Thursday, December 31, 2020

Covid Survivor

 After all the hype, all the fear mongering, it was a little less than the dud we expected if we were among the symptomatic. Of course it COULD have killed us as we were REGULARLY reminded even though we very rarely turn on any media. Couple days of 102ish fever, a "tired week" ... not "bedridden" by any means, some strange taste effects. Nothing special but the hype. I've believed very little that is "settled truth" according to our "elites" for a LONG time. The Russia, Covid and "election" hoaxes haven't really changed anything for me ... just confirmed the flatline of "it's all a Davos / Deep State / MSM house of mirrors" that has increasingly been here for a few decades. 

The fake "election" finally convinced me to delete my Facebook account completely, and take another blessed step away from the fake "made for the sheeple" combination of media, government and corporate (but I repeat myself) "reality". We are told the number of "the deplorable beast", and it is 70 million ... but amazingly, more people than ever in history "voted" for a senile old coot and a woman who rose to "the top" with her ankles behind her ears. If you believe any of that, you likely think that fracking didn't lower gas prices. 

So much for "reality" in this vale of tears. As in every human age, this is another "age of faith" ... this time it is largely in the false god of government. 

My Covid summary was done in September, and there is really nothing to add. It remains "the flu", and AMAZINGLY (ha ha) it seems to have totally wiped out all other strains. Imagine that! An honest look at statistics shows that there never were any "excess deaths"

I've known that we are so manipulated by mass media that we have no idea of the extent of that manipulation for a long while. Fish don't realize they are wet. "We live in Ted Kennedy's world".

As often happens to me, an old pop song summarizes the unreality for me ... "I'm a Covid Survivor" ... but Marla is only my Homecoming Queen. 

The Modern Mind 

I agree with this summary from the linked: 

Unfortunately, for all the book's breadth, Watson's workmanlike approach has the feel of a handful of school assignments cobbled together from encyclopedia articles rather than of work drawn from years of thoughtful reflection and an intimate acquaintance with, and love of, ideas. (Mar. 9)

It is a book best thought of as a shallow encyclopedia that you could look into to find a tiny snippet of the thoughts of MANY thinkers of the 20th century.  As I got to towards the end and ran into thinkers that I was familiar with like Alan Bloom "The Closing Of the American Mind", I was struck with an old thought that I once had on "Consumer Reports" which I used to look at with relish. I realized that if I knew about something ... say cars, stereo, or computers, I TOTALLY disagreed with Consumer Reports! 

Why? Because CR was targeted at some "hypothetical average" ... NOT at the person who paid attention to the specifics of some product area. 

"Modern Mind" is kind of the same in that it assumes the standard of "science is the answer to life, the universe, and everything", "all is stuff (material)", religion is bunk, there is no such thing as "meaning, purpose, morality, etc" ... It does recognize that a most thinkers in the 20th century arrived at the conclusion that all that is true and that fact is damned depressing!

On page 772, it says "Evolution is the story of us all. Physics, chemistry, and biology are international in a way that literature, art, or religion can never be". 

Human mind blindness is the only true universal -- belief in evolution is not falsifiable, and therefore a religion, not science. Science can tell you how to build a nuke or a virus that kills all life -- it has nothing to say on if you "should". There is no should in science. 

So, the book is a reference to lots of "thought stuff", with a surprising amount of attention paid to art, poetry, and literature ... especially given it's conclusion that we just need to realize that we, and everything that "is", is just meaningless stuff. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Dementia, "You Know, The Thing"!

Pretty much as soon as Trump took office (maybe before), the MSM was all over "Trump has dementia!". 

Naturally, even after he aced a mental acuity test, the test was declared invalid, and although the charges became more muted, they didn't go away. 

Anyone that believes in an "unbiased media" will likely not see any difference in the treatment of Biden  -- at least not until they want to replace him with Kamala. 

General Flynn, Hatred As "Justice"

I have no doubt that many on the left would find "the Cromwell treatment" to be too good for Trump. 

