistence on meticulous world-building, on resisting deus ex machina resolutions, and on subverting fantasy tropes. But in racing toward the end—in giving fans the resolution they have demanded—Game of Thrones has over-learned from Martin’s mistakes, taking the story too far in the other direction.

Paradoxically, the show has also become grander, more ambitious than any television series before it. Season seven was cut to only seven episodes, as opposed to the ordinary ten, presumably to pay for all the action. Its showrunners needed money for its first naval battle, a dragon assault on the Lannister army, round two between Jon and the Night King, and, most spectacularly, an undead dragon taking down an 8,000-year-old magic wall made of ice. But for all of their scope and masterful aesthetic execution (particularly in the case of the horribly named “Loot Train Battle”), these scenes all lacked the punch of “Hardhome,” when Jon first confronts the Night King and the show’s stakes at long last come into view.

This is because they were in keeping with the show’s post-“Hardhome” modus operandi: moving pieces around to prepare for a final sprint to the finish. The naval battle at the beginning of season seven served to eliminate the Sand Snakes (who never worked anyway) and kick into gear Theon’s redemption arc (which was then ignored for the next several episodes). The assault on Casterly Rock came about for no other reason than to even the odds by taking the Unsullied out of the picture, though they reappeared in the finale with no explanation.

Most egregiously, the “Frozen Lake Battle” (also horribly named) was necessitated by a plan to capture a wight that made absolutely no sense at all. The reason for its existence was to neatly get things done, in this case to give the Night King a dragon and to provide an excuse for finally bringing all the show’s far-flung characters together. As well-executed as many of these plot developments were, they never arose naturally from the show’s characters—instead they were imposed by the show’s writers, who are suddenly very pressed for time....

The show’s other standouts have been largely abandoned or turned into secondary figures, including the Starks. The culmination of the Littlefinger plot was thrilling, but overall it was narrative thumb-twiddling, a way to take a character off the board while giving something for Arya and Sansa to do while Jon was away.

The sad truth is that this is probably where the novels are going as well. Martin has concocted many of his characters to buy time for his primary story. It is Martin’s great strength that so many of them—including a number who never made it into the show—are so rich and real, but they too are ultimately extraneous to the main plot revolving around Jon and Dany.
Although I am contemptuous of George Martin as an individual, and although I am increasingly confident that ARTS OF DARK AND LIGHT will eventually be seen by most fans of epic fantasy to be considerably superior to A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE once both series are finished, I continue to look on the books and the HBO series alike as a tremendous learning experience, if not an irreplaceable one.

The truth is that I'm grateful to Martin for the various mistakes he has made. Without the tedious debacle that was A Dance with Dragons, I never would have even thought about daring to begin my own epic fantasy. And without his spiraling out of control thanks to the introduction of 13 new perspective characters, bringing him to a total of 22 in one book, I would never have learned the importance of keeping them under such tight discipline. Without his foolish decision to go back and untie the Mereen Knot, I would not have grasped the importance of allowing the greater story to flow naturally, and not getting caught up in always explaining exactly what happened to whom.

Here is what most readers, even most writers, simply don't realize. Writing epic fantasy is very difficult. I would estimate that it's about 5x more difficult than writing a novel of normal size, not counting the extra time required to account for the additional length. Not only that, but periodically publishing large books is the exact opposite of what a writer should do if he wants to maximize his book sales in the current environment. So, most writers simply cannot write epic fantasy, and even if they happen to possess the ability, they can't afford to do so.

Then factor in the fact that several of those who have actually written epic fantasy have done so in the form of cheap Tolkien knockoffs, which provide no useful lessons to the aspiring epic writer, and perhaps you'll understand why I appreciate the chance to learn from GRRM in real time. Here is how I rank the writers of epic fantasy:
  1. JRR Tolkien
  2. Stephen Donaldson (Covenant)
  3. Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman (Dragonlance Legends)
  4. David Eddings (Belgariad)
  5. Glen Cook
  6. Steven Erikson
  7. Raymond Feist
  8. George RR Martin
  9. Joe Abercrombie
  10. CS Friedman
  11. Tad Williams
  12. Daniel Abraham
  13. Brandon Sanderson
  14. R. Scott Bakker
  15. Melanie Rawn
  16. Terry Brooks
  17. Peter Brett
  18. Mark Lawrence
  19. Robert Jordan
  20. Terry Goodkind
  21. Christopher Paolini
Obviously, your mileage may vary, as may what you consider to be "epic fantasy". I would have Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander, Tanith Lee, and Anne McCaffrey all ranked above Dragonlance, but their work is better categorized in other categories. It's rather amusing to see how many "best epic fantasy" lists feature works with descriptions that begin "okay, it's not actually epic fantasy, but [insert other sub-genre here]|.

I don't know where AODAL will end up once it is complete. Towards the top, I hope. But there is only one way to find out, and that is to finish Vols. II through V.

UPDATE: as you would expect, the clueless mediocrities at File 770 don't even understand what Epic Fantasy is and is not, nor do they realize that the Dragonlance Legends and the Belgariad merit recognition for their authors in themselves, even though the Dragonlance Chronicles, the DeathGate Cycle, and the Malloreon do not merit similar respect. It's about peak series achievement, not average.

If you're not an author of epic fantasy yourself, you may not realize what Weis & Hickman and Eddings accomplished and somehow managed to make look so easy. I tend to doubt it is a coincidence that they are some of the only epic fantasy authors who were actually able to put together legitimate second and third attempts, even though they were considerably less successful in doing so.

I would be willing to entertain the possibility that David Gemmell belongs on this list. I'd probably rank him somewhere between Glen Cook and Raymond Feist if he did. None of the other authors I saw mentioned there merit inclusion, with the possible exception of NK Jemisin, who would fit below Jordan and above Paolini.

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#BoycottCampingWorld

A Fake American businessman, the CEO of Camping World, does not want Trump-supporting customers:
Marcus Lemonis: If you’re OK with what Trump said, don’t shop at my business

"There's no doubt that there is probably not many consumers in this country today that are in favor of what has been said in the last couple days and if they are, quite frankly, don't shop at my business," said Lemonis, who is CEO of Camping World and host of CNBC's "The Profit."

In a chaotic Tuesday news conference, Trump appeared to equate torch-bearing white nationalists with the protesters who demonstrated against them. Trump's statements led to a wave of CEO resignations from his advisory councils and on Wednesday, Trump abruptly dissolved the councils. Trump's announcement came shortly after a member of the Strategic and Policy Forum told CNBC the group had decided to disband.

Lemonis told "Power Lunch" he is "horrified" by what he's been hearing and seeing from this administration.

He said it's important that CEOs speak for themselves as individuals on policy and also speak for their companies as it relates to policy that affects their businesses. However, they should be very careful, he said. "I'm concerned about certain CEOs dancing on the fence, fearing retaliation or fearing something. It's scary right now," Lemonis said.
Now that #BoycottCampingWorld is trending, the Fake American born in Lebanon quickly retreated and apologized, only not really. It's a pathetic piece of groveling pity theatre in which Lemonis attempts to simultaneously mitigate the damage to his company while continuing to virtue-signal. If the Camping World board has any sense of self-preservation at all, it will demand his resignation before the end of the week.
When I came to this country as an infant I had no idea what would be in store for me. A place where most get a chance to succeed. With a loving family and a ton of luck I was given my shot. Now the road wasn't as easy as some think. I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth but I was more fortunate than others in the sense of having two great parents, a roof, always food and clothing and provided a good education. During those years I had my own internal struggle like most do. Struggles that are kept secret in some cases and others than are out for all to see. As a kid, I was bullied. Now that doesn't make me special or require any special privilege but it does stick with you. As I grew up I knew I needed to be someone and do something. It was the only way I could prove to myself and others that I was worth more than they thought of me but quite frankly needed for my own mental health. I am much more insecure than people know. I get depressed, sad, scared etc. but who cares we all do.

