Good News From TV Land

The news brings word that Hollywood is planning to “reboot” some hit TV series from the olden thymes. Shows like All In The Family, The Jeffersons and Good Times are on the drawing board for new versions. Presumably there is a market for 1970’s nostalgia, although the people old enough to remember those days are getting long in the tooth. If you were an adult in the heyday of these shows, you’re past 60 now. Perhaps the children or grandchildren of these people suddenly have a taste for these old programs.

Or, maybe it is time to retcon the 1970’s.

The idea currently being discussed by Lear and Sony executives would be to have new actors recreate classic episodes of the shows, working from the original scripts, and package them as short, six-episode anthologies. The scripts would be treated similar to plays being mounted in new productions.

“There is some talk about doing some of the original shows, redoing them with today’s stars,” Lear toldVariety. “There is a possibility that we’ll do ‘All in the Family,’ ‘Maude,’ ‘The Jeffersons,’ “Good Times.’”

Discussions about remaking more of Lear’s catalogue come as Sony gears up for the premiere of the new “One Day at a Time,” which re-imagines Lear’s ’80s sitcom about a single mother raising two children. The new series, which premieres on Netflix Jan. 6, focuses on a Latino family with a female Army veteran at its center.

It’s not hard to imagine how this will go. All In The Family will feature a mixed race family, where the patriarch is a transgender white man. Gloria will be a gay male and Meathead will be a gender fluid lesbian, who enjoys lifting weights. The Jeffersons will be the same show, but not funny, because nothing has changed for black people since the ’70’s and that’s not funny. Good Times will have Amy Schumer and Seth Rogan forced to live in a tenement owned by Donald Trump and managed by Richard Spencer.

The truth is, those descriptions are far too conservative. People who watch a lot of television probably just filter out the endless proselytizing, but that’s pretty much all TV is these days. It is an endless stream of agit-prop. The mere fact that Amy Schumer can get work on television says the people in charge hate their customers. According to the ads, there is a show called Samantha Bee, where a middle-aged prude screeches at a camera for an hour every night. Why would anyone make such a show?

The sudden interest in the 70’s by the crazy liberals who run Hollywood could simply be a bit of cosmic humor. The last great Progressive Awakening started in the early 1960’s and burned itself out by the middle of the 1970’s. Even though Jimmy Carter is remembered as a dreary liberal, he was not a darling of the Left in 1976. By that point it was clear that the Progressives were spent and it was just a question as to when the normal adults would regain control and begin cleaning up the mess left by the Progressive lunatics.

Today, we are at a similar spot. Hillary Clinton was the only person the Left had as an option. Progressives have burned themselves out to the point where it is a movement run by broken down old geezers. Just as TV in the 70’s was full of preachy liberals when the country was increasingly tired of preachy liberals, the current year will be filled with despairing moonbats railing about the current year. Recycling the great liberal hits of the last period of Progressive decline is a logical starting point.

The big difference is the current year has cable, streaming and cord cutting. The Progressive proselytizers in Hollywood cannot rely on a captive audience. For example, the endless ads for the Samantha Bee show suggest no one watches it. Why else run all of those ads? A quick search reveals that her program gets a peak of 700,000 viewers, which would have got it cancelled immediately in the 1970’s, but today’s subsidies from the cable monopolies keep these fringe shows on the air, mostly as vanity projects.

All of this should be viewed as good news for normal people. The fever appears to have broken and we are heading into a period where the normal adults take over from the nutters. The Progs will be left to proselytizing to an increasingly disinterested audience on TV. Unlike the 70’s, where we had to sit through liberal crap on television, we can now watch whatever they call the new Top Gear on Amazon or something on NetFlix. We are, with regards to our video entertainments, spoiled for choice. That’s ultimately the best antidote to Progressive lunacy – choice.

The Fake News

There’s not much new under the sun. Governments have been putting out propaganda to fool the public since the first guy figured out he could order some other guys to stack one rock on another. The trick is for the people in charge to appear to believe their own bravo sierra, but not actually believe it. If a ruler begins to think he is actually a god, for example, he is going to start making terrible errors. He needs the people to think he is a god, but he has to know he is a man and vulnerable to all the same defects as any other man.

Put another way, rulers must never get high off their own supply. A good example of this is the agit-prop about the Russians hacking the election. Polling shows that close to 60% of the public thinks the “Russians hacked us” stories are ridiculous. About 20% seem to think it happened and matters. That 20% is most assuredly the back benchers from the Cult of Modern Liberalism. That would not be a big deal, except the news media and the White House, at least for a few more weeks, are run by these people.

The result is the Obama White House is getting pressure from their toadies in the press to do something about the Russian hacking that never actually happened.

Over the past four months, American intelligence agencies and aides to President Obama assembled a menu of options to respond to Russia’s hacking during the election, ranging from the obvious — exposing President Vladimir V. Putin’s financial ties to oligarchs — to the innovative, including manipulating the computer code that Russia uses in designing its cyberweapons.