His action (Sullivan's) in this case has long been controversial and was expressly criticized by appellate judges. It is not, however, unprecedented. Some 360 years ago in England, the body of Oliver Cromwell was exhumed from Westminster Abbey and posthumously chained, thrown into a pit, and then decapitated. Cromwell’s head was put on display and not reburied until 1960. By that measure, Sullivan’s three-year treatment of Flynn seems like a virtual “rocket docket” of justice.

There is absolutely no excuse for the treatment of General Flynn other than blind primitive hatred.  

In Wokistan, that form of hatred is the new "justice". 

Anna Karenina, Tolstoy

The opening line is quite familiar: "Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in it's own way". 

The last line, less famous, is a thought from Levin (one of the main characters) who has experienced something of an epiphany ... "I shall still be unable to to understand with my reason why I pray, and I shall go on praying; but my life now, my whole life apart from anything that can happen to me, every minute of it is no more meaningless, as it was before, but has the positive meaning of goodness, which I have the power to put into it." 

From a Christian perspective, his epiphany fell a bit short -- and there are some lines in the book that would indicate that at one level "he" (Tolstoy)  does know that he actually doesn't have the "power" -- meaning/purpose is a gift from God. 

I made it through it! It is pretty much a romance novel writ large. An easy summary of the book would be "adultery often doesn't work out well". (like one participant "takes a shot" at killing himself, and the other is more successful -- trains are effective! I'm certain that modern "progressive" moralists would argue that it was the rigid social rules that caused the derailment, however "if it feels good do it" as a moral foundation doesn't seem to be working out that well either based on depression, suicide rates and addiction. 

One reason that the book is revered is the EXTENSIVE and DETAILED interior thoughts of the characters. Having read one romance novel early in my marriage, and realizing that the alleged interior of the female mind was not likely to be of use to me (other than realizing"it's hopeless") , it does seem that Tolstoy had some insight into this terra incognita. (note my ability to extrapolate a "rule" from a SINGLE "Danielle Steele" book read 35 years ago) 

At least for me, a good deal of a tug -- but then I've always known I'm an uncultured lout!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Conspiracy, Leakers, Whistlebowers

The Democrat-Media complex definition of "conspiracy" is when a couple people say that some action the liberals don't like is being suggested from the right. Labels do matter! 

Hillary was quite vocal about the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" for years ... even post 2016. From the 2016 election on, we had various groups of people encouraging "faithless electors" to vote for Hillary even though they were pledged to Trump based on the results of the election. Not to mention 25th Amendment pushes, "Not my president", etc, etc. It was more than enough to make "conspiracy" and "crying wolf" everyday phenomenon. Trump being elected was a "crisis" for the left from day 1. 

This fall, "489 security leaders" claimed Trump was "unfit for office". Democrats started talking Impeachment in the summer of 2017 while the baseless Mueller witch hunt was in progress. Does "Crossfire Hurricane", started before Trump was even elected, and done in secret, rise to the level of "conspiracy"? I'm certain it would if the shoe was on the other foot. 

My understanding is that military officers still swear an oath to defend "the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic". In the era where Freedom of Religion can only get at 5-4 decision in the SCOTUS, do we really have a "constitution" at all? When massive voter fraud is ignored, and even attempts to ferret it out are criticized as "undemocratic", why would anyone not in league with the Democrat-MSM-Deep State "trust an election" again?  When your opponent doesn't accept the results of an election, you don't live in a "democracy", and certainly not a Republic for which we used to even stand. 

When the Democrat-Media-Deep State complex fights any attempt at voter ID or other ways to insure election integrity are fought tooth and nail. When the powers of the intelligence community and the "justice" department are used to attempt removal of the legitimately elected president -- when is the duty of the military to defend the Constitution against domestic enemies? 

At a minimum, anyone that calls themselves "america" needs to understand where the following quote comes from, why it was made, and what resulted from it. 

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Six courageous states is a good start

Swalwell, Leaker vs Whistle Blower

The Democrat/MSM complex is highly skilled in "spin" ... from the subtle to the very obvious. 

Again, I can’t talk too much about the details of the case even though others may have violated their oath I’m not going to violate mine, but the Axios story made it absolutely clear that no information was ever shared, except, Jim, the people who did share classified information were the people who leaked this story. And to do that against a critic of the president, they may think that they’re going to silence me. They are not going to silence me but what they are going to do is they are going to make others think twice when they are asked to sit down and provide defensive information about people like this.

The Democrat/MSM complex is a lesson in mendacity. If this came out against a Republican, the "Whistleblower" would be a courageous saint"!

Imagine living in a country where supposed "law enforcement" organizations spy on political opponents and then attempt to prosecute them.

That is the "country" (lawless territory" that "live" (masked and locked down) in. 

Chuck Yeager Passes

The passing of a great man and pilot after a long life well lived. I loved his autobiography that I read and owned in paperback and I sincerely hope did not get "pruned" in our move from Rochester. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

VDH: The Scars of 2020

VDH is always good -- he has predicted this for a long time, as have I. Neither he nor I predicted it would be a largely fake "pandemic" (not the virus, but the response to the virus) that lit the fuse, but so it was. 

Well worth your time, my favorite paragraph: 

In other words, as is the case in former Third World countries, America’s criminal justice system became warped. Now there was good and bad looting, permissible and outlawed arson, correct and incorrect resisting of arrest, and quarantine-violating mass rallying and mass rallying that is exempt from lockdowns. Carving out a swath of autonomy for rioters and looters in downtown Seattle proved legal; had a row of restaurants and bars done the same to be allowed to serve the people, they would have been fined, closed, and likely jailed.

For the left, "They may be criminals, but they are OUR criminals"! 

After The Trust Is Gone

As I continue my reading of Anna Karenina, the issue of "trust" looms large. Prince Stepan "Stiva" Arkadyevich Oblonsky is the classic middle aged husband, tired of his wife, having an affair with a younger woman. Once the affair is discovered, the wife's (Princess Darya "Dolly" Alexandrovna Oblonskaya) trust in the marriage  is gone, but in the interest of the children, and her being convinced by others that "this is just how it is", the damaged marriage goes on. 

This is the outcome the Democrats are hoping the nation is willing to accept. Much like Hillary with Bill, even after years of known affairs, "other considerations" (power) demand the lie be continued. The 1960 election was handled this way ... the fraud was accepted as "the way things have to be". For Republicans, the acceptance of cheating is a mix of a desire for stability, greed for their investments, and of course wishful thinking that "maybe it isn't as bad as we know it is ... we still have a country". Accepting Original Sin, and the hope of God's intervention, makes us slow to anger. 

There is always a certain amount of fraud in human systems, as I blogged on in 2008 on the Madoff scandal in finance.   Galbraith called this "the Bezzle":

So, we have a crash, and when we have a crash, what John Kenneth Galbraith called "the Bezzle" comes out. Guys like Madoff (or Enron for that matter) and a whole bunch of others do GREAT as long as everything goes up. If things go down, the loss of the "shady billions" makes the bad situation worse much as it made the good situation SEEM better on the way up. The money Madoff "had" was double counted -- he claimed to have it, and all his investors thought they had it as well. Really, like the value of over inflated homes and stocks, it only existed as long as the confidence was there. That is why they call a lot of swindles "confidence games".

Now, the confidence is fast being unwound from the worldwide financial and business systems, and we have an incoming president that is a complete blank slate -- Bzero. Fed funds rate at zero, short term treasuries at zero -- how many zeros are we going to go for here?

In the world financial system, we "covered the Bezzle" with massive debt and largely hidden iflation, but that is a story for another day. 