Over the last 15 years I have been blessed to be part of building a business with people that believed in me. Something new for me. I was given a chance to build something that I could leave as a lasting legacy. Even though I started experiencing success, I never quite felt fulfilled. It's not about the money. I felt like I needed to do more, to contribute more. Thru those years I made mistakes. A lot of them. Struggled with personal relationships, mistreated friends, etc. I suppose that's human but I couldn't understand why. The last five years I spent my time working on my business but also dedicated my life to small business. It was a way for me to help the underdog. I never did it for the money or the attention but rather to fill a void. I felt like I had to do it to payback a place that gave me a break. I made plenty of mistakes during this process as well. Trusted people who I shouldn't have, made deals I shouldn't have and sometimes did it for the wrong reason. But who cares, we all make mistakes.

Over the last year I have, or at least I thought had, really grown. It's funny but in my mind, I had grown up. I felt like I needed to consider how serious things got around here. Everything became intense and confrontational. Skin started to thicken, tensions started to rise and heels dug in. I suppose it's more of a protective measure for me and probably others as well. Now in this moment no one person was to blame for this. I started having sensory overload. I'm sure over the last year I felt the need to be more careful, be less trusting and I maybe didn't even know it was happening. You watch tv and everyone is arguing. Yes, everyone. You drive in your car and everyone is aggressive. And mistakes are made. As a child being bullied didn't make me different or special it made me more sensitive, more forgiving, more focused and helping.

As I continued over the last several months to read, listen and observe I noticed that my conviction was weakening. I felt like I needed to just accept the way things are and move on. Which felt like a mistake. If you have noticed I have said mistake a bunch of times and I'm sure there are typos and grammar mistakes all over this free form written document. Sometimes those mistakes come out of my mouth. The mistake I made in the last week was not being clear. Do I wish that there was more speed of clarity and conviction around the violence? Yes Do I think that hate and violence has taken over everywhere? Yes

 Do I think one person is to blame? No Do I think that there are two sides to every story? Yes While I stand strong on my position that violence, hate, bigotry is unacceptable from anyone regardless of what side you are on and that all of us need to be accountable, only I am accountable for my actions.

Last week I gave my opinion on what had happened. I made the mistake of letting my fear and emotion talk about subjects that I shouldn't have. As the CEO of a business, I am responsible to take care of the people that work there. I opened my mouth and put them in harm’s way. While I know, that the headline published was taken out of context and I have to live with that.  There should have never been a headline and I gave a chance to live.

My apology is sincere. It is to my employees who have been forced to deal with this. I am nothing without you. I am here to serve, guide and protect you. I will work harder. Please forgive me. Please don't punish them. I apologize to anyone who has supported their cause, their political preference, their candidate, their beliefs. I was Not raised this way and have always been taught to respect everyone. This is a free county and my fears shouldn't be projected on anyone. I am asking for your forgiveness. I should have not disrespected that and will not again. I apologize to the people who have followed my show for years and have said they have learned so much and are inspired, who now say that have been let down and will never trust me again.

I DO NOT apologize to anyone who is in favor or hate, violence, bigotry or racism. And I will do my part to help eliminate it from both sides. One way I do that is by being an example. You are the reason I made this mistake. You took my common sense away and purpose. I will not let you beat me or beat me down. I am a man of conviction. Most of the time it's what people like about me. In this case it's quite the opposite. I have not written this because I worry about what it means to me financially, because that's normally the response I hear when I say I'm sorry. I have written this because I know what has been my purpose up to now, which is to help people and I want to be able to continue that. People make mistakes. Obviously, this past week I'm the poster child.
They will complain, of course, that we are taking their words out of context. That's really too bad. But the principle of fair play dictates that both sides are allowed to play by the same rules.


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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Starbucks is not the answer

Sadly, it turns out that putting a coffee shop and an art gallery on the corner is not the ticket to economic revitalization:
One of the most influential thinkers about cities in postwar America, wants you to know that he got almost everything about cities wrong.

If you live in an urban center in North America, the United Kingdom, or Australia, you are living in Richard Florida’s world. Fifteen years ago, he argued that an influx of what he called the “creative classes” — artists, hipsters, tech workers — were sparking economic growth in places like the Bay Area. Their tolerance, flexibility, and eccentricity dissolved the rigid structures of industrial production and replaced them with the kinds of workplaces and neighborhoods that attracted more young people and, importantly, more investment.

His observations quickly formed the basis of a set of breezy technical solutions. If decaying cities wanted to survive, they had to open cool bars, shabby-chic coffee shops, and art venues that attract young, educated, and tolerant residents. Eventually, the mysterious alchemy of the creative economy would build a new and prosperous urban core.

Today, even Florida recognizes that he was wrong. The rise of the creative class in places like New York, London, and San Francisco created economic growth only for the already rich, displacing the poor and working classes. The problems that once plagued inner cities have moved to the suburbs.

To make his case for the creative class, Florida subjected it to strange quantifications. Combining census data on occupation, education, “coolness factor” (based on the number of young people and the quality of “nightlife and culture”) and, bizarrely, the number of gay male residents, he developed a “Bohemia Index” to calculate this group’s magical effect on urban economic growth.

Florida reassures readers that all human beings are fundamentally creative animals, but only a third of us can make a living that way. The creative classes — to which you may, unknowingly, belong — include journalists, college professors, tech workers, graphic designers, and artists of any kind: basically anyone not working in the repetitious and decidedly uncreative manufacturing or service sectors.

The “creative classes” both diagnosed the present state of cities and offered recommendations for future action. Along with Jane Jacobs, Richard Florida has served as an inspiration for mayors, developers, and planners who pedestrianized streets, built bike lanes, and courted cultural attractions like art galleries and theaters.
So, as it turns out, entertainment is not the core of the economy. Someone had better let Disney know the bad news. I suspect they'll need to come up with some other metric that serves as a more accurate proxy for race.

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A disappointment

‘Game Of Thrones’ Audience Disappointed By Season Finale’s Bland, Uninspired Incest

Criticizing the show’s reluctance to explore new creative ground, Game Of Thrones fans reported being disappointed Sunday by the bland, uninspired incest in the HBO drama’s season finale.

“You’d think this far into the show’s run they’d have found some new angles on incestuous relationships, but this was just more of the same, by-the-numbers intercourse between blood relatives we’ve seen before,” said local viewer Jaime Cohn, echoing the views of thousands of fans who complained about the series’ increasingly derivative depiction of sexual relations between siblings and other family members. “In the early seasons, it felt like the show’s creators weren’t afraid to take risks on fresh ideas like incest involving twins or even between multiple generations of the same family, but since then it hasn’t really progressed at all. By this point, they should be experimenting with things like group sex with identical quadruplets, but it’s pretty obvious that the writers are just on autopilot now.” 

Despite their disappointment with the episode’s lackluster incest, fans almost unanimously agreed that the show’s latest season had staked out bold new territory in terms of narrative implausibility.

As for myself, I was a little shocked. There has been no rape at all this entire season. Which would seem impossible for A Game of Thrones, until you recall that the series has passed the material from George RR Martin's novels. But I'm sure Martin will rectify this shocking and uncharacteristic omission when he finally gets around to writing the novelization of the TV series based on his previous novels.

There is still a long way to go, but I have to admit that I am increasingly confident that ARTS OF DARK AND LIGHT will eventually come to be seen as superior epic fantasy in comparison to A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.

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The Terrible Cowardice

This is a guest post from an occasional contributor who prefers to remain anonymous. Please don't assume that he speaks for me or that I necessarily agree with any or all of his various assertions and conclusions.

The Terrible Cowardice of the Left

I grew up in England.

I came of age as the Spice Girls were soaring to the top of the hit parade.  ‘I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want’ echoed from every bedroom.  Girls strode around proclaiming the new age of GIRL POWER, boys insisted - unconvincingly  - that they only listened to the Spice Girls for the music.  It was the dawn of a whole new age.

Well, actually it wasn't.  But we thought it was.

There was a girl at my school who I’ll call Jane.  She was one of the blessed, as far as looks were concerned.  I don’t think there was a single boy who didn't lust after her.  A smile from her could brighten up your whole day.  She would have been a cheerleader, if we’d had cheerleaders.

There was also a boy who I’ll call Kevin.  He was a nerd.  Spotty, glasses, slightly overweight, maybe not the ugliest boy in the school, but certainly in the bottom ten.  He was the kind of person whose mere existence attracted bullies. I’d known him since I was a child, but we’d never really been friends. People who stood too close to him got bullied too.

So one day, Kevin takes it into his head to ask Jane - yes, JANE - out.  I’d never thought he had it in him. I never dared ask her out. But he did it.

Jane gaped at him, let out an incredulous laugh and told him, in no uncertain terms, that she wouldn’t go out with him if he was the last person on Earth.  She ripped him a whole new one.  Kevin staggered off, looking as though someone had punched him in the head.  Boys laughed, glad that they hadn't been the target of her wrath; girls laughed and chatted about Girl Power.  Jane’s victory would have made her the most popular girl in the class if she hadn't already held that title. I imagine Kevin wanted to blink out of existence and die. But he had to keep coming into school for the remaining year. People were rubbing salt into his wounds until we left for university.

There was another person  in this little story.  Gaston - believe me, the name fits - was a football player.  He was handsome, muscular, and had a habit of playing cruel jokes on his victims.  He was the jock’s jock.  He’d once thought it was amusing to shove my head down the toilet, then yank down my trousers when I tried to escape.  He was popular because students preferred to have him on their side than against them. It won’t surprise you to hear that Gaston started to date Jane in our final year of school.

A few weeks before we left the building for the last time, we were in the gym for our regular torture session.  Jane was wearing a skirt an inch or two above the knee, drawing all of our eyes.  And then Gaston takes it into his head to flip her skirt up, exposing her underwear.  We all saw.

Jane let out a nervous little laugh and brushed her skirt back down.

I can imagine just how humiliated she must have felt, at that moment.  If I - a boy - hated having my bottom exposed, it must have been far worse for her.  Everyone had been looking at her bum.  I expected her to tear into Gaston with all the vitriol she’d hurled at Kevin.  Girl Power, you know?

She didn’t, of course.  She tried to pass it off as a joke, but I could tell she was upset.

But why didn't she light into Gaston?  Why didn't she dump his ass on the spot?

She was scared.  Kevin might have been a boy, but he was no threat to her.  There were plenty of girls who could have beaten him up, in that school.  Gaston could have broken her effortlessly.  He’d beaten me up, once or twice.  No one wanted to get on his bad side, even if it meant accepting public humiliation.  She let him get away with it.

No one else tried to stop him either.  Gaston committed blatant sexual assault and got away with it.  And who could blame them?  The teachers had very little power to discipline their charges.  None of the boys or girls wanted to make an enemy of him ...

I have no idea what happened to any of them, after I left school.  And I don’t really care.

A brave man or woman is someone who stands up to great odds, accepting the risk of serious injury, or even death, in the name of their cause.  Sometimes, this is as simple as standing up in front of an angry crowd and speaking the truth; sometimes, it is as complex as multi-leveled combat operations.  Many on the Left say that they are brave, that they are putting everything on the line.  But is that actually true?

It is easy to stand up to someone as puny as Kevin.  Jane was in no danger.  Even if Kevin was strong enough to hurt her, I have no doubt that all the boys would have piled onto him before he could do real harm.  We didn't have virtue-signalling in those days, but we certainly did have white knighting.  Gaston?  It’s a great deal harder to stand up to someone so strong, so popular, so entrenched as the good guy that it would be difficult to undermine him.

The thing I’ve noticed about the Left these days is that it is largely composed of cowards.

Pretend, for the moment, that you’re a feminist.  You believe, very firmly, that women should have equal rights to men.  You may even believe that women are superior to men.  So tell me, why aren't you protesting the migrant crisis in Europe?  Why aren’t you standing up for the rights of Muslim women?  Why do you not see Radical Islam as a threat to your very existence?

One possible answer, of course, is that feminists are more concerned with problems closer to home.  (Which ignores the fact that this problem is moving increasingly closer to home.)  But another is far darker.  Feminists are scared.  Western men do not, in general, have a habit of beating or shooting women who defy them.  And those who do are not regarded as heroes by the rest of the male population.  But Islamists?  Radical Muslims regard feminism - the radical notion that women are human beings, as Marie Shear put it - as poison.  They do NOT regard women as human beings.

This problem is deeper than you might suppose.  A person raised in a different culture might have very different ideas about the way the world works than yourself.  The idea that a woman who doesn’t cover herself from head to toe is just asking for it is horrific, as far as I am concerned, but that doesn’t mean that migrants don’t have that opinion.  And the idea that they are going to instantly change, the moment they set foot in the West, is laughable.

All the concepts we take for granted, that a woman can say ‘no,’ that underage children are not to be touched, are not graven in stone.  They’re cultural norms that have become part of our lives so much that it is hard to believe that others don’t share them.  But they don't.

Or pretend that you’re a homosexual.  Conservatives may dislike homosexuals, but radical Muslims throw homosexuals off buildings.  Which one of these is the true threat to homosexuals?  Why aren't homosexuals protesting migrants?

Because they’re scared.

On one level, the political elites in both Europe and America managed to declare discussions about immigration taboo.  This had the effect, for better or worse, of pushing such matters into the hands of the far-right.  But it also made it impossible for feminists or homosexuals or other liberal groups to oppose immigration without being branded racists or worse.  And while a person from the Right may shrug off the charge of racism, a person from the Left would take it far more seriously.  The Descending Hierarchy of Victimhood puts Muslims below feminists and homosexuals, thus providing cover for anything they do to anyone above them.  Anyone who challenges Muslims is ‘punching down.’

But on another level, people who question radical Muslims, people who oppose them, are threatened, attacked and sometimes killed.  This is a very real problem.  Feminists and homosexuals and leftists in general are scared of being hurt and killed.  And who could blame them?  No one is immune to fear.  It is difficult to muster the bravery to fight back when you know that everyone will side against you, that  authority, however defined, will not protect you.  Instead, they choose to deny reality and attack people who can’t - who won’t - hit back.

The Left has long since cast aside its ability to make moral judgments.  It is incapable of understanding that a person who has had a bad upbringing - or whatever - still needs to suffer the consequences of their actions.  Instead, it has created a situation where real threats are ignored and imaginary threats are blown out of all proportion.  Few on the left dare to oppose it for fear of being smeared by the ‘racist’ brush.  And it has betrayed its own people.