But while Mr. Obama vowed on Friday to “send a clear message to Russia” as both a punishment and a deterrent, some of the options were rejected as ineffective, others as too risky. If the choices had been better, one of the aides involved in the debate noted recently, the president would have acted by now.

The options are risky because the White House knows the hacking story was made up to pacify the lunatics. They also know the Russians know it was made up. Creating a diplomatic crisis over something both sides know is a fiction – and a ridiculous one at that – is very dangerous. The Russians will assume there must be some other reason for the move. Once countries are left to guess about motives, things can spiral out of control quickly. Thus the White House has to just make a show of it, but not actually do anything.

The “Russians hacked us” stuff does show how the Left is expert at narrative management. They can easily retrofit the past, even the very recent past, into the official story line. If necessary, they will rewrite the narrative on the fly. You see that in this section of the linked story.

Mr. Obama is the president who, in his first year in office, reached for some of the most sophisticated cyberweapons on earth to blow up parts of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Now, at the end of his presidency, he has run headlong into a different challenge in the cyberwarfare arena.

The president has reached two conclusions, senior officials report: The only thing worse than not using a weapon is using it ineffectively. And if he does choose to retaliate, he has insisted on maintaining what is known as “escalation dominance,” the ability to ensure you can end a conflict on your terms.

Obama did nothing of the sort. It was the Israelis who sabotaged the Iranian reactors with malicious code. In fact, the US intelligence community was as baffled as everyone else about how the Israelis pulled off one of the great cyberwarfare capers of all time. But, that does not serve the narrative so the past will now be restated. The new past is Obama opened a desk drawer and pulled out a “cyber weapon” to deploy against the Iranians, like the Bond villain often does when he thinks he finally has Bond trapped.

Of course, the bigger problem here is that running endless fake news stories erodes public trust in the media and their government supervisors. Fifty years ago, people could suspect something was bullshit, but proving it was often impossible. Today, there is too much information and too many ways to disseminate it. This stuff is quickly exposed and the public becomes more skeptical, as well as better able to spot the lie. That’s why only nut jobs believe the Russian hacking stuff.

Russian hackers are real. So are Ukrainian hackers and Chinese hackers and Nigerian princess looking for your bank account number. The great threat to network security, however, is not a secret team of super villains writing malicious code. The broken window is the old guy, who is uncomfortable with technology, using “pass123” as his password. John Podesta was not hacked. He had a childishly simple password and he left it lying around for people to see.

According to research, 4% of people use “123456” as their password. Cracking that is not hacking. It is guessing. According to the revelations in WikiLeaks, the people working for Team Clinton at State shared passwords with one another. That means one person leaving the door open exposes everyone, which is what happened in every conceivable way. The reason all of this private information ended up in the public during the campaign is the people producing it are morons and should never be trusted to keep secrets.

That’s ultimately the real news behind the fake news. A skeptical public was presented evidence that confirmed their skepticism. The attempts to retroactively discredit these revelations is only reinforcing the general sense that the mainstream media cannot be trusted. Trust in major media is at all time lows and their audience is dissipating as people seek out alternatives. There’s nothing mysterious about it. As the gatekeepers lose control of the gates, the public learns the truth about what lies beyond the gates.

Travelogue: The Imperial Capital

I have been out of pocket, as they say in the South, for the last few days. A project in the Imperial Capital has required me to commute from my estates in the ghetto to the capital each morning. Early days and long nights, with the addition of a vicious commute, has made the past week feel like a stay in prison. I’m just now getting my bearings about what has happened in the world the last few days. I am happy to report that the counter-revolutionary traitors have been rooted out and the city is prepared for the ascension of our new ruler next month.

Those of you in the provinces can never fully appreciate the scale of the Empire until you spend some time driving around the capital. Government, at least the Federal government, is an abstraction. You bump up against it when you file taxes or go to the post office. Otherwise, the Empire is just the background noise of the universe. When you spend time in the capital, you see it face to face. It is not an abstraction or background noise. It is the dominating feature of life in these parts, warping all the normal functioning of society.

It’s why anyone talking about reducing the size of government is either lying, crazy or terribly uninformed. Reducing the size of the Federal government means reducing the size of the Imperial Capital. Fairfax County, on the Virginia side of the Potomac, has over a million souls. The District is roughly 600,000. Start adding up the populations attached to the capital and you get to five million. Expand out to include the entire Baltimore – Washington area – the two cities are slowly merging into a megalopolis – you get close to ten million people.

That’s a lot of people with a reason to keep things as they are and maybe expand on them. Reducing the size of government is like saying we will reduce the size of Los Angeles or Manhattan. This sort of thing can only happen if the city falls on hard times or is sacked by invaders. It took decades to blight Detroit and they worked really hard at it. Their people are low-IQ morons. the Federal government is stocked with smart and clever people who know how to keep the party going. Any and all attempts to reduce the flow of cash into the city will be thwarted.

Another aspect of the Imperial Capital is that it is much more international than the rest of the country. Lots of smart people from other nations come to Washington to work on projects, lobby Imperial officials and otherwise benefit from proximity to the Imperial Capital. I’ve spent the week with people from all over, none of whom had a reason to be in the capital area, beyond economics. They left the provinces to make their fortune in the capital and they did. They get to live in big house and dine at nice restaurants, thanks to the generosity of you, the sans-culotte.

The result of this is the people inside the capital are blinkered. They simply have no idea what is going on in the countryside. it is why they are horrified by the Trump election. Donald Trump is their black swan. The people inside were sure that such a result was an impossibility. Imagine if you came home and found Big Foot riding a unicorn around your neighborhood. There’s simply no way for the people living in the capital to understand why they should accept limits. There can be no argument to convince them that the state must be reduced.

Throw in the fact that 7 of the 10 richest counties on earth are attached to the Imperial Capital and it is not hard to understand why the people living here love government. Even the chattering classes, who hold no official position, live like royals compared to the people in the provinces.Jonah Goldberg, for example, lives in a seven figure home, in one of the more exclusive neighborhoods in the area. He got rich making armpit noises and singing the praises of the managerial state, but mostly the latter. He’s not going back to the former without a fight.

That leaves two possibilities. One is the city is sacked by angry peasants or foreign invaders. The other is we run out of money. That last one is the most likely answer. The proposed tax cuts and reforms from Trump are getting an icy response from Washington, but the private sector is tapped out. They need a jump start to begin growing again. Eventually, we will reach a point where a choice must be made. Either the peasants sacrifice to keep the Imperial Capital stocked with cash or the ruling class tightens its belt. I would not bet on the latter.

My advise. Go long on pitchforks.

Exporting The Capital

Sitting in traffic on the Capital Beltway, I started wondering at what point the city just seizes up due to the overload. I was at one of the well known choke points that is just about impossible to avoid, but there are few spots around the beltway that are ever moving at maximum speed. The snarl I was in was at 7:30 PM, which is not all that unusual for DC. The fact is, the major highways around the District are well beyond capacity and there is not much that can be done about it.

It’s not just the beltway or inside it. Northern Virginia has traffic that reminds me of Los Angeles. In fact, the area is a lot like LA now. They say Washington is Hollywood for ugly people and the residential areas now have a similar vibe. It’s that feeling that the people who laid out the roads and neighborhoods were always in crisis mode, putting down streets and houses in an effort to keep pace with the flood of new people. The result is large scale suburban chaos.

Hassling through traffic, I started thinking about the new idea liberals have to reconnect with the little people in flyover country. They want to relocate chunks of the government to the hinterlands.

America’s post-industrial Midwest is far from being the country’s poorest region. To find the direst economic conditions in the United States, one generally has to look toward Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta region, the Rio Grande Valley, and a smattering of heavily Native American counties in the Southwest and Great Plains. What the Midwest’s recent economic struggles bring, however, is not just large-scale political salience but a particular kind of fixability.

The poorest places in the United States have been poor for a very long time and lack the basic infrastructure of prosperity. But that’s not true in the Midwest, where cities were thriving two generations ago and where an enormous amount of infrastructure is in place. Midwestern states have acclaimed public university systems, airports that are large enough to serve as major hubs, and cities whose cultural legacies include major league pro sports teams, acclaimed museums, symphonies, theaters, and other amenities of big-city living.

This article is part of New Money, a new section on economics, technology, and business.
But industrial decline has left these cities overbuilt, with shrunken populations that struggle to support the legacy infrastructure, and the infrastructure’s decline tends to only beget further regional decline.

At the same time, America’s major coastal cities are overcrowded. They suffer from endemic housing scarcity, massive traffic congestion, and a profound small-c political conservatism that prevents them from making the kind of regulatory changes that would allow them to build the new housing and infrastructure they need. Excess population that can’t be absorbed by the coasts tends to bounce to the growth-friendly cities of the Sunbelt that need to build anew what Milwaukee, Detroit, and Cleveland already have in terms of infrastructure and amenities.
A sensible approach would be for the federal government to take the lead in rebalancing America’s allocation of population and resources by taking a good hard look at whether so much federal activity needs to be concentrated in Washington, DC, and its suburbs. Moving agencies out of the DC area to the Midwest would obviously cause some short-term disruptions. But in the long run, relocated agencies’ employees would enjoy cheaper houses, shorter commutes, and a higher standard of living, while Midwestern communities would see their population and tax base stabilized and gain new opportunities for complementary industries to grow.

Now, the idiocy of this lies in the general snottiness of the article. Matthew Yglesias is known for being one of those smug stupid people the managerial class is so good at producing. Even so, it would be a good way for solving what is becoming a critical problem in the Imperial Capital. There’s simply no more room. We’re full. In fact, we’re beyond full. Shipping out some of the agencies to places without a lot of people would fix two problems.

Obviously, it ships the people out of the capital, alleviating some of the congestion. Sending Housing and Urban Development to Detroit would be good for Detroit and good for the capital. Detroit has a need for urban development so putting the urban developers right there in the Motor City would be a marriage made in heaven. Even better, Detroit has lots of slums that were in no small way created by the idiocy of the Department of Housing and urban Development.

Now, a lot of government is already spread all over the country. Social Security has a huge facility outside Baltimore. West Virginia is dotted with Federal buildings thanks to former Klansman and US Senator, Robert Byrd. Alaska also has a lot of government due to the vast amount of natural resources that need managing. Still, some states, like Maine, have almost no big Federal installations. Putting the Department of Interior in Caribou Maine would be great for the state economy.

The major benefit of distributing these departments would not be economic. The real benefit is they would lose their value as nesting places for the army of tax eaters and their private sector analogs. If a middle management job with the government meant a posting in Caribou Maine, current temperature -18° C, I’m thinking many of those jobs would go unfilled. Even better, if that department secretary had to phone it in for cabinet meetings, I’m thinking Congress loses interest in them.

Let’s hope the Progs get their wish and we ship the plague of Washington out to the rest of you!

Forever Young

Greg Cochran has a short post up soliciting opinions on what will be the next big thing in science and technology. He is not fishing for the next smartphone app or medical cure. I think he means the big new field of study or technological advancement. It is one of those posts that is not intended to be interesting, but to get the readers noodling over the question. Judging from the comments thus far, that is the way his readers have read the post. It seems to be another stab at the topic he started the other day.

It is an interesting question as we do seem to have reached the point of diminishing returns with the microprocessor. E-mail was a huge game changer. The mobile phone was another big leap into the unknown. The web probably comes in third, but it still had an enormous impact on humanity. These inventions have changed the way humans interact with one another and continue to put stress on the organizational systems we have had in place since the Enlightenment. Donald Trump just won an election by mastering Twitter.

We have reached peak chip, so to speak. The low hanging fruit has been picked and we’re well on the way to commodification of technology. That’s not to say there is no more work to be done in tech. It’s just that the boom years are over and the industry is now mature. The next big ideas, the stuff that could alter society, will be coming from somewhere else. The temptation is to think it will be some new technology like genetics or nanotechnology. Those fields have the futuristic vibe futurists like.

Genetics does have the prospect of being highly disruptive. Just take a look at how 23andMe or sell their products. Implicit in their pitch is that race and ethnicity are in your DNA. That means race is not a social construct. Ancestry disguises this by using multi-racial actors, but the implication is clear. Similarly, the ability to predict things about people at an early age, based on examining their DNA, could be very disruptive. Imagine what happens to insurance when you can test for risk of heart attack.

The thing is, a lot of this information has been available to us through other means. Humans have known for a long time that people are not the same across race or ethnicity and most people still know it, even if they don’t say it. Even so, it has no impact on public policy or on the howling of the multiculturalists. We’ve also known that the apple does not fall far from the tree. If the kid is born to losers, the kid will probably be a loser. How the kid is raised has little to do with it, but we still preach the morality of parenting.

A more promising area where something game changing could come is in the field of aging. Humans live longer and are healthier than ever and it has already had a huge impact on society. All of our pension and insurance schemes are broken mostly because people live too long. Long living has resulted in children maturing more slowly, in terms of social status. A century ago, a man went to work as a teen and had a family by the time he hit 20. Today, men live at home until 30 and start families well into their 30’s.

Imagine what happens if science finds a way to push the expiry date out a few more decades. Imagine if 100 becomes the new 65, in that the 100 year old is as vigorous as the typical 65 year old. Imagine that the golden years of retirement start at 110. This is standard stuff in science fiction, but it may not be too far off in reality. British researchers have figured out how to drastically slow the aging of mice. That opens the door for not only slowing the process, but arresting it. Forever young may not be too far off.

Even if that is beyond the pale, think about the impact of Viagra. Invent a pill to keep the needle pointing north and the world beats a path to your door. Imagine a pill to end gray hair or crow’s feet. Even if people don’t live to 150, just being healthier and more vigorous late into life could have a huge impact on society. Retirement, for example, would make a lot less sense if you had plenty of juice well into your senior years. Of course, retirement would become something radically different too. Our view of aging would radically change.

The reason to think that life extension and aging is the place to see great innovation in the near term is mostly economic. Penis pills made their makers very rich. A gray hair pill or a wrinkle cure would similarly make their makers billions. Just look at the number of men seeking out HGH from black market sources. The market for anything that extends life or extends youthful vitality is the market of all people. Is there anyone who would not buy a pill that makes you look as good as you looked in the flower of youth?

Playing With Fire

The great mistake over the last century, or more, is in thinking that the American Left is an intellectual movement that relies on facts and reason to formulate policy and strategy, with the goal of making the nation better. Conservatives have long been obsessed with talking about the Left as their colleagues, insisting they are simply mistaken, but otherwise well intentioned. The truth is, the Left in America is a cult, a suicide cult, that seeks to pull down the support beams of society so the roof collapses on all of us.

Here is a good example of it.

More Democratic electors are joining the call for an intelligence briefing on Russian interference in the presidential election before they cast their votes for president on Monday.

Twenty-nine electors now are pressuring Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to disclose more information about the CIA’s conclusion that Russian interference helped sway the election in President-elect Donald Trump’s favor.

On Monday, 10 electors — spearheaded by Christine Pelosi, the daughter of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) — wrote an open letterto Clapper, demanding more information ahead of next week’s vote.


“The Electors require to know from the intelligence community whether there are ongoing investigations into ties between Donald Trump, his campaign or associates, and Russian government interference in the election, the scope of those investigations, how far those investigations may have reached, and who was involved in those investigations,” the letter reads. “We further require a briefing on all investigative findings, as these matters directly impact the core factors in our deliberations of whether Mr. Trump is fit to serve as President of the United States.”Twenty-eight Democrats and one Republican have now signed the letter.

On Monday, the Clinton campaign voiced support for the effort.

The absurdity of the Russian hacking claims should be enough to put this story to bed long ago, but the media is run by the Cult so they are pumping air into this story every day. The Washington Post ran a fake news story with claims that the CIA has proof the Russians forced John Podesta to write all of those embarrassing e-mails that got released by WikiLeaks. Put another way, the people running the Post are willing to destroy what is left of their reputation to promote something they know is nonsense.

It is one thing for a campaign to cook up fake news in order to divert attention. The Clinton people were desperate to get their scandals out of the news so they made up the Russian hacking stuff. Politicians of all stripes do this sort of thing. LBJ used to accuse his opponents of horrible things, just so they would have to deny it. What the Left is engaging in now is an attempt to undermine public support of the political system. It’s as if they figure that if they can’t win, then everyone must lose.

What makes it especially suicidal is the obvious consequences, if their efforts actually succeeded. Let’s assume they are able to crack the Electoral College and overthrow the election. The result would be a constitutional crises. As Steve Sailer pointed out the other day, the people pushing for that should think about who would probably step into the crisis to impose order. The military is full of PC ninnies, but there are plenty of people in uniform that would like a shot at changing it. It is a safe bet that they did not vote for Clinton.

Of course, none of this is going to happen. Still, the public does notice that the people in charge are unwilling to abide by their own rules. To some degree, that is why Trump won the election. Corruption is just lawlessness among the ruling class and Trump promised to clean it up. If the ruling class appears to be throwing the rules aside in order to stop Trump, the public is going to begin to wonder why they are supporting the political system at all. Millennials are already on the fence about democracy.

None of this is to say the nation is staggering toward revolution or civil war. That seems unlikely at the present date, but the lesson of history is that things can spiral out of control quickly. The number one duty of every ruling elite is to maintain public support of the system that props up the ruling elite. Progressive attempts to kick the legs out from under the system could eventually work. The fact that they will be the first ones sent to the gallows does not seem to bother them. In fact, they probably long for it.

The Unreadable Web

The other day, I was reading something on-line and followed a link to one of the business sites. The first thing to happen was a useless popup. I have a pop-up blocker, but many of them still slip past for some reason. After years of dealing with pop-ups, my mouse hand is trained to close the window on instinct. It is a reflex now. I closed it only to have another open and I closed it. A minute reading the site, the screen goes dim and I get a message telling me that I am running an ad-blocker, along with a lecture about how that is mean.

I just closed the site and moved on. In fact, this has become my habit. If the site has any of this junk, I just close the site and move onto other things. I respect the fact that sites need to make money so they post ads, but having to navigate through a sea of clutter just to read 500 words or look at a picture is not a good use of my time. I’ve observed others do the same thing I do when it comes to pop up windows. Before they load, people close them so they do nothing more than annoy the reader. They are otherwise useless.

The main reason I run the ad-block stuff is that many of these embedded ads have malware. If a website wants to monetize my viewership by infesting my computer with malignant software, I have no qualms about blocking their attempts to monetize my viewership. Therefore, the lectures that are becoming common on websites about the immorality of running ad-block strike most people as ludicrous. It’s why the Brave browser is gaining a market. It blocks the ads and it blocks the nag screens about ad-block.

Of course, it is not just ads or pop-ups. The proliferation of scripting has made many sites unreadable on a phone or tablet, unless you use something like ghostery. The Washington Times is a perfect example. It is more ad than content and the scripts never seem to load properly, so the site looks like a Picasso painting most of the time. I stopped going to the site entirely as it took too much effort to make it work. If I have to redesign my web browser to look at your site, I’m probably not going to bother visiting your site.

The truly monstrous thing done by web designers is embedded audio and video. By default, I now turn off my sound so I don’t have to hunt around looking for where the noise is coming from on the web page. I use a flash blocker to get rid of most of it, but some of it still slips past. That means YouTube does not work, so I have two browsers. One is for video and the other for daily browsing. When I’m ruler of these lands, the people responsible for embedded, autoplay video will be torn to pieces and fed to the dogs.

Those who have read Jospeh Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies will probably recognize a familiar pattern. The first ads on websites were a big hit, relative to their cost. That banner at the top for Joe’s Diner cost nothing, but made something. That’s an infinite return on investment. The next wave of ads came with a cost, both direct and indirect. The former was the cost of weaving them into the sites. The latter was the cost of people using ad-blocker and other tools to limit the number of ads in the way of the content.

As we have move from the physical world of content to the virtual world, the demand for more revenue, drives the ever more complex methods to monetize the website. The costs ratchet up, but the barriers also get higher as users find more and better tools to defeat the ads and scripts. The Brave browser costs me nothing and does a great job filtering almost all of this stuff from my view. We’re not far from the time when you pay a monthly fee for a browser that filters all ads from all sites. That’s the model Brave is pursuing..

Web sites are probably near the point of negative returns, with regards to monetizing their content. That’s why so many are going back to the old subscription model. It may not fix their revenue problems, but they have no other option. The ad model is simply not working. That, of course, means the ad model is probably nearing collapse. Once big sites begin to rethink how they monetize their content, everyone else follows. A web of paywalls and subscriber-only content is probably the future for the large scale content makers.

Whether or not that is sustainable is a topic for another day.


Is It Good For The Americans?

When I was a kid, I sat and watched the 30 minute ad run by Lyndon LaRouche during the 1976 presidential election. I don’t remember much about it, but I seem to recall he accused just about everyone of being in a conspiracy of some sort. I also recall my mother laughing and calling him a nut. LaRouche was a crazy Marxist, but I see he has been retconned into a crazy right-winger and anti-Semite. His wiki page reads like it has been heavily edited by one of his followers.

Anyway, I bring this up because it is what comes to mind when I read these paranoid postings about how the Russians are coming to take us away.

I saw that on Sailer’s blog over the weekend, but it is hardly unique example of the genre. John Derbyshire pointed out that a segment of the ruling class has gone around the bend with regards to their paranoia over the Russians. Jennifer Rubin is a very nasty old woman to begin with, so her paranoid ramblings about Russia and Trump sound particularly vile and un-American. As soon as you hear people talking about dual loyalties like that, you can be sure their loyalties are not with you.

The upside to believing in conspiracies is the same as the belief in magic. There is no end to how you can use a conspiracy theory to explain things. Progressives are now telling one another that they did not actually lose the elections. No, it was Russian hacking. Somehow, Russian hackers made their candidate into a crook running a shakedown scheme from the State Department. They also tricked John Podesta into writing all those e-mails that proved to be so embarrassing.

The neo-cons have decided that their rejection by the American people has nothing to do with losing wars of choice and flooding the nation with hostile foreigners. No, “invite the world and invade the world” is a great policy. It’s those damned Russians and their schemes to re-patriot their Jewish emigres. You see, the Russians have teamed up with Trump to engineer a silent coup to seize control of the US government in the cause of restoring the Czar to the throne.

That is the worrisome thing about this tribal paranoia about the Russians. The one thing Jews should always try to avoid is elevating the idea of divided loyalties into the public discourse. The heart and soul of Western antisemitism is the claim that Jews are disloyal. They put the good of the tribe above all else and will sell out their country if it is good for the Jews. The fact that it is pretty much exclusively Jews ranting about the Russians and leading the opposition to Trump is not good for the Jews.

But, that does not seem to be sinking in with the neo-cons. This tweet from the increasingly deranged David Frum is a sad example.

Is there anything worse you can say about a president than he is a traitor? Critics of Obama used to say that his Muslim sympathies led him into foolish policy choices like the Iran deal. That’s not really the same thing, but his defenders were appalled by it nonetheless. Protestants used to make these arguments against Catholic politicians, claiming they would be taking orders from the Pope. At least the motivation there was spiritual.

Frum is saying that Trump and his team are actually foreign agents, on the payroll of a foreign government. That’s the only way to read what these people are claiming. They truly believe that Trump and his people are foreign agents, working with a hostile government against the interests of America. It is the one thing that can still get you hanged in this country, thus making it the worst possible crime. Accusing the next president of this is more than a little over the top.

Never mind the absurdity of the claim. Think about where that leads. What limits are there on what you can do to stop a traitor from harming the country? Obviously, you can say anything horrible about them you like, in an effort to damage them. Would Frum and his coreligionist be wrong to conspire to harm the Trump administration? Would they be wrong to cook up a plot to take the guy out before he could get into office? Maybe run a straw candidate in one state? Or something more?

It’s not hard to see how this gets out of hand. These unhinged anti-Trump people, by raising the divided loyalty topic, open the door to a lot of very bad thoughts. These sorts of claims have a way of washing back on the people who first raise them. That is the lesson of history. Team Trump looks like a grab bag of American types, that hardly fits the model of a conspiracy. The people leading the charge with this Russian conspiracy nonsense, on the other hand, have a lot in common.

That brings us back to LaRouche and his nutty followers. That should be the destiny of people like Frum, Rubin, Stevens and so on. Most Jews in America, probably 99%, think these conspiracy fantasies are nuts so they should go on the offensive. Marginalizing the anti-Trump loons is one thing that would clearly be good for the Jews and it would be good the country. Once you start down the road of divided loyalties, you end up with mob rule and the majority examining every minority for signs of disloyalty.

That would not be good for the Americans.

Fat People

Last month when I was in line waiting to vote, I spotted an extremely fat woman. She was so fat, her ankles rubbed together. Judging by the three gallon bucket of soda pop in her hand, I’m assuming she was not the victim of elephantiasis or some other disease. Everything about her was fat, even her head, which was the size of a bowling ball and covered in pink-dyed fur. How she was able to get around with hundreds of pounds of fat attached to her is a mystery. I would think the mere act of toting around so much weight would result in weight loss.

Last week, I stopped at the ghetto market for a few items and spotted a couple in the snack aisle. The man was something like a large ball with arms and legs. I estimated his diameter was close to 24 inches. That would mean his belt was 75 inches. His wife was of similar size. My first thought was how they were able to, you know, enjoy the marital bed. Is it even possible that they find one another attractive? I suppose it is possible that all of their energies are focused on moving around their girth and finding enough food to maintain their weight so sex is a non-issue.

Anyone familiar with American poverty knows that our poor people are fat, very fat. There are exceptions like drug addicts or those spindly ectomorphs you see loitering on street corners. Black woman, of course, are almost always fat. This is something most everyone knows. The ancients drew images of African women with giant stomachs and buttocks. In all probability, this is a genetic issue with West Africans. Even so, across the ethnic spectrum, American poor people are fat. Even our Mexicans are fat now.

In fact, Mexico is the world’s fattest country. This is mostly likely due to the fact that food is cheaper now than at any time in human history. It’s extremely hard to starve your people these days. Food is just too cheap and plentiful. Even basket case countries like those in sub-Saharan Africa have more than enough food. That’s most likely the cause of the population boom in Africa. The Malthusian limit has been pushed much further out so the population has exploded.

Public health officials tell us that obesity is a crisis in America. Being fat supposedly results in an exploding number of maladies like diabetes and heart disease. This drives up health costs thus collapsing the technocratic schemes cooked up by the managerial class. It’s important to remember that public health officials are usually wrong. For example, they said AIDS would jump from the bathhouse and heroin den into the middle-class suburbs. That never came closer to happening.

Even if obesity is a public health problem, it’s unlikely that there can be a public policy to address it, other than deliberate starvation of the people. Our Germans probably have the same obesity rates as Germans in Europe. The same is true across the ethnic landscape. We’re forbidden to notice that blacks and Mexicans are very fat, compared to everyone else. That means we’re forbidden to note that honky obesity rates are not too far off from Europeans rates. That would be racist and everyone knows race does not exist.

The point of this observation is to note that biology is beyond the reach of public policy. If fatness has some serious detriments to the population, then it will sort itself out over time. If fatness becomes associated with low status people, then there will be cultural pressure to not be fat. Smoking rates have declined not so much due to public policy, but from the fact famous people stopped smoking. It stopped being cool with famous people. Fatness will follow a similar path. We are seeing that with black actresses and singers.

Still, humans have never had to deal with the problems that come from too much food and too much free time to consume it. We really have no idea what will come from it and how it will hurt or help society. There could very well be a huge upside to having lots of fat people. Perhaps when the zombie apocalypse comes, the zombies will eat the fat people and be satisfied, leaving the rest of us to regroup. That’s unlikely, but nature tends not to reward that which is deleterious to a species. Nature is self-correcting.

There’s no reason to think that public policy in a liberal democracy would be capable of addressing problems that stem from excess. Liberal democracy evolved in an age of great inequality and scarcity. Having a super rich aristocracy could not work while the peasants were starving. We now have a mega-rich aristocracy while the peasants are munching snacks and playing video games. They are doing these things at public expense. The bottom half of America is receiving direct and indirect public assistance these days.

Would the super-rich aristocracy of today have the will to impose rules on the bottom half, with regards to their welfare? Mayor Bloomberg came the closest with his soda and salt bans, but they went no where. Even his peers snickered at his prudery. Would these same people be willing to back exercise requirements and fitness exams in exchange for welfare benefits? Probably not. A feature of the modern aristocracy and their attendants in the managerial elite is a fear of confrontation. Hence the passive-aggressive culture of the rich.

We’ll just have to rely on nature to solve the obesity problem.

Crapped Out

Every year around the Solstice, I buy myself something I would never buy for myself during the year. It’s not a present to myself, but more of a way to remind myself that life is for living. A little frivolity is a good thing. I live to work, not work to live, but there is a lot of life that falls outside the joys of labor. if you enjoy working, you can easily forget that there are many other things outside work that you enjoy equally. I a disciplined moderation in life helps to maintain the proper perspective.

Usually my annual indulgence is a gadget or technology item that I really have no use for, much less a need for. I have a closet full of old electronic toys. Some years I’ll upgrade something I do need to a version I really don’t need. Last year I upgraded my home PC for one with high end sound and video. I’m typing this on a high end laptop I bought two years ago at Solstice. The old laptop was fine, but the new one has surround sound and HD video! I’ve watched exactly one movie on it and never played a single game.

This year, I’m at a loss. I’ve searched around for new gadgets and nothing jumps out to me. The hot new item is the Amazon Alexa. A few people have suggested that to me. That strike me as a stupid and pointless bit of nonsense that would just aggravate me. The hip young people in the commercials strike me as the sort of people I will send to the labor camps once I’m ruler of these lands. Having the fine people at Amazon spy on me like a doting mother is not something I will ever accept.

I thought about getting a new tablet, but there’s nothing new in tablets that excites me. I hate reading books from them anyway. I tried various versions of e-readers and I just don’t like it. My 7-inch model I got a couple of years ago works fine and does what I need it to do, which is let me goof off on twitter from the couch. I also wonder if staring at tablets close to your face is good for your eyes. I notice that I suffer from eye strain if I use the thing for more than an hour. Maybe it is just me, but that’s my suspicion.

Looking around at the other tech on the market for Solstice, I get the same vibe. It’s mostly polished up versions of stuff that has been around for a while. The new XBox I see advertised looks like the old one, but in a different color. The one item that looks cool is the heads up display for exercise that you can attach to your glasses. But, I looking like a douche bag is not a good idea. if you are an elite athlete, you can do it, but otherwise guys running around with gadgets on their heads are viewed as idiots.

Part of what plagues me these days is getting old. Once a man hits his middle years, the frivolous things lose their attraction. TV people know this, which is why they target kids and women. Men will watch sports and some shows with the wife, but otherwise, older men are not into TV. The same is true of movies. Even when it comes to sports, men lose some of their enthusiasm as they get older. Again, it is why they market jersey and caps to the young guys. they have the passion for it.

That said, I’m not an acquisitive guy and I don’t place much value in material possessions. I’m not quite Amish, but I am a plain person. Possessions come with obligations and often those obligations vastly outweigh the utility of the item. I’d like a boat, for example, but then I think about the work it takes to keep a boat. It is not just the cost of it. You have to be constantly fiddling with the things. An acquaintance in Florida has a boat. A two hour ride means an hour prep time and two hours after cleaning it up and hoisting into the dock. No thanks.

The point being that owning stuff usually means taking on obligations. In modern times, that means most people have credit card obligations they will never pay down. The result is they have fewer choices in other areas of their life. This is especially true of the lower classes who lack impulse control. They see, they want, they buy it on credit without much thought about the long term ramifications. That XBox in the living room can be quite demanding when it is sitting on the Visa bill at 23.9% interest. Heroin is less demanding than the material culture of our age.

Even so, I’m hunting around for some toy to buy this year and I’m coming up empty. I wonder if we have maybe hit some sort of dead end on the gadget front. The low hanging fruit of technology was picked long ago. The mobile phone and e-mail changed our world. Angry birds on your smart phone has not changed much of anything. Most people have a phone, a tablet and a PC. Everyone has a flat screen TV and some sort of console for games or movies. On the electronic gizmo front, we seem to have hit a dead end.

That may not be a terrible thing. Looking for some sort of gadget to buy, it occurred to me that I may find more pleasure in something else. I have been talking about cord cutting for a year. I should get on with it. I’ll need to upgrade my internet from DSL to cable if I want to do on-line video. That means wiring the house, which would be a nice weekend job. Alternatively, the guy down the road is selling an old Jeep that is a project car. Maybe that’s a better use of my Solstice money. Perhaps a return trip to Europe this winter, to gloat about Trump to the Euros.

There very well may be an end point to the materialist culture that blossomed in America last century. I could just be an old man with narrow interests, but it does feel like we have all the crap we need. If so, then perhaps a return to other pleasures will be the next big thing. It would be ironic that the politics of overthrowing the old hippies, currently in charge, ushers in one aspect of hippy culture – anti-materialism. Maybe the alt-right will adopt the old hippy mantra, “turn on, tune in, drop out” popularized fifty years ago by Timothy Leary. Maybe Amazon has a book on that…