Like the ongoing marital affair, or the Ponzi scheme, people "want to believe in what looks good to them". Even when it becomes obvious, even to themselves, they are afraid of what will happen if it "comes out", and they wishfully hope that will be "never".  In "Anna", Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin, Anna's husband is a great literary example of this -- ignoring the obvious, and then working hard to keep it from being known. 

Some of us lost confidence, or rather had complete confidence as Tolstoy did, that a core feature of humanity is wishful thinking coupled with our fallen mendacity, meaning we are always "flirting with disaster" on scales large and small. In this case, the future of our nation. 

So now we know. 

Republicans have been the witting and unwitting partners in the sham of American "elections" certainly since 1960, but really since long before -- Boss Tweed, Mayor Daley, and countless others. The faithless Democrats have maintained that "election fraud never happens" and fight  any attempts to insure that it didn't/doesn’t happen tooth and nail. In fact they continue to create new anenues for mail in “voting” to encourage it. The Bezzle is a core of their operation. Nobody really knows what will happen if/when the Beale comes out of the election system, but Democrats certainly fear what will happen, as they know it is there, and they know it is big. 

It desperately needs to be faced, even if that means a national divorce, war, a massive international crisis, or whatever "bad unknown". Like death, it is reality, and reality always wins. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Ellen/Elliot Page, Victor Victoria

What struck me — and I think a lot of people — about actress Ellen Page’s announcement that she was now a man named Elliot was the po-faced self-seriousness with which the media accepted the lunacy. She’s a man, but she’s queer, but she’s with a woman, because she’s a lesbian, only she’s a man lesbian. Right-ho! Let’s get to work changing the credits on her old films because this is leftism, after all, and history itself has to be erased and rewritten to reflect the current nonsense.

Got that? A gay woman, married to a woman has decided she is a man.  

It reminds me of 1982's "Victor Victoria" ... a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman. 

The decline and fall of the Roman Empire was really rather sane compared to our demise. 

Douthat does a more intellectual expose on our "Decadent Society" in his book, but Ellen/Elliot pretty much covers it ... if not. see pics below. The left is the "male" Pennsylvania health secretary, the right is Ellen/Elliott.

Thinking this is not serious? Increasingly. the trans folk are pushing to make "misgendering" a hate crime. How is that for serious? Consider that at least one site believes there are 33 genders.

So if the two above commit a crime, the left goes in with the girls and the right goes in with the guys. Hope "he" is tougher than "he" looks. 

Ah, the "woke" ... they are so intelligent that they can't figure out what bathroom to use. 

What Is Election Fraud Bringing ?

Is it the Apocalypse yet? "The Horror" is shocking and terrible, and it will be faced. 

The film is based on Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", a book form of what happens when the civilized meets the uncivilized. 

What really happens to man without the strictures of culture, order, religion, rules, morality?  Is it what Rousseau and Marx assert? "Heaven on Earth"? "The end of history"? No more wretched subjugation to civilization, God, morality - pure freedom and pure pleasure? The "triumph of the will"? 

That is what "the left" thinks they believe. The sad truth is that to the extent the left wins, the result is death, totalitarianism, power being the only coin of the realm, and "truth" doesn't get to speak at all until it defeats the "power" in battle. We are in that battle now. Ironically. we don't even really know our "left from our right"

We have been calling the darkness down since at least Roe. The small stack of tiny little inoculated arms hacked off referenced in the clip was enough to drive Colonel Kurtz to madness. Or was he enlightened to the reality of Vietnam? What price will be exacted for the killing of 60 million little lives at the twin altars of pleasure and convenience? 

As Lincoln said in his 2nd inaugural:

Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Is Colonel Kurtz  right that the civilized have no right to judge the elemental? Often times, when elemental self evident natural law arrives, much like "The Unforgiven", we may not like it that much.

We had a “Republic for which we stood”, now we have a Thugocracy. Will we stand?

“Good” Ideas Must Be Mandatory! Anna Karenina Today

The linked article is about mask shaming and its use to deny freedom of association. Trust me, at least in on strange mind, there is a relationship. 

The picture indicates to me that it is hard for a "normal male"  (evil in these "woke" times)  not to notice pretty women confident in their femininity. Are conservative women in general are more attractive? Kristi Noem comes to mind, but a glance at the winning Republican congresswomen this cycle seems to indicate something of a general rule.

Yes, I know there are many physically attractive leftist women, however it seems that often their physical attractiveness is overshadowed by their screeching demands for fealty to their political beliefs, which are  in direct opposition to their exploiting their physical beauty while declaring at least male appreciation of such to be sexist. The fake is inherently unattractive when exposed. 

I'm finally reading Anna Karenina. I read a lot, but very little fiction, and even less romance. Psychology, culture, and especially the interplay between our physical and spiritual nature, are however of significant interest, and in those areas, Anna just kept showing up as a "must read" - it is easy to see why. 

A paragraph that struck me is: 

Vronsky heard with pleasure this light-hearted prattle of a pretty woman, agreed with her, gave her half-joking counsel, and altogether dropped at once into the tone habitual to him in talking to such women. In his Petersburg world all people were divided into utterly opposed classes. One, the lower class, vulgar, stupid, and, above all, ridiculous people, who believe that one husband ought to live with the one wife whom he has lawfully married; that a girl should be innocent, a woman modest, and a man manly, self-controlled, and strong; that one ought to bring up one's children, earn one's bread, and pay one's debts; and various similar absurdities. This was the class of old-fashioned and ridiculous people. But there was another class of people, the real people. To this class they all belonged, and in it the great thing was to be elegant, generous, plucky, gay, to abandon oneself without a blush to every passion, and to laugh at everything else.

It appears that there is something like "human nature" that demands a class structure, and generally the pride/arrogance of the upper class.There can be the occasional just and moral king, but that is the exception.  There are similarities to the classes in Anna to the classes today. The lower class maps to at least the upper class imagination of the "deplorables". The upper class is much like today's "woke elite". The biggest difference is that the upper class  in 1878 Russia was not yet using the power of government to overtly oppress the lower class by removing their devotion to religion, morality, family and community, as the soon to come Communist party would quickly do. 

As I'm fond of saying as a computer scientist devoted to binary, "there are two classes, those who divide the world into two classes, and those who don't". 

In a more or less free and "natural" society people "sort" by a complex set of factors, some "good", some "bad" ... we won't go into that complexity here. The point is that it really isn't binary, there is lot more complexity than "two". 

As a culture shifts toward totalitarianism, it becomes more and more binary and the binary categories become  more and more mandatory -- as in the ideas that are declared to be "good" -- eg wearing/not wearing a mask, celebrating various sexual preferences, genders, etc, or not celebrating such, fealty to "The Party" (Democrat, globalist, woke, etc), or "deplorable", etc. 

The list goes on and becomes both more and more oppressive and foundational. Everything becomes political, and everything is mandatory -- thus in the mind of the oppressors, "good". 

"We are all in this together ... wear a mask".  


Friday, December 4, 2020

Does Starship Size Matter?

 Definitely worthy of being filed under complete waste of time -- better than watching MSM though! 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription

I returned to this book that  I had read but failed to review in 2014. I've always loved WFBs initials (same as mine) and have had to fight the sin of envy for his intellect, life experiences, friends (including Ronald Reagan, Art Buchwald, Charlton Heston, Tom Selleck and a host of others. 

As the linked review  points out, it is a good read. For me, it was a "wayback machine", igniting my first interest in conservative political thought as a counterpoint to the malaise of the Carter years. One of my early rather wordy blog entries here. (yes I used to be even MORE wordy, amazing though that seems). 