The good thing about this is that more and more people are becoming aware that the emperor has no clothes.  The bad thing about this is that a great many innocent people, feminists and homosexuals and everything else, will suffer for the Left’s cowardice in the face of the true enemy.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

It appears diplomacy failed

North Korea fires a missile over Japan:
North Korea has fired a missile that passed over northern Japan today. The government's J-Alert text message warning system advised people in the area to take precautions and move to a 'sturdy building or basement'.

The Japanese military did not attempt to shoot down the missile, which passed over Japanese territory around 6.06am local time. It broke into three pieces off the coast of Hokkaido and landed in the Pacific Ocean, around 700 miles east of Cape Erimo, after travelling 1,700m in eight minutes. It is the first time North Korea has fired a projectile over Japan since 2009.

The launch, from Pyongyang, comes after Seoul's National Intelligence Service (NIS) told South Korean lawmakers at a closed door parliamentary session that it has detected signs of the secretive state preparing for another nuclear test at its Punggye-ri underground test site.
How fortunate that the USA has pledged to send more troops to Afghanistan. That should totally help, especially given the fact that the Navy is on stand-down due to its demonstrated inability to avoid deadly, high-speed cargo ships.

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How SJWs react to defeat

An attempt to converge Node.js was successfully beaten back. But the SJWs who attacked it aren't giving up.
After years of battling a string of systematic failures of governance and leadership, the Node.js community, one of the largest collectives of software developers on the internet, reached a breaking point.

Node.js steers the ship for the powerful open-source web technology. It's relied on by dozens of Fortune 500 companies, like Microsoft, Netflix, and PayPal, for their critical infrastructure and core operations.

Its stable governance isn't just necessary for the businesses that rely on it, but also the core community that develops and advanced the widely-used technology.

But Monday saw a stream of resignations, one after the other throughout the day from Node.js' technical steering committee (TSC), a group that manages the day-to-day governance for the Node.js project. A third of the committee had quit their positions by the end of the day, including its first woman member. Three of the resigned members said they will stay on the core technical committee (CTC), which oversees the project's core collaborators and code contributors. One person has left the project entirely....

The community's reliance on a code of conduct acts as the de facto HR department for the project, which lets participants and members contribute while treating others with respect. It's meant to ensure a workplace free from harassment and unacceptable behavior, while promoting sharing of ideas in a constructive way, and to foster community growth.

But that code of conduct, as Kapke pointed out, doesn't allow the stifling of free speech or marginalizing of people's views or opinions that might be disagreed with. It's designed to bring together a diverse range of people from different cultures, beliefs, genders, and backgrounds from across the world to work on a project and be treated fairly -- a core value of any global collaborative open source project.

"There's better value in having diversity than having some individual have the free speech that would work against others," he said.

That toxic culture in Node.js' governance has led to an inclusivity problem.

Williams' began an inclusivity group of about a dozen people, an initiative aimed at ensuring fairness for everyone who wants to contribute to the community. The group eventually disbanded, accusing the leadership of "continued derailment" and opposition to proposals that the group argued would make the community more cohesive.

All the women and non-binary people left the group, as did several men, following the disbandment last August. Many have decided to leave the Node.js community altogether.

"Driving away contributors can be fatal in the open source world where most developers are essentially using their free time and volunteering to contribute," said Rudolf Olah, a web developer, in a blog post. "It is already difficult enough to attract contributors to smaller projects, and larger projects, such as Node.js, need to be careful to make all contributors feel welcome," he said.
Note that they left the "inclusivity group" immediately after their attempt to unseat a former director from the steering committe failed. Now they're switching tactics, attempting to create pressure from outside, while at the same time trying - again - to fork the project.
Moments after the failed leadership vote, Kat Marchán pushed the button that created Ayo.js, a new open-source project forked from Node.js. Ayo.js -- a hat-tip to the Io.js (pronounced the same) project that forked from Node.js three years ago over a similar disenchantment over the software's stewardship under its founding company Joyent -- was born this week.

Days old, it's already got a dozen developers and over a hundred people involved on the project's chat platform, said Marchán.
Of course, the SJW fork is going to fail - again - because people who are diverse and inclusive aren't capable of running projects without the straight white males they disdain. If they could, they wouldn't have to use codes of conduct, inclusivity groups, and trust & safety councils to take over existing projects.

The steering committee really needs to clean house and encourage all the SJWs to move over to the fork as quickly as possible.

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Fake Ads

As Facebook has already been caught multiple times, Google has been caught faking ad traffic:
The WSJ is reporting that Google is issuing refunds to advertisers over "fake traffic," and are now working on new safeguards against the issue.

Google’s refunds amount to only a fraction of the total ad spending served to invalid traffic, which has left some advertising executives unsatisfied, the people familiar with the situation said. Google has offered to repay its “platform fee,” which ad buyers said typically ranges from about 7% to 10% of the total ad buy.

The company says this is appropriate, because it doesn’t control the rest of the money. Typically, advertisers use DoubleClick Bid Manager to target audiences across vast numbers of websites in seconds by connecting to dozens of online ad exchanges, marketplaces that connect buyers and publishers through real-time auctions.

As we at Adland have argued for years now, digital paid media is a fraud due to the many incidents of fake traffic, bots, and the smoke and mirrors that blind the less tech savvy clients. Last year, Russian bots earned 180 million by fake-watching ads all over the Google empire.

Google has participated in efforts to clean up the digital market, joining the industry initiative Ads.txt project launched back in May by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. They're hoping to bring trust back into the digital ecosystem. But in the arms race between consumers who use ad blockers and ad networks making ads unblockable, unskippable and even more intrusive, the consumers are staying one step ahead. More importantly with each new fraud brought to light and the hundreds of millions wasted, it's hard to believe clients take Google at face value much longer. Advertisers are finally figuring out that this is a house of cards, built by pretty graphs in slick interfaces that look great on paper but in reality does very little to drive sales.

Google's latest crisis comes at the same time that it is removing content creators from the ability to monetize their content, policing Youtube like never before. Google's policing doesn't end there, however. In Professor Jordan Peterson's case, they banned him from his entire account, including mail and calendar.

Bloomberg reports that Google has just begun their biggest crackdown on "extremist content"

The new restrictions, which target what Walker called "inflammatory religious or supremacist content," are expected to hit a small fraction of videos, according to person familiar with the company. YouTube says it uploads over 400 hours of video a minute. Videos tagged by its new policy won’t be able to run ads or have comments posted, and won’t appear in any recommended lists on the video site. A warning screen will also appear before the videos, which will not be able to play when embedded on external websites. YouTube will let video creators contest the restrictions through an appeals process, a spokeswoman said.

If the appeals process is anything like what Adland encountered, then it will be labyrinthian, time-consuming and arbitrary. The only reason we were un-banned from Adsense the first time around, was because we knew someone who knew someone that worked at Google in Ireland. These days, the only replies we get are automatic. Adland.tv the domain has even been delisted from Google search completely, which we managed to fix, and we're currently being heavily deranked for no apparent reason. Or perhaps these articles are the reason.

In dealing with international brand boycott of Google advertising, and cleaning house so that they no longer fund terrorism by running pre-roll Super Bowl ads on ISIS videos, Google is now again apologising and "tweaking" their system.
The ad economy is increasingly a) monopolistic and b) fraudulent. I have never used AdSense or Facebook ads because I have never seen any indication whatsoever that they are effective or reliable. I did try using BookBub four times, but after they rejected both A THRONE OF BONES as well as Jerry Pournelle's THERE WILL BE WAR for ad campaigns, I stopped using them.

What I have found to be effective is a) this blog, b) Larry Correia's book bombs, c) the Amazon giveaways, and d) the two mailing lists. In other words, direct marketing. Indirect marketing, be it advertising in magazines or the various social media ad schemes, only appear to benefit the owner of the advertising vehicle rather than the advertiser.

Notice that YouTube still puts ads on videos it has demonetized. Such as those produced by Ron Paul.
Former US Congressman Ron Paul has joined a growing list of independent political journalists and commentators who’re being economically punished by YouTube despite producing videos that routinely receive hundreds of thousands of views. In a tweet published Saturday, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange tweeted a screenshot of Paul’s “Liberty Report” page showing that his videos had been labeled “not suitable” for all advertisers by YouTube's content arbiters.

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Intelligence and communication

Normal: Eh, it was fine.
Midwit: 1,500-word monologue reiterating the Mary Sue article that said the comic book was better.
High: 3,000-word dissertation on the technical details.
VHIQ: Eh, it was fine.
UHIQ: What movie?

I can explain the latter process:
  1. The movie ends.
  2. Think about X scene or character.
  3. Think about how something like that might be useful in the book I am currently writing, or less frequently, thinking about the possibility of writing someday.
  4. Start mentally writing the dialogue or playing through the action sequence.
  5. Upon completion, think about what implications that little vignette will have for previous or subsequent scenes. Mentally note the more significant ones.
  6. Lights go on.
  7. Debate whether it would make sense to write the scene down upon returning home, or simply file it away mentally for later in the hopes that I actually recall it at some point. Regardless of what is decided, it is always mentally filed away for later. There is perhaps a 5 percent chance it will ever cross my mind again.
  8. Suddenly recall a previous idea that had been filed away for later, but never recollected. Consider whether it would have utility in the current book or not, then remember that the book for which the idea is applicable was published five years ago. Mentally shrug. 
  9. Everyone stands up. Spacebunny says, "did you like the movie?"
  10. "What movie?" "The. One. We. Just. Saw." The latter statement is usually accompanied by an eyeroll and eyelid flutter that is less a gesture of contempt and more one indicative of seriously questioning her life choices.

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dragon Award last week

Last chance to register and vote in the 2017 Dragon Awards is this week. The Finalist ballot is here, and the registration signup is here.

My own A SEA OF SKULLS is a finalist in the Best Fantasy Novel category.

From a #DailyMemeWars subscriber:

Once again your "MEME of the Week" email subscription paid off:  I opened her up the other day and downloaded A Throne of Bones and A Sea of Skulls for free.  Two books that I was planning on reading for September.  I've been reading the first novel on this bus, and it's fantastic. Combined with the free download, this guarantees that I will be making a more probing choice to make a purchase from Castalia House.  Brilliant marketing idea on your part, or whoever suggested it.

This is literally the ONLY useful email list that I've ever subscribed too.

Just thought you would like to know that your promotion style is making it real easy for people like me to become customers.  Also, the writing is great too.

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"Police have disappeared"

From Twitter:

"Police have completely disappeared from #Berkeley. People getting beaten up. Red flags being waved in the air."

This is a surprise? Again? Really?

What part of "when seconds count, the police are 20 minutes away" failed to register with gun-owning conservatives?

Observations:
  1. The police have ZERO responsibility to protect you. None. This is settled case law. Never, ever, count on police protection from anything.
  2. The police work for the local mayor. The local mayor's political allegiances dictate how the police will be utilized.
  3. This marks the third time - at least - that police protection has been proffered and then withdrawn.
  4. Street rallies serve no positive purpose, although they can be effectively used to demonstrate a) the politicization of the police as well as b) the violent lawlessness of the Alt-Left.

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Happy Birthday, GamerGate



The ride that never ends. #GamerGate #NotYourShield #GGinParis

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Bake the damn cake

Instapundit observes that the Kennedy Ministry's case against the SPLC may have interesting implications for Amazon:
BAKE MY CAKE OR SUFFER THE PENALTIES: As Ed Driscoll reported yesterday, the D. James Kennedy Ministry is suing SPLC, GuideStar, and Amazon over “Hate” labeling. I’ve had a chance to go through the Complaint, and my view is the defamation claims may have enough merit to proceed, the Trademark claims are weak, but the most interesting thing — and what may be the most impacting aspect of this suit — is the claim under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 4 2000(a), which the Plaintiffs point out:

“Because the Amazon Defendants are operating a public accommodation(s), it is a violation of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically 42 U.S.C. § 2000(a), for the Amazon Defendants to deny the Ministry the privileges and advantages of the AmazonSmile program on the basis of the Ministry’s religion and the beliefs that are inherent to that religion.”

Now here’s where it gets interesting. If the Commerce Clause gives government the authority to trump a businessman’s personal beliefs, even if couched as a First Amendment expression, then the same logic that requires Christian fundamentalists to bake “gay” wedding cakes against their beliefs ought to mean that Amazon has no right to deprive the Ministry of a public accommodation because they “don’t like” that Church’s view on gay marriage.

I’m betting if Amazon doesn’t settle, that this issue is headed to the Eleventh Circuit, and maybe even SCOTUS. This is right in Justice Gorsuch‘s wheelhouse. Stay tuned.
It occurs to me that the Big Tech Left is handing the Right a golden opportunity for profitable lawfare. Whereas it might have been difficult before to argue that one has been materially harmed by defamation when falsely labeled a "Nazi" or a "White Supremacist", the demonetization and deplatforming of various "Nazis" and "White Supremacists" is putting a material price tag on those labels.

If you're a licensed attorney in the USA, the UK, or Australia, and you're interested in helping out those who are being defamed in this manner, shoot me an email. It would appear to be an increasingly target-rich environment.

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It's not that bad

And it's really not that hard to figure out, either.
The concept of communication range was established by Leta Hollingworth. It is +/- 2 standard deviations (roughly 30 points) up or down on one’s own IQ. It denotes the range where meaningful interaction (communication, discussion, conversation and socializing) is possible. If the IQ difference between two persons is more than 30 points, the communication breaks up. The higher IQ person will look like an incomprehensible nerd and the lower IQ as a moronic dullard - and they will not find anything common.

+/- 30 points does not sound much, but once the IQ is past 135, the downsides are imminent. When someone has a perfectly mediocre IQ (100 for Caucasian average), his communication range is from IQ 70 to IQ 130, which covers some 98% of the whole population. But when it is 135, it is from 105 to 165, which is approximately 36% of population. And it gets worse: if it is 162, your whole meaningful set of human interactions is restricted to Mensa qualifying people only (2% of whole population). Good luck for finding friends, acquaintances, colleagues - or spouse.

And it gets worse.

When the average IQ of a group is lower than the lower end of your communication range, the group will see you as a hostile outsider. They will do anything to bully you out of their presence. They will ostracize, excommunicate and oust you amongst themselves.

Sorry, but this is basic human psychology. Human group dynamics dictates that when the diversity grows too big, the group becomes incooperable - the group interaction becomes impossible. And high IQ means exactly that.

You may say that nobody must left behind and that mobbing and bullying is nasty and unacceptable, but our biology dictates otherwise. Exclusion is the basis for co-operation. A group which does not exclude people differing from the norm off or otherwise eliminate their presence, becomes dysfunctional.

Let me put this bluntly: every single human being with IQ of 135+ has experienced this exclusion, ousting and loneliness. The stereotype of a lonely genius does not come from empty air. It is cruel reality. And each and every human being with IQ of 135+ has experienced such unhappiness and misery the mediocre IQ people can not even imagine in their nightmares. I have cried my cubic metre of tears.

And this issue - that unhappiness is due to loneliness and the loneliness is due to the communication range - is something very few high IQ people ever realize.
I suspect it is significant that this piece is written by a high IQ woman. It's not only harder for them to find friends, it is MUCH harder for them to find romance. A man is just as happy with a less intelligent woman as a more intelligent woman, whereas a woman is unlikely to want to settle for a less intelligent man, just as she's less inclined to settle for a shorter man.

I knew I was much more intelligent than the average from the age of four, but I had an even smarter friend from the age of five. So, while I certainly experienced my share of exclusion and ousting, I can't honestly say I ever experienced much in the way of loneliness. And frankly, very intelligent kids tend to be more than a little obnoxious as well as somewhat dishonest with themselves; it's fine if you decide to reject the way that people have settled on doing things, but then, you have to recognize that you are making a choice.

In that refusal to admit that they are making a choice, many a gamma male is made.

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Mailvox: whoop-de-damn-do

TB is concerned about the fact that I am being criticized:
Holy shit, Mike Enoch went off on VD on their podcast from yesterday. I came here expecting a response. Your move, Vox.
I'll pass, thanks. Mike has a right to say whatever he thinks of me. And I'm not interested in his opinion, least of all concerning a subject I know superlatively well. I see no need to listen to his criticism much less respond to it.

RD informed us that "the TRS guys were quite unhappy that you pointed out Spencer isn't of the Right."
In their latest podcast, TDS185 (which is paywalled), they spent from 1h:27m - 1h:44m railing against you (and Cernovich), as they feel betrayed.  They talk about how they respected your work, but that they believe you've turned on them since the unfortunate events in Charlottesville.

I can't help but kind of like those guys.  They're funny, and they have a lot of energy and have reached a lot of people. But Mike Enoch simply refuses to accept that their cock-up in Charlottesville provided a pretext for the current wave of literal iconoclasm and grave desecration.  And they really don't have a firm intellectual understanding of actual National Socialism and why it's defunct.

At the same time, they say they've accepted your advice that Nazi flags and so forth are bad optics, and must be avoided.  But they don't credit you with it.
The truth is what it is. This sort of "Jenny, did you hear what Billy said about Suzy" drama is of zero interest to me. I don't know what they said. I don't care what they said. I'm not attempting to curry favor with them or with anyone.

I've never been a movement guy. I don't play particularly well with others, in part because I simply try to do what I think is right at the time. I don't worry at all about what X is going to think about my opinion of Y. I stand by my friends, not because I agree with them or I believe their ideology to be flawless, but because they are my friends. That may not be enough for you, but it's enough for me.

Also, I would point out that I have been the object of considerably more criticism than I have meted out. I'm not offering that as an excuse or a reason because it is neither; the criticism was merited regardless of the source. But I do think it suffices to dismiss the idea that I have betrayed anyone.

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Overheard

At the post-dinner table:

Vox: The expression on the face of someone coming out of a Japanese toilet is 40 percent "I think I've just been raped", 40 percent "I've never felt this clean in my life", and 20 percent "I'm not sure if I liked that or not."

Lucy: That sounds like my average Saturday night.

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Sebastian Gorka resigns

Another MAGA figure leaves the Trump administration:
Sebastian Gorka, the brusque national security aide to President Donald Trump, reportedly resigned his post as deputy assistant to the president late Friday.

The Federalist reports Gorka wrote a scathing resignation letter that sharply criticized the president’s newly unveiled strategy for the war in Afghanistan, and savaging White House rivals who he claims oppose the Trump agenda.

“[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House,” Gorka wrote. “As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People’s House.”

“Regrettably, outside of yourself, the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will ‘Make America Great Again,’ have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months.”
It's disappointing to see Trump surrounded by the same sort of anti-American politicos that made up the bulk of the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama administrations. But - and I cannot stress this enough - do not make the mistake of counting the God-Emperor out. Things are not always as they seem, and like Chesty Puller, Trump is at his best when he is surrounded by his enemies.

They can't get away from him now.

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Why they spy

The Dark Triad Man explains the nature of government power, and why the techno-corporate state has erected the panopticon, in an excerpt from The Nine Laws:
Men rarely understand the nature of military power in the hands of governments.

The idiot believes that it is there to protect him, to enforce justice.

The common man thinks that it is used according to the law, sheltered within the principles of the culture.

The wise man assumes that human beings are fallible and their choices often self-serving; that the best interests and plans often reluctantly settle into the expedient and the tawdry.

The Dark Triad Man knows the truth:

State power is the tool of men with ruthless ambition, remorseless intention and brutal capacity who do not hesitate to shed blood, hide graves and rewrite history in their favor.

Concealment of capacity is among the most crucial components of freedom. For freedom exists in the dark world within a fearsome gradient, between the polarities of anarchy and totalitarianism, and at every spot between them the shade is merely a different hue of blood.

Thus concealment of plans from the organs of the State is vital to the preservation of freedom.

Concealment of networks from the agents of the State is the hypervigilant task of the insurgent.

Concealment of physical power from the intelligence of the State is the fearsome task of free men.

Do not trust the ruling power.

The ruling power always has more resources, more intelligence, more ruthlessness and more cruelty than you can imagine. And your survival depends upon concealment until the moment of decision.

The fool believes that his vote is a determining factor in the policies of the State.

The common man thinks that parties and coalitions and alliances represent his interests.

The wise man assumes that history and culture place boundaries on the system, which rights itself.

The Dark Triad Man accepts the truth: There is always a Caesar waiting with grim and immortal ambition, nestled in the heart of the nation, who seeks to rise to total power and views blood and atrocity and horror as mere laurels of valid drama upon his entitled brow.
Americans have been fortunate in the relatively mild nature of their ruling elite, which generously embraced the principle of noblesse oblige. But that elite has changed greatly in the last 60 years, and has largely abandoned that principle, which means Americans are unlikely to remain so fortunate for long.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

A presidential pardon

President Trump Pardons Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Today, President Donald J. Trump granted a Presidential pardon to Joe Arpaio, former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Arpaio's life and career, which began at the age of 18 when he enlisted in the military after the outbreak of the Korean War, exemplify selfless public service. After serving in the Army, Arpaio became a police officer in Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas NV and later served as a Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), formerly the Bureau of Narcotics. After 25 years of admirable service, Arpaio went on to lead the DEA's branch in Arizona.

In 1992, the problems facing his community pulled Arpaio out of retirement to return to law enforcement. He ran and won a campaign to become Sheriff of Maricopa County. Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio confirmed his life's work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.
Good on the God-Emperor. This sends an important signal to the pro-American movement.

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What say you, supporters

I like to think that I know my own supporters' minds better than the average individual, but I could be wrong. What say you?
Vikfield‏ @vikfield
This was a really bad idea. You are dividing the right by forcing this meme. Please re-think this.

Supreme Dark Lord‏ @voxday
You can't divide the Right by pointing out who is not, and has never been, of the Right. We tried this with the neocons, remember?

Vikfield‏ @vikfield  55m55 minutes ago
Btw, check out the RT and Like stats on this Meme vs your other #DailyMemeWars What you are doing is not popular with your own people

Supreme Dark Lord‏ @voxday
It wasn't popular when I predicted the 2008 financial crisis either. I don't give a quantum rat's ass about popularity. I never have.

Vikfield‏ @vikfield
I'm not talking about popularity with the masses but within your own supporters. What you are doing is illogical and we can see that.
Vikfield is a genuine supporter of two years duration. So, I'm willing to hear him out and at least entertain the possibility that his assertion is correct. Here is the meme and the statistics compared to other recent #DailyMemeWars tweets. The tweet in question is italicized.


Aug 25:  9,747 Impressions, 152 Likes, 136 Retweets
Aug 24: 26,215 Impressions, 200 Likes, 143 Retweets
Aug 23: 21,539 Impressions, 271 Likes, 200 Retweets
Aug 22: 37,030 Impressions, 428 Likes, 305 Retweets

I have to admit, it's not a spectacularly successful meme - far too wordy and rather esoteric - but I think it would be stretching it somewhat to claim that it is "not popular" with my own people. I am not going to back down on anything I've said, but I'm quite willing to hear your opinions concerning my take on the Fake Right.

Speaking of which, you'd think they'd learn. But they never do.
Supreme Dark Lord @voxday
I don't do rallies. Or events. Or conventions. I reject all speaking invitations and I have for 16 years.

Jason Kessler‏ @TheMadDimension
Is that because of your stutter?

Supreme Dark Lord‏ @voxday
No, it's because of your face. Your soft, pasty-white, terrified face with tears running down it as a girl tackled you.

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The crackdown cometh

Google is amping up and automating its YouTube crackdown:
Starting on Thursday, Google will police YouTube like it never has before, adding warnings and disabling advertising on videos that the company determines crosses its new threshold for offensive content.

YouTube isn’t removing the selected videos, but is instead setting new restrictions on viewing, sharing and making money on them. A note detailing the changes will go to producers of the affected videos on Thursday, according to a spokeswoman for the Alphabet Inc. company.

Google outlined these moves in June, but the implementation comes as debate about extremism and political speech is front-and-center in the national spotlight -- and when tech giants like Google and Facebook Inc. face deeper scrutiny over how they moderate information distributed through their digital services.

"These videos will have less engagement and be harder to find," Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, wrote about the plans in a June blog post. "This strikes the right balance between free expression and access to information without promoting extremely offensive viewpoints." A Google spokeswoman declined to comment further on the changes.

The new restrictions, which target what Walker called "inflammatory religious or supremacist content," are expected to hit a small fraction of videos, according to person familiar with the company. YouTube says it uploads over 400 hours of video a minute. Videos tagged by its new policy won’t be able to run ads or have comments posted, and won’t appear in any recommended lists on the video site. A warning screen will also appear before the videos, which will not be able to play when embedded on external websites.
I've already seen reports that videos that even contain the word "SJW" in the video, not merely in the title or description, have been demonetized. So, it's not exactly hard to know which elements within Google are behind this.

So far, the saner elements are not prevailing.

This will, of course, have precisely zero effect on our plans for Voxiversity. We anticipated this and more.

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Winning the rhetorical battle

This successful memetic campaign is an object lesson to every dialectic speaker tempted to show off how smart and righteous he is by sperging about someone else's rhetorical sally.
Far-right activists are using fake Twitter accounts and images of battered women to smear anti-fascist groups in the US, an online investigation has revealed. The online campaign is using fake Antifa (an umbrella term for anti-fascist protestors) Twitter accounts to claim anti-fascists promote physically abusing women who support US President Donald Trump or white supremacy.

Researcher Eliot Higgins of website Bellingcat found evidence that the campaign is being orchestrated on internet messageboard 4Chan by far-right sympathisers.

One image shows the slogan "53% of white women voted for Trump, 53% of white women should look like this", above a photograph of a woman with a bruised and cut face and an anti-fascist symbol. The woman pictured is actually British actress Anna Friel and the photograph was taken for a Women's Aid anti-domestic violence campaign in 2007.

The images first started circulating on social media late on 23 August with hashtags #PunchNazis, #MakeRacistsAfraidAgain and #BashTheFash. Accounts appearing to belong to anti-fascist groups tweeted the memes, calling on activists to physically attack women who voted for Trump.
I retweeted one of the memes, which met with the following responses. First, from Antifa sympathizers crying foul, which is a sure sign of a meme's effectiveness.
Antifa LI‏ @RefuseFascismNY
its also fake. Notice how these battered women memes are ONLY showing up on alt-righty accounts? No attribution. Just a fake logo.

Far Right Watch‏ @Far_Right_Watch
Various US based Far Right Groups are creating both fake #AntiFa accounts and memes as their latest weapon. Few are fooled.

Taz Wake‏ @tazwake
If you have to fake an account to make your point, your point is probably wrong.

Patrick‏ @TrickFreee
Here's another Daily Stormer troll waging information warfare on the United States. Literal information warfare, no one doing anything.
Second, from dialectic-speaking spergs, who, despite more than 2,400 years of evidence to the contrary, continue to cling to the belief that "credibility" is the key to successful persuasion. Which, of course, is a little ironic, considering that the appeal to authority is a well-known logical fallacy. And it demonstrates, again, why dialectic-inclined spergs really need to learn to SHUT. THE. HELL. UP. when they happen to encounter rhetoric in the wild. You do not criticize a football coach's play-calling by appealing to the rules of baseball. It is a category error.
Spritz‏ @Halfamish
This is fake, from 4chan. They already do enough shit that we don't have to spread lies. That only weakens our credibility.

goth vampire daddy‏ @admirableism
you'd think having to straight up lie about the opposition would make one realize their cause is shit. and yet here we are
And third, from rhetoric speakers who grasp the brilliance of the 4chan campaign and the way that it simultaneously undermines Antifa's rhetoric as well as reframes them in a manner that most third parties will find incredibly distasteful.
Malt‏ @maltsphere
Confirmation for top tier memeing is when BBC write an article "exposing" it as a 4chan troll. Ignoring that this is what punch a nazi means

Jay 5.1@notjayfivekille
Replying to @voxday
This is a brilliant satire of Antifa and the savagery of alt-left politics.
Remember, the most effective rhetoric communicates truth without necessarily being literally truthful in the details. It persuades through emotion, not reason, which is why it cannot be analyzed in the same way as a logical syllogism. Today's #DailyMemeWars meme took the 4chan meme and went one level deeper, using nothing more than actual quotes from Antifa and Antifa-sympathetic media, for maximum memetic effect.

As always, we see that the Left is far better on the offensive than they are on defense. Which is why it is preferable for us to always seize the initiative and simply ignore their rhetorical attacks. The irony of people who constantly lie about their opponents complaining that they are not being portrayed accurately is significant, and is why their protests, even backed as they are by all the biggest media organs, are useless in the face of the rhetorical meme magic. And if you want to force-multiply these increasingly effective efforts, sign up for the Daily Meme Wars here.


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White supremacy starts early


Thank goodness the ACLU is there to fight the evil of white blond toddlers with American flags!

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Senior officials are why we can't have America back

The God-Emperor really needs to step up his White House-cleaning:
The same emphasis on tax cuts for the elite before immigration reform for voters was also cited by Axios on August 20, in an article which claimed to explain why top staff chose to stay in the White House amid elite hatred of his populist, wage-boosting, pro-American priorities. Axios reported:

We talked to a half dozen senior administration officials, who range from dismayed but certain to stay, to disgusted and likely soon to leave. They all work closely with Trump and his senior team so, of course, wouldn’t talk on the record. Instead, they agreed to let us distill their thinking/rationale:

“You have no idea how much crazy stuff we kill”: The most common response centers on the urgent importance of having smart, sane people around Trump to fight his worst impulses. If they weren’t there, they say, we would have a trade war with China, massive deportations, and a government shutdown to force construction of a Southern wall.

“General Mattis needs us”: Many talk about their reluctance to bolt on their friends and colleagues who are fighting the good fight to force better Trump behavior/decisions. They rightly point out that together, they have learned how to ignore Trump’s rhetoric and, at times, collectively steer him to more conventional policy responses.
Massive deportations, a government shutdown, and a big beautiful Wall? Sounds pretty damned good to me!

What is wrong, I wonder, with presidents who get elected on the basis of a few key issues, then allow themselves to get talked out of their campaign promises despite having seen how exactly the same process has never worked out for any previous president?

Deportations and a big border wall are what Americans want. The God-Emperor must listen to them, and not the elitist morons who supposedly work for him. If I were him, I'd fire every single senior administration official who advised against building the wall immediately.

He's a man who understands the importance of loyalty, but the flip side of rewarding loyalty is being unmerciless to the disloyal.

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Priming is confirmed fake science

It's sometimes a pity that science doesn't have a simple "that's obvious BS" card. Because I absolutely would have played it when the hypothesis of "priming" was not merely hypothesized, but asserted to be solid scientific fact:
In 2011, Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman published a popular book, “Thinking Fast and Slow”, about an important finding in social psychology.

In the same year, questions about the trustworthiness of social psychology were raised.  A Dutch social psychologist had fabricated data. Eventually over 50 of his articles would be retracted.  Another social psychologist published results that appeared to demonstrate the ability to foresee random future events (Bem, 2011). Few researchers believed these results and statistical analysis suggested that the results were not trustworthy (Francis, 2012; Schimmack, 2012).  Psychologists started to openly question the credibility of published results.

In the beginning of 2012, Doyen and colleagues published a failure to replicate a prominent study by John Bargh that was featured in Daniel Kahneman’s book.  A few month later, Daniel Kahneman distanced himself from Bargh’s research in an open email addressed to John Bargh (Young, 2012):

“As all of you know, of course, questions have been raised about the robustness of priming results…. your field is now the poster child for doubts about the integrity of psychological research… people have now attached a question mark to the field, and it is your responsibility to remove it… all I have personally at stake is that I recently wrote a book that emphasizes priming research as a new approach to the study of associative memory…Count me as a general believer… My reason for writing this letter is that I see a train wreck looming.”

Five years later, Kahneman’s concerns have been largely confirmed. Major studies in social priming research have failed to replicate and the replicability of results in social psychology is estimated to be only 25% (OSC, 2015).

Looking back, it is difficult to understand the uncritical acceptance of social priming as a fact.  In “Thinking Fast and Slow” Kahneman wrote “disbelief is not an option. The results are not made up, nor are they statistical flukes. You have no choice but to accept that the major conclusions of these studies are true.”

Yet, Kahneman could have seen the train wreck coming. In 1971, he co-authored an article about scientists’ “exaggerated confidence in the validity of conclusions based on small samples” (Tversky & Kahneman, 1971, p. 105).  Yet, many of the studies described in Kahneman’s book had small samples.  For example, Bargh’s priming study used only 30 undergraduate students to demonstrate the effect.
I pay very little attention to "studies show" science for this reason.

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Ghe sparemo

The Most Serene City is not screwing around:
Venice's right-wing mayor has ordered cops to shoot ANYONE who shouts 'Allahu Akbar' - rather than risk a terror attack . The phrase in Arabic for 'God is greatest' has been shouted in multiple terrorist incidents across the continent.

The Times reports that Italian mayor Luigi Brugnaro claimed that his city Venice was safer than Barcelona - where 14 people died being run down by a van last week.

Speaking at a conference in Rimini, north east Italy, he further revealed the extraordinary order he has given to armed police at one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe. Brugnaro was applauded by delegates when he said: “In contrast with Barcelona, where they had not set up protection, we keep our guard up.

“If anyone runs into St Mark’s Square shouting ‘Allahu Akhbar’, we will take him down. A year ago I said within four paces, now within three. I will say it in Venetian: ‘Ghe Sparemo’ (We will shoot him)."
This may mark the official beginning of Reconquista 2.0. Now, they'll give the invaders a chance to behave and keep their mouths shut. It won't be too terribly long before the policy will be to shoot on sight.

Cloudflare and Google should take note. THIS is what a sensible restriction on free speech looks like.

And this is a man who should be the next Prime Minister of Italy.

"We also need a naval blockade against people coming into Italy from north Africa."
- Luigi Brugnaro

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Preserving ISIS

This is utter insanity. A strategic white paper by "a veteran authority on the Arab-Israeli conflict and strategic developments in the Mideast and expert on Israeli strategic doctrine" argues for saving the monstrous Islamic State.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The West should seek the further weakening of Islamic State, but not its destruction. A weak but functioning IS can undermine the appeal of the caliphate among radical Muslims; keep bad actors focused on one another rather than on Western targets; and hamper Iran’s quest for regional hegemony.

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently gathered defense ministers from allied nations to plan what officials hope will be the decisive stage in the campaign to eradicate the Islamic State (IS) organization. This is a strategic mistake.

IS, a radical Islamist group, has killed thousands of people since it declared an Islamic caliphate in June 2014, with the Syrian city of Raqqa as its de facto capital. It captured tremendous international attention by swiftly conquering large swaths of land and by releasing gruesome pictures of beheadings and other means of execution.

But IS is primarily successful where there is a political void. Although the offensives in Syria and Iraq showed IS’s tactical capabilities, they were directed against failed states with weakened militaries. On occasions when the poorly trained IS troops have met well-organized opposition, even that of non-state entities like the Kurdish militias, the group’s performance has been less convincing. When greater military pressure was applied and Turkish support dwindled, IS went into retreat.

It is true that IS has ignited immense passion among many young and frustrated Muslims all over the world, and the caliphate idea holds great appeal among believers. But the relevant question is what can IS do, particularly in its current situation? The terrorist activities for which it recently took responsibility were perpetrated mostly by lone wolves who declared their allegiance to IS; they were not directed from Raqqa. On its own, IS is capable of only limited damage.

A weak IS is, counterintuitively, preferable to a destroyed IS. IS is a magnet for radicalized Muslims in countries throughout the world. These volunteers are easier targets to identify, saving intelligence work. They acquire destructive skills in the fields of Syria and Iraq that are of undoubted concern if they return home, but some of them acquire shaheed status while still away – a blessing for their home countries. If IS is fully defeated, more of these people are likely to come home and cause trouble.

If IS loses control over its territory, the energies that went into protecting and governing a state will be directed toward organizing more terrorist attacks beyond its borders. The collapse of IS will produce a terrorist diaspora that might further radicalize Muslim immigrants in the West. Most counter-terrorism agencies understand this danger. Prolonging the life of IS probably assures the deaths of more Muslim extremists at the hands of other bad guys in the Middle East, and is likely to spare the West several terrorist attacks.
This is utter madness and lends support to the idea that ISIS was, if not an outright creation of a US-Israeli alliance, at least supported by both the United States and Israel. This is not realpolitik, or whatever its advocates might like to style it, it is hubris and dangerous lunacy.

These jokers claim to be expert strategists, and yet they reliably fail to predict even the most obvious events. And their advice is reliably terrible.

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