ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2018 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Mailvox: Convergence and the Church

Megamerc relates the difference between the message of the Gospel and the message preached by the converged Churchians:
There was an Englishman called Arthur Oakman who joined a certain church here in the United States. He became a minister and one of the leaders of that church, and in 1966 he preached a sermon to a large group of his fellow ministers. Below is a quote from the transcript of it that reminded me of your take on several things, including race and the idea that Satan rules the world.

Here is the quote:

Some of the difficulty with our talk about race today. You don't just tell people they're brothers when they're not. God isn't the Father of all men, He's the Creator of all men. He loves all men, it is true. But He only becomes their Father when they are obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it's only in Christ that there is no Jew nor Gentile, there's no bond nor free. And in Christ, even in sex, there is no male nor female. And all the distinctions between all the races of the world are banished in Christ, but gentlemen, the world isn't in Christ. That's the difficulty. To impose by force an ideal situation on people is utterly impossible, hence we must preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in every place, that His Spirit might motivate men so that they may come to know Him.
 - Arthur Oakman

Oakman died in 1975, and barely nine years later the church, that in many ways he helped lead, began to ordain women to their priesthood. There was a huge falling out because of the decision, many people left immediately, and ever since that church has gradually lost more and more of its membership. They watered down their fundamental teachings, embraced diversity and social justice, adopted churchian teachings, and are for the most part morally bankrupt, not to mention nearly financially bankrupt.

If I was more economically savvy and had greater familiarity with their financial state, I would make a guess on the exact time of their eventual collapse. But even without that knowledge and expertise, it's only been 34 years since the initial influx of female clergy and they're more or less dead already.
Christian civilization is a battle that must be fought and refought by each and every generation if it is to survive. The two generations before us lost. Let us do better. Deus vult!

But win or lose, do not despair. Remember, where there are two, there are always three.

Labels: ,

DC will never be the same

“What we did today is going to change DC Comics forever. Forever. There’s no going back anymore.”
- John Cunningham, Senior Vice-President of Sales, Vice-President of Content Strategy, and Vice-President of Marketing at DC Comics/Warner Bros.

Music to my ears, though long-suffering DC Comics fans will probably disagree. This is why:
  1. Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.
  2. DC announced Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed by the Speak and Chains writer Laurie Halse Anderson. With a 15-year-old Wonder Woman on Paradise Island who sees drowning refugees and disobeys her mother Hippolyta to rescue them. She becomes caught up in their struggle, becoming a refugee herself. Washing up on a foreign shore, she is met by two UN workers — one called Steve and another called Trevor.
  3. Melissa de la Cruz’s Gotham High: a Multicultural Love Triangle Between Batman, Catwoman, and Joker. A Bruce Wayne high school graphic novel with a 17-year-old part-Chinese Bruce Wayne and DC villains as high school teenagers.
  4. Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh’s Harley Quinn is an Intersectional Activist Comic About Drag Queens
  5. Beautiful Creatures’ Kami Garcia Starts Line of Teen Titans Graphic Novels, Before They Were Superheroes. She will explore the Teen Titans lives before they realise they have powers, as a series of coming-of-age graphic novels.
  6. Minh Lê introduced us to the youngest Green Lantern, the 13-year-old Tai. Tai  discovers that his grandmother was a secret Green Lantern, and he inherits her jade ring. Tai then goes on to uncover his grandmother’s life’s secrets as well as grapple with the new powers he has. Lê he has drawn on his own life in an immigrant family and his own grandmother and her life story, and it has become a very personal story to him.
  7. His Super Sons story out in April next year, featuring Jonathan Kent and Damian Wayne, the sons of Superman and Batman, will be about climate disruption. With Lower Metropolis under twelve feet of water, with super storms cycling around the world destroying farmland and with what Ridley described as “a coastal ambush” of refugees heading to Denver and Lincoln, Nebraska as the coastline get flooded.
  8. DC Comics gave some more details of the Superman Smashes the Klan graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang, and how it ties directly into the Superman vs The Klan radio serial from the forties. Because that is why the comic is set in 1946: it tells the story of an American Chinese girl who moves to Metropolis to find herself and her family’s ethnicity targeted by the Ku Klux Klan. Through her experience with Superman and the radio serial, she learns to overcome some of the trials and understand what it means to be American.
Perhaps DC should consider changing its motto from whatever it is to "comics by transgender immigrants with an unhealthy interest in high school teenagers for transgender immigrants with an unhealthy interest in high school teenagers."