Mostly I just sat back and enjoyed the book for it's pleasure. I was struck by a great example of "fake thinking". On 232, Eric Alterman (still around as a professor at CUNY) proffers a completely fabricated supposed interchange between WFB and a "quivering college student" who asked "have you ever experienced" poverty? Alterman composed WFB's fictional reply: " Why yes, my yacht experienced an unfortunate shortage of stuffed goose recently between Nassau and the Bahamas". 

Buckleys reply is reason enough to read the book. For one thing, he doesn't know what "stuffed goose" tastes like ... if one is writing fiction as Alterman clearly was, it may as well have been Foie Gras!

Although fictional, I suspect the anecdote as likely been repeated so much that many, likely including Alterman believe it to be true. Somewhat like the fiction of Reagan sleeping staff meetings (why? He was the boss! Anybody that has experienced staff meetings knows that they are a great way to cure insomnia. When you are not the one in charge, you bear it best as you can. If you are ... "I just realized I need to be on an important call", we will take this up later". 

Reading the book caused me to hunt up
an old Firing Line ... both the book and the link are well worth your time. 

Ten Years For Ten Stitches

A young single female police officer gets 10 years for 10 ten stitches to a suspect because she "released her police dog early". The "incident" was 5 years previous, the FBI went after her after a WaPo article, and railroaded a conviction and ridiculously long sentence. 

Read it and weep. It is a testament to human courage that we have any police at all! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Eschatological Conservatism

The article advocates "Progressive Conservatism". The difficulty with that name is that it includes the term "progressivism", which is the belief that everything is getting "better" without defining "better",  nor stating the assumed mechanism by which this will happen - more centralized bureaucratic government tends to be the default. 

Words and labels DO matter "National Socialism" sounds much better than "Nazism", and "Socialism" sounds a lot better than "Fascism", which is actually what we have today. The link concludes with a rather weak statement of what progressive conservatism would be.  

Historically, Republicans have been the party of vertical nationalism, and Democrats the party of horizontal nationalism. That kind of nationalism they left to the Democrats, to people like FDR. What was remarkable about the 2016 Republican victory was that, almost for the first time, a presidential candidate ran on a platform that united the two strands of nationalism. 

If that’s what makes the progressive conservative progressive, he is also a conservative who thinks that the government should suppress riots forcefully, that the police are owed our presumptive support, and that nothing good was ever born out of anarchy. He thinks that we’re self-deceived about our goodness and that a sense of justified anger too often serves to excuse crimes. 
Eschatology is the study of end times. In Christianity it is the second coming of Christ in power. The Mises institute defines Communist eschatology as: 
Communism was the great goal, the vision, the desideratum ($5 word for "what is desired), the ultimate end that would make the sufferings of mankind throughout history worthwhile. History was the history of suffering, of class struggle, of the exploitation of man by man. In the same way as the return of the Messiah, in Christian theology, will put an end to history and establish a new heaven and a new earth, so the establishment of communism would put an end to human history.

Well not really the "end of human history" in either case. For Christianity, it means judgement day, where every knee shall bow to Christ, and the "sheep and the goats" will be separated. The sheep to everlasting peace and joy with God, the goats to everlasting torment without God, 

The Marxist "utopia" has a distinct sulfur smell to those who enjoy freedom, diversity of thought, private property, etc. Marx wasn't much of detail guy, but most of the visions of Communist utopia include abolishing private property,  abolishing "individualism" (because everything and everybody us "flattened/equal"),  all property is owned and controlled  by "the collective", and "From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs"

Why? Because Marxist faith is that human nature is basically good and Capitalism and religion have corrupted it. Once Atheism and Communism reign, then people will just "do the right thing" ... people will work and produce without any reward other than work itself ... and nobody will be jealous, lazy, etc

Historically, the results have been the opposite -- crime, oppression, poverty, disease, despair, etc,  As Churchill said "Communism/Socialism the equal sharing of miseries". Naturally, the Communists/Socialists say "it has never been done right". 

This has certainly proven true in the USSR, Cuba, Venezuela, N Korea, etc. China is marketed as an "exception", but is false advertising ... it is Fascist.

Fascism is the cooperation the of centralized big business/government control that allows carefully controlled profit, with totalitarian political control. The danger of Fascism is that well managed Fascism "keeps the trains running on time" -- sure, some of the trains may be going to the Gulag or gas chamber, but since all the guns have been confiscated, and the government is ruthless (step out of line and they kill you AND your family!) -- resistance is futile. 

So what might my dream of "Eschatological Conservatism" be?  

For starters, it is RESISTANCE! Right now, the 70 million or so of us that voted for Trump are being assimilated into what so far is relatively soft Fascism. We are being told it is to be a "time of healing" (they mean HEELING s... however as the lockdowns, mask mandates, continued disparagement of Trump voters and encouragement to turn in your neighbors if they fail to comply (Minnesota) show quite clearly, that "soft Fascism" has an alarming tendency to get harder. 

Arm yourself: 

Stop doing what you are "mandated" to do. If not now, when? Today you may get some dirty looks for not wearing a mask, and some criticism for going to church, but you ought to be able to see now how fast your "freedom" can be drained away. Are you going to get on the boxcars "for your own good" when they order you to? You will really not have a choice if you have no weapons. Are you going to stand by as they restrict your freedom bit by bit, and sometimes as in 2020, by leaps and bounds?

Quit accepting their "elections". They never accepted the outcome of 2016. Is Sniffin Joe your president? What even is a "president" in this banana fake "republic"? Thank God we are living in a divided territory! "Wokeistan" only completely rules the large increasingly crime ridden "S**Tholes". Those of us in the Red States still have a choice to RESIST our "betters". The 2020 stolen election is a wake up call to the level of peril we are in. 

If we are going to resist however, we need a better name. I'm bad at that ... "The Allies"? It looks increasingly likely that we need a divorce rather than attempting to reconcile with Wokeistan. 

In any case, is not a time for "HEELING"! 2016 was our last opportunity to heal after 8 years of surviving BOistan. If the "Wokies" had desired actual healing, that would  have been a golden opportunity to seek a return to respect for the Constitution, religious liberty, family, life, etc.  That opportunity has been terribly wasted. Biden, the Deep State and the MSM are holding out fake olive branches now if we will only fold and bow to their "woke" views. 

It is time for a real awakening of the type that the Allies provided for the last more limited Fascist regime of Hitler. Power is the only coin of this realm -- take it, defend it, and be not afraid. 

Christianity, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights actually understood, respected and followed is our flawed objective -- far from perfection or "utopia", however hopeful for a future that is "better" in the sense of more free, more abundant, more cultured, more friendly, more civil and more unified in thankfulness for the blessing of being "one nation under God". 

We were headed there in 1950, we lost our way into the wilderness of despair in the sixties -- we know where to go, we just have a long road and a lot of work to get there. 

I'm no fan of Nietzsche, however he said one good thing ...

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Leonardo Da Vinci, Walter Isaacson

I generally like Isaacson's, biographies ... I've read enough of them; Einstein, Franklin, Jobs, "The Innovators" (my least favorite). The linked is a good summary of the book. 

I was struck by the "pseudo Christian morality" the elites "adhered to" in Leonardo's time. Pretty much all the rich and powerful men, including Popes and the rest of the Catholic hierarchy, had a mistress or two, and probably a similar number of illegitimate children. Much like Egypt, Greece, Rome, and England at the peak of its power, wealth and power were the coin of the realm - plebeian mores were for the plebes!

I suppose we ought take the fact that immorality is more egalitarian in our time? -- "everybody's" doing it. Based on the priests abuse of children, the Catholic church seems to be proof that "power corrupts" has not been repealed by "progress". 

It was also striking how devoted Isaacson is to the idea that if you are intelligent, you can't possibly have Christian faith. On page 512 we see: "In his will, Leonardo commended his soul to our Lord Almighty God, and to the glorious Virgin Mary" ... Which Isaacson immediate dismisses as a "literary flourish"', even though the page also says that Leonardo specified that his funeral should include three high masses and three low masses". 

Leonardo is clearly a mythic hero figure for Isaacson, and it is just too much to consider that with all his "heresy" -- he would be in good company with Luther on that! Any disagreement with Catholic dogma was heresy. 

On 487, "This is the heart of Leonardo's philosophy: the replication of the patterns of nature, from the cosmic to the human". 

One of themes of the book is that Leonardo had an insatiable and eclectic curiosity, and was just completely fascinated with eddies in water, curls in human hair, birds, anatomy, and  documenting his observations in notebooks (but not publishing). 

The book seems like an excellent introduction to art appreciation, and least for me ... who is sadly lacking in that area. It made me want to see the Mona Lisa more. More than I needed to know about sfumato and squaring the circle.  

Covid Rate Of Transmission (Rt)

The linked will take you to a chart that shows a computation for the rate of Covid transmission by state. In theory, if the Rt is below 1.0, the virus will stop spreading. The creators of the model are Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger,  the co-founders of Instagram. Tom Vladeck is a data scientist and owner of Gradient Metrics. 

I find it to be "interesting/useful" ... lots of caveats / discussion below.

The bars for each state are the 80% confidence interval for the model ... meaning there is an 80% chance that the actual number is in that range. So why can't they be more correct? Basically, the map/model is NEVER the "territory" that is what "model" means! 

If you choose to dig into more detail, the Faq gives that ... the basic fact is that like all models, reality may be different from reality. This is true of ALL models! The "proof" of model correctness is in the rear view mirror, but must people reporting on models often don't tell you that. The reaction to Covid was based on models ... "masks are not effective at all", "we are going to be shut down for 2 weeks to flatten the curve", "masks are effective to protect others, not you", "it doesn't spread outside", "masks provide significant protection for you", "it does spread outside", etc Draw your own conclusions on how good the models have been.

Why look at the model? Basically for the same reason you look at the weather forecast -- to give you a general idea of how future weather looks  TODAY ... the prediction  may  (and often is) be different tomorrow. Good models allow you to look back at how accurate they were in the past, and discuss a bit about updates to the model they have made, and some they would like to make. (this one does) 

Although many statisticians don't like to admit this, this is the reason there are "lies, damned lies, and statistics". Statements like "women are better drivers!" based on them having less accidents are ridiculous, but often made. A "better" statistic would  be per mile driven ... just using accident statistics would call a woman who never drives a good driver. 

Getting a good statistic is HARD (election predictions should be a clue here). It gets REALLY complicated, and moves into the area of art rather than science. "Correlation is not causality" is also key. Drowning is strongly correlated (meaning the graph curves look alike) with ice cream sales and high temps. Of course neither of them CAUSE drowning. 

The important factor here is that today statistics are often presented as "science" when they are in fact just mathematical TOOLS. Climate change is often portrayed as "settled science" of which there is no such thing. Science is by definition NEVER settled! If something is "Science", then it MUST be falsifiable -- the next experiment may show the "settled" to be wrong. This is doubly true for statistical models ... especially as they predict the future rather than look at the past.

So why is Rt a useful statistic? It is just "better" than number of cases which is essentially meaningless ... more cases resulting from more testing doesn't mean more people are getting it, it just means we are finding more. cases (this model attempts to account for that). We don't have good data on number of asymptomatic cases because we are not doing randomized testing. Assuming we are tracking asymptomatic cases (which I doubt), we MAY be able to get a better idea of how many people have had it but did not know it.  

Naturally, even THAT doesn't really help us that much, because the "experts" claim that you don't get "much" immunity if you have had it ... therefore you still have to take protective measures -- for a disease that we believe you will be asymptomatic of in at least 50% of cases ... although we of course don't KNOW that either! 

Socrates was the wisest man because he knew that he knew nothing