Now, perhaps DC is attempting to safely wall off its SJW insanity in a series of low-budget comics intended to distract the media and divert the focus of its internal SJWs. But the fact that some of these writers are established names in YA fiction combined with the fact that it brought in Marvel's lead SJW and handed him its most important properties tends to indicate that DC is simply doing what converged companies do and doubling down on social justice.

I agree with Mr. Cunningham. What they have done will change DC Comics forever. Forever. But what they have also done is to ensure that Arkhaven will become at least the #2 publisher in the comics industry. At least. This panel from the forthcoming Chuck Dixon's Avalon #1 should serve as an accurate metaphor of the eventual outcome.

Labels: , ,

An alternative to suicide

AfD passes the Social Democrats in the German polls:
Germany’s main center-left party, the Social Democrats, saw its rating fall below that of the right-wing Alternative for Germany for the first time in an opinion poll published Monday, piling fresh ignominy on the country’s disintegrating center-left.

The news came on the day German Chancellor Angela Merkel appointed a new secretary general at her Christian Democratic Union, the country’s other big mainstream party, in a move widely interpreted as a first step toward engineering her succession and silencing ever louder critics within her own camp.

While unrelated, the two developments cast light on the crisis that engulfed Germany’s political center when the two parties that had dominated government here since the end of World War II both scored their worst election results in more than half-a-century late last year, leaving the country without a clear ruling majority.

The center-left SPD, the country’s oldest party, has suffered the most. It saw its rating drop to 15.5% in an INSA Consulere poll for the popular Bild daily published on Monday, the first time it had dropped behind the anti-establishment AfD, which rose one point to 16% in a week.

The phenomenon isn’t confined to Germany—the moderate left has suffered deep setbacks in France, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands in recent years—but it has left pollsters scratching their heads.

“The SPD is currently falling apart,” said INSA’s Hermann Binkert. “The AfD is currently the only party that’s decisively against everything that people upset about the political establishment.”
The pollsters are either playing disingenuous or they are stupid. The reason the moderate left is being abandoned in Europe is the same reason that Republicans are on the rise in the USA despite the demographics being increasingly against them. Most people of European descent on the Left want to live in a progressive white country and despite their past enthusiasm for foreigners, minorities, and refugees, they have belatedly discovered that they don't actually want their children to be a minority dominated by a variety of foreign interest groups with different cultures, traditions, and civilizational standards.

Not only that, but they are seeing their parties align with their decades-old political opponents as both globalized parties unite in a futile attempt to stop the rising nationalists.

Of course, in the SPD's case, it doesn't do much for their appeal that until one week ago, the party was being led by an EU apparatchik who has openly stated,  “For me, the new Germany exists only in order to ensure the existence of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 19, 2018

EXCERPT: The Lords of Creation

An excerpt from John C. Wright's masterpiece of pulp madness, SUPERLUMINARY: The Lords of Creation.

Aeneas Tell of House of Tell, the youngest of the Lords of Creation, was twenty-one when he was assassinated for the first time.

His secondary brain came awake while his primary brain was still foggy with strange dreams. Alert to danger, the secondary brain stopped the nerve pulses from the primary brain which otherwise would have let him groan and open his eyes, which would have precipitated the nervous killer’s attack.

But his primary brain had been in the delta brainwave stage of sleep, a deep and dreamless slumber. There was no sound, no light, no disturbance. What had broken his sleep? A memory, like an echo, of terrible multiple toothaches left a metallic taste in his mouth.

He had been dreaming about his insane grandfather, the Emperor. The old man had been telling him about the secrets of the universe… then a stinging pain in his teeth had jarred him awake. But how could Aeneas remember a dream when he had not been in the desynchronous brainwave state in which dreaming was possible?

Aeneas, eyes still closed, not daring to move, increased the firing rate of his auditory nerves. He was laying on the nongravity cushion of his opulent four-poster bed. The neverending whisper of the high-altitude winds of Mount Everest beyond the bubble of weather-controlled air was now loud to him.

On these upper peaks his family had erected the proud imperial palace-city of Ultrapolis, whose towers and domes were impregnable behind concentric force-shells and thought-screens. None of the artificial or bio-modified races of the nine worlds, fifty worldlets, and one hundred eighty moons of the Solar System could bring any realistic threat to bear on these defenses, not while the twelve ranking members of the House of Tell, the so-called Lords of Creation, retained control of the stratonic supertechnology known only to them.

But betrayal from within was another matter.

The quiet hiss of the protective screen that the bedposts projected around the bed was gone. He could not hear the heartbeats of his two bodyguards posted in the anteroom of his apartments. Instead he heard the heartbeat, louder and faster than was possible for an unmodified human being, of the assassin.

As the youngest member of the Family, Aeneas had been stuffed into the oldest wing of the oldest palace, and no other guards were within shouting distance.

There was no sound of footsteps on the nightingale wood floor of his bedchamber, and so for a moment Aeneas had a false sense of hope. But the sound of the racing heart was close at hand.

The killer was in the chamber with him.

Then he felt a waft of intense cold radiating from the cells of the man’s body. The assassin was near the bed, coming closer, bending over him.

Aeneas reflexively focused a thought to his signet ring, asking alarms silently to ring and the armaments hidden in the walls to slay the intruder. But there was no response. The electrotelepathic circuit was blocked.

The nanoscopic thought-broadcast cells his mother had implanted in the bones of his skull likewise were blocked when he tried to send needle-thin neuropsionic signals to receivers hidden in the ceiling.

A sharp, stabbing pain reappeared in his lower left molar, and then vanished. And then an upper incisor throbbed with a pain that vanished, and then a bicuspid. It was an basic proprioception code. It read: Intruder in dis-inertia armor… negative-vitality field integument… contortion node detected…

Of course. The killer was wearing armor that contorted the fabric of space a few inches in each direction around himself and lowered his inertia. It would prevent ordinary weapons, bullets or monomolecular blades, from imparting kinetic energy to him to do damage. Hence he could glide across the floor without imparting any pressure to the special floorboards biogineered to sound off when they felt an unfamiliar footstep.

The contortion node was a teleportation path for the assassin’s escape.

Modified electroneural ganglia beneath the killer’s skin—impossible for normal antiweapon sensors to detect—had erected a life-energy absorption cocoon. Hence the killer had silently drained Aeneas’ two bodyguards of their life and added it to his own, increasing his neural speed and muscle pressure. It was a vampire field, a modification illegal to all but the highest ranking and most trusted servants of the Lords. And a normal man would be killed at a touch.

Aeneas was no normal man. From hidden retaining cells in his bone marrow he released stored life-energy charges into his body, increasing his nerve-muscle potential beyond what a vampire energized with only two men’s vitality could match.

Faster than a striking snake and stronger than a rhino, Aeneas flung up the bedsheet and drove his fist into the man’s chest.

Labels: , ,

Flynn to withdraw guilty plea

At least, we are told that something of the sort appears to be in the works:
On Friday, Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order in United States v. Flynn that, while widely unnoticed, reveals something fascinating: A motion by Michael Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea based on government misconduct is likely in the works.

Just a week ago, and thus before Sullivan quietly directed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to provide Flynn’s attorneys “any exculpatory evidence,” Washington Examiner columnist Byron York detailed the oddities of Flynn’s case. The next day, former assistant U.S. attorney and National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy connected more of the questionable dots. York added even more details a couple of days later. Together these articles provide the backdrop necessary to understand the significance of Sullivan’s order on Friday....

In his plea agreement, Flynn agreed to “forego the right to any further discovery or disclosures of information not already provided at the time of the entry of Flynn’s guilty plea.” On Wednesday, however, the attorneys in the Flynn case presented the court an agreed-upon protective order governing the use of the material — including sensitive material — the special counsel’s office provides Flynn. This indicates Mueller’s team will not fight Sullivan’s standing order based on the terms of Flynn’s plea agreement.

Why Bombshells Are Likely Ahead

With a protective order in place, Flynn’s attorneys should start receiving the required disclosures from the special counsel’s office. There is reason to believe these will include some bombshells.

First, we know from the recently released GOP House Intelligence Committee memo and the Grassley-Graham criminal referral of Christopher Steele, the FBI and DOJ withheld significant (and material, in my view) information in seeking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. There is cause to believe the FISA court was connected to the criminal charge filed against Flynn because Contreras, who recused less than a week after accepting Flynn’s guilty plea, “is one of just three FISA court judges who sits in the District of Columbia, where it is likely the Trump-Russia FISA warrants were sought.”
Looks like things are about to heat up again on the Drain the Swamp front. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: This may be one of those bombshells.
Investigative journalist Mike Cernovich dropped a hot story on Sunday night. According to Mike, former Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Andrew McCabe altered far left FBI investigator Peter Strzok’s notes on his interview with General Michael Flynn. And then McCabe destroyed the evidence.

Labels: , ,

SUPERLUMINARY: The Lords of Creation

Being assassinated once may be an accident. Being assassinated twice is enemy action.

Aeneas Tell of the House of Tell is one of the youngest Lords of Creation. His family rules the Nine Worlds through its control of the ultra-advanced technology that has permitted the colonization of the entire solar System. More gods than men, the Lords of Creation have cheated Death itself.

But even a quasi-immortal god will take exception to being assassinated. Twice. Especially when the assassin turns out to be a someone he thought was a friend.

SUPERLUMINARY is the latest and most outrageous creation of science fiction grandmaster John C. Wright, the Dragon-award winning author of THE UNWITHERING REALM, THE GOLDEN AGE, MOTH & COBWEB, and AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND. THE LORDS OF CREATION is the first book in the series.

Book Club subscribers, don't go looking for your missing email. I'm waiting for something else to happen before I send out it out to you, most likely tomorrow. But go ahead and pick up THE LORDS OF CREATION today, you'll still be eligible for the free book. It's vintage John C. Wright, one part THE GOLDEN AGE, one part CITY BEYOND TIME, and one part science lecture delivered by a bio-physicist on acid.

Labels: ,

Fast and Furious II


The Anonymous Conservative suspects that school shootings are directly related to the Deep State's increasingly desperate attempts to disarm the American public.
If Q is correct, and these school shootings only started once sending kids to therapy became fashionable because the shooters are being programmed while in therapy, there is no end to the disturbing implications. First is obviously the nature of the people in power who would think nothing of programming an innocent kid to murder, and ruin his entire life, while killing scores of other innocent children. These are astonishingly evil people, in full control of the nation from behind the scenes, if this is true.

Second is the idea that this is being done to further gun control. That means the gun control is only the initial objective. What is step two, once they have enacted the gun control? What are they planning which requires our population be rendered entirely incapable of resisting? What do they want to do, which they know is so horrific it would make everyone so enraged they would rebel openly if they tried it? Think how evil these people would be if this is true. Nothing is impossible. Demanding mandatory euthanasia at age 70? Mandatory abortions of all children after number two? Child sacrifices to Molloch for the benefit of the elites? Governmental kidnappings and forced organ transplants for the elites?
It sounds crazy, of course. But then, if we have learned anything over the last 10 years, it is that the conspiracy theorists are usually more or less right. Remember when you had to be a tin foil hat-wearer to believe that the government was electronically spying on everyone? Remember when the idea that government agencies were laundering money, running drugs, and walking illegal guns was totally beyond the realm of credibility?

Let's face it, any government that has been caught planning to commit domestic terrorism against its own citizens in order to justify a war against Cuba is capable of anything.

Fortunately, given the ongoing progress of the God-Emperor in his campaign against the corrupt bureaucrats, we should find out the truth regarding these sociopathic operations in the reasonably near future. I suspect this sort of thing only scratches the surface of what Q and others warn is literally beyond imagination.

The thing is, whatever psychopath came up with the inspiration for these programs completely failed to understand basic American psychology. No American with even a modicum of an instinct for self-preservation is going to a) disarm himself and b) trust the government to protect him and his family when c) the government has permitted 130 million aliens to move in next door and d) the police have no legal obligation to protect or defend anyone.

If there are more school shootings, then Americans will give up their schools, not their guns. All the media drum-beating is pointless, as it has been for the last 30 years, because any politician who comes out and endorses more gun control will be punished brutally at the polls.

It is worth noting that both the FBI and the Broward County Sheriff's Office were strangely reluctant to do anything that might impede Cruz shooting up the school, even though they had both been alerted to his intentions by Cruz and others.
As was reported on Friday, the FBI had been alerted that a particular pasty-faced virgin down in Florida was probably going to shoot up his old school. He had put up social-media posts to that effect, cleverly shielding his identity from the steely-eyed G-men by signing his legal name to those public threats. The epigones of J. Edgar Hoover may not be Sherlock Holmes, but presumably they can read, and some public-minded citizen took some screen shots and sent them to the FBI.

The FBI of course did what the relevant authorities did in the case of Omar Mateen, the case of Nidal Hasan, the case of Adam Lanza: nothing.

We could replace these guys with trained monkeys, if we could train monkeys to be self-important.

The FBI has ‘protocols’ for handling specific credible threats of that sort, ‘protocol’ here being a way of saying, ‘Pick up the phone and call the local field office or, if we really want to get wild, the local police.’

The Friday press conference on that little oversight was a masterpiece of modern bureaucracy. The FBI has “protocols” for handling specific credible threats of that sort, “protocol” here being a way of saying, “Pick up the phone and call the local field office or, if we really want to get wild, the local police.” “The protocol was not followed,” the FBI bureaucrats explained. Well, no kidding. Why not? No answer — the question wasn’t even asked aloud. Did law enforcement’s ball-dropping mean that a preventable massacre went unprevented because of bureaucratic failure? “I don’t think anybody could say that,” says Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who is leading the investigation. His department had over the years received no fewer than 20 calls related to the shooter. What about that? “Make no mistake about it, America, the only one to blame for this incident is the killer himself,” which is exactly the sort of thing a sanctimonious schmuck says when he doesn’t want to consider the institutional failures right in front of his taxpayer-subsidized nose and the culpable negligence — to say nothing of the sand-pounding stupidity — of his own agency.

The FBI has a budget of $3.5 billion, almost all of which goes to salaries, benefits, and other personnel costs. Do you know how many employees the FBI field office in South Florida has? It has more than 1,000. Do you know how many employees the FBI has in total? It has 35,158 employees. It has 13,084 agents and 3,100 intelligence analysts.

And not one of them could pick up the phone to forward vital intelligence gathered by the grueling investigative work of picking up the phone and taking a tip from a tipster. Would the sheriff have taken that call more seriously than his department took the 20 other calls relating to the killer?
Occam's Razor suggests that the reason the FBI did nothing to interfere with Cruz, Mateen, Hasan, or Lanza is because they did not wish to dissuade them from their actions. When both the logic and the evidence contradicts your assumptions, it is wise to question them.

Labels: ,

Europe's last hope

Christianity just happens to be Man's last hope as well:
Hungary's Prime Minister has claimed that 'Christianity is Europe's last hope' after accusing politicians in Brussels, Berlin and Paris of causing the 'decline of Christian culture and the advance of Islam'.

During his annual state of the nation speech, Viktor Orban said his government will oppose efforts by the United Nations or the European Union to 'increase migration' around the world. In a passionate speech, he claimed that Islam would soon 'knock on Central Europe's door' from both the west and the south.

Orban, who is seeking a third consecutive term in April's elections, called for a global alliance against migration. In his speech, he insisted that Western Europe is being overtaken by Muslims, before claiming that 'born Germans are being forced back from most large German cities, as migrants always occupy big cities first.'

He made the claims as his right-wing populist Fidesz party began campaigning for an April 8 election in which it is expected to win a third consecutive landslide victory.
He's absolutely right. Christianity is the only hope for both Christendom and Mankind. The false and wholly secular Judeo-Islamo-Churchianity that celebrates migration and global government, and promises that men will be like gods because science, is the long-predicted evil straight out of Hell.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, Judeo Christ is Antichrist. Immigration and inclusivity are his weapons.

And there is nothing Christian about the Churchians that have taken over and converged the formerly Christian churches of the West. Merely talk to one of those self-professed "Christian" priests or pastors and it won't take five minutes before the stink of sulfur begins to assail your nostrils. It's remarkable to see how many of them are made visibly uncomfortable by the name of Jesus Christ and how they try to avoid using it.

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 18, 2018

EXCERPT: The Promethean

This work of comedic art by Owen Stanley is one of the funnier novels you will ever read. It lampoons everything from Silicon Valley and American tech entrepreneurs to British academia, the British police, and the social justice movement. Available in ebook, paperback, and hardcover on Amazon. You can also acquire the print editions at Castalia Direct.

Harry had been away for several days in London and was looking forward to getting back to his apartment at Tussock’s Bottom. His computer-controlled gadget system, Home Sweet Home, had been working brilliantly, and his voice commands and his smartphone allowed him to control his domestic environment in fanatical detail from every aspect of his personal comfort to the functioning of the apartment. He looked forward to eventually having a cranial implant through which his whims could be instantly gratified by thought control.

His automatic servants woke him gently with soft light and crooning music, boiled him a preliminary cup of coffee correctly ground, filtered, and brewed, with just the right amount of soya milk, ran his bath with the water at 102°F, cooked his breakfast to a planned menu that selected from 53 different items, prepared his other meals as he needed them, turned down his bed in the evening, drew the blinds, automatically hoovered his carpets with the robot vacuum cleaner, selected his drinks from a vast liquor cabinet and poured whatever mixture he required as he lay back in his high-tech ergonomic executive chair, selected his programmes on TV or a book from the bookcase, ordered his groceries from the fridge, collected and compacted the garbage, washed the windows, monitored the central heating, air conditioning, humidity, and airborne particulates, and maintained the formidable security system.

It was techno-paradise.

As he flew back to Tussock’s Bottom in the helicopter with Jerry, Harry used his smartphone to instruct the Internet of Things in his apartment to receive him in especially lavish style that evening to celebrate his highly successful meeting with Dr. Sharma. He spent some time on the details of the lighting effects, the exact temperature and humidity, the vintage of the champagne, the provenance of the caviare, and, of course, the various courses of the dinner itself. They landed on the roof of the apartment and went down the steps from the helipad to the front door. This normally opened as soon as the camera above it had computed Harry’s biometrics when he was a few feet away, but on this occasion it remained obstinately shut. His radio fob was equally useless, and it was only when Jerry had spent several minutes fumbling in his briefcase for the key that they were finally able to enter the apartment.

Inside it was pitch dark, and they were met by a blast of superheated stinking air and ominous sounds of crunching. As they squelched their way slowly across the sodden carpet, they were jolted by a piercing shriek from the burglar alarm and a second later were knocked off their feet by Autovac, the robot vacuum cleaner which shot out of the darkness like a vast hockey puck. Picking themselves up, dripping and cursing, they tried to find a light switch, but Harry had forgotten where these primitive contrivances might be found since the lights were normally controlled by his voice commands, or by the computer. After a few minutes, he and Jerry gave up in helpless disgust and retreated outside again, where from the balcony, after a few minutes, they saw the approach of flashing blue lights.

These turned out to belong to the local fire brigade, alerted by the alarm, which for some reason had neglected to tell the police or the ambulance service. Two firemen were first up the steps, and the larger of the two was a huge man with an axe, inevitably known as Tiny by his mates, who had a rather simple sense of humour. He looked most disappointed to find that the front door was already open. It was made of solid oak, unlike most of the rubbish doors that he usually had to smash down, and he really would have enjoyed the challenge of reducing this one to matchwood. Trying not to let his disappointment show, Tiny began asking Harry and Jerry what the problem was. But before the firemen could go in and start sorting it out, their boss, the Incident Commander, arrived to stop them.

He explained to Harry and Jerry that he had not received sufficient information from the initial alarm call to be able to plan his response properly, and since the place was in darkness, Health and Safety regulations required him to do a risk assessment with the remote-controlled robot before any entry could be made. He called up the Emergency Operations Centre on his radio to make a preliminary report and asked for permission to use the robot, which four more firemen then had to heave up the steps from the fire truck.

It was a multi-purpose robot mounted on tracks, designed to deal with terrorists and bombs as well as surveying dangerous environments with its various detectors and audio-visual equipment. After the Commander and his team spent several minutes checking the battery and setting the controls, it trundled off through the front entrance, when almost immediately there followed a thunderous bang as it was violently attacked by the vacuum cleaner, which it promptly destroyed with blasts from both barrels of its on-board shotgun. The video camera displayed the mangled remains of the vacuum cleaner splattered over the walls and then beamed back dimly lit pictures showing the kitchen area in complete disarray, with food all over the floor, followed by a view of the lavatory overflowing, but no one in the apartment.

“Okay, so now can we get inside?” said Harry, about to burst a blood vessel from frustration and rage. “There’s clearly no one in there, except for your homicidal robot.”

“Not yet, I’m afraid,” said the Incident Commander. “We can’t rush these things. There may be other hazards besides intruders. First, I have to access the Mobile Data Terminal, which is on the truck, to identify the risks on our Fire Brigade database that may be associated with this location, and only then can I develop my action plan to address the situation. I’ll be needing your cooperation to answer a number of questions.”

What the Incident Commander was really looking forward to was sending the message “INITIATE MAJOR INCIDENT PROCEDURE,” which would allow him to do all sorts of exciting things like evacuating the neighbourhood, putting up barricades and cordons, and setting up a command post to coordinate the other emergency services, but after being assured by Jerry that there was no danger from natural gas, methane, high-voltage power lines, microwave transmissions, explosives, radioactive substances, or industrial quantities of concentrated acids, he reluctantly concluded that initiating a major incident procedure would not be a career-enhancing move, and therefore the apartment could be entered safely by his men, though not yet by civilians.

Tiny and his mate Ginger walked into the apartment and turned on the lights at the switch by the front door. “It don’t half pong in ’ere,” said Ginger, “like a million elephants farted. And what’s that weird noise?”

Labels: , ,

CPAC converged

CPAC underlines my point about the total worthlessness of the so-called "conservative movement":
The Stream has been warning Christians that our religious liberty is in danger. Both Maggie Gallagher and John Zmirak pointed to the crucial upcoming race in Pennsylvania. There the GOP establishment has endorsed a candidate who sponsored a pro-trans “bathroom bill” with no protections for dissenters.

Such disasters don’t come from nowhere. They emerge because the conservative movement itself is undergoing an LGBT-inspired purge.

Consider the phone call Dan Schneider made to Brian Camenker in early February 2018. Dan Schneider is the Executive Director of the Conservative Political Action Conference. (“CPAC” wields great influence in politics. Just how great? Donald J. Trump is speaking at their yearly convention!)

Brian Camenker is the president of Mass Resistance. That’s a decades-old network of grassroots organizers. His groups fight radical left-wing movements in schools, local communities, and state policies. You may not have heard of Mass Resistance because its chapters focus on local activism, not always elections. They tend not to congregate on Twitter but encompass many people. Mass Resistance works with the folks who got Donald J. Trump elected.

Mr. Camenker had applied to run a table at CPAC’s big conference. CPAC approved his application and took his payment. Then about ten days before CPAC, Mr. Schneider told Mr. Camenker that he had changed his mind. He unilaterally rescinded the contract between Mass Resistance and CPAC.

Why? Mr. Camenker opposed transgender and homosexual curriculum for children in 2015. He used language that is less than perfectly … winsome. How does Mr. Schneider know about these comments? Because he found a video clip online. That’s thanks to gay activists who have indexed Mass Resistance as a “hate group.” So gay activists are now vetting who can speak at “conservative” events. Isn’t that special?

Mr. Schneider has barred Camenker him from exhibiting at CPAC. It seems that CPAC wants more gay lobbyists with deep pockets. So CPAC is now stiff-arming religious folks who want the public library to stop pushing sodomy on four-year-olds.

CPAC has come a long way since it worried about including gay Republican groups like the Log Cabins. Now CPAC serves as their enforcement wing. It silences conservatives for stating that homosexuality or transgenderism might be objectionable.
Which, of course, is why they should have kept the Log Cabin Republicans out in the first place. Convergence always begins with foolish inclusivity. Sacrifice one principle, and it is only a matter of time before you sacrifice the rest of them.

Alt-Right or nothing, Christians. This proves, again, that there is absolutely no point in relying upon the conservatives to accomplish anything except your surrender. Conservatives have COMPLETELY failed in literally every possible way. It was a movement that was always destined to fail, since it was never anything more than a posture and a pose. About the only progressive objective that conservatives haven't embraced is your disarmament.

And I wouldn't count that out in the aftermath of the next school shooting, considering the way in which their donors are threatening to stop writing checks if they don't cave on gun control too.

I am proud to have never described myself as a conservative. People used to wonder why I didn't, but I trust that my reasoning is more readily apparent today.

Labels: ,

A clueless chief of staff

Reading this account of Reince Preibus's short-lived term as White House Chief of Staff, one does not wonder why Trump brought him on - it was an olive branch to the Republican Establishment - but how the guy ended up in charge of the RNC in the first place:
Priebus was hobbled by two other factors. A former Republican National Committee chairman from Kenosha, Wisconsin, he barely knew his new boss, and he was part of the establishment that Trump had vilified. Moreover, during the campaign, the two men had been known to feud. Trump had been especially resentful of Priebus’s reaction to the campaign’s existential crisis just a month before Election Day: the release of the tawdry Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump had made graphic misogynist comments that were caught by an open microphone.

The morning after the video surfaced, Trump’s candidacy had been pronounced all but dead in the media. In response, the beleaguered nominee’s top aides—campaign C.E.O. Stephen Bannon, former New York mayor Rudy Giu­liani, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump—gathered at Trump Tower for a war council to advise the candidate on whether he should stay in the race or quit.

The nominee, sleep-deprived, surly, his jaw clenched, posed the crucial question: in light of the videotape, what were his chances of winning? Priebus went first: “If you decide to stay in, you will lose in the biggest landslide in American political history.” One by one, Trump’s other advisers danced around the question—until finally it was Bannon’s turn. “One hundred percent,” he declared. “One hundred percent you’re going to win this thing. Metaphysical.” (Priebus recalled things differently, saying no one was that emphatic.)

Trump, of course, pulled off an astonishing upset. And a month later, McDonough met his successor as chief of staff in the West Wing lobby and escorted him to his office. As the former chiefs went around the table, giving Priebus advice, they were unanimous about one thing: Trump would be unable to govern unless Priebus was empowered as first among equals in the West Wing. Trump’s incoming chief dutifully took notes on a yellow pad.

Suddenly there was a commotion; Barack Obama was entering the room. Everyone stood and shook hands, then Obama motioned for them to sit. The 44th president’s own chiefs—Rahm Emanuel, Bill Daley, Jack Lew, McDonough, and Pete Rouse (who served unofficially)—were all pres­ent, and Obama nodded toward them. “Every one of these guys at different times told me something that pissed me off,” Obama said, flashing his familiar grin. “They weren’t always right; sometimes I was. But they were right to do that because they knew they had to tell me what I needed to hear rather than what I wanted to hear.” Obama looked at Priebus. “That’s the most important function of a chief of staff. Presidents need that. And I hope you will do that for President Trump.” With that, Obama said his good-byes and departed.
Why would you ever listen to what someone said after he had demonstrated such a complete inability to read the electorate or predict the future? I'm astonished that Trump even pretended to take the guy's opinion seriously at all.

We have a tendency to believe that those who are around the positions of power must be smarter or more astute than the average individual in some way. We are endlessly lectured on the importance of their gravitas, their credentials, their educations, and their comportment. But the truth is more often than not that they simply happen to have had access to money, power, or influence. It's not just the USA, almost every democracy is run by people who are no more intelligent, and have no better judgment, than those annoying kids that were on your high school student council.

Except the kids you knew on your student council were less arrogant, less sheltered, and less corrupt than the average politico.

Labels:

Barnes & Noble: the beginning of the end

The end of the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain has not yet arrived. But it is now in sight:
I’ve been chronicling the slow demise of B&N for years now, watching the company bleed out, drop by drop, until it has become a shell of its former value. B&N was a cultural center in places without cultural centers. It was a stopover on rainy days in New York, Chicago, and Cleveland and it was a place you could go to get your kids’ first books.

That’s mostly over now. On Monday the company laid off 1,800 people. This offered a cost savings of $40 million. But that’s particularly interesting. That means each of those people made an average of $22,000 or so per year and minimum wage workers – hourly folks who are usually hit hardest during post-holiday downturns – would be making $15,000. In fact, what B&N did was fire all full time employees at 781 632 stores. From a former employee:

On Monday morning, every single Barnes & Noble location told their full-time employees to pack up and leave. The eliminated positions were as follows: the head cashiers (those are the people responsible for handling the money), the receiving managers (the people responsible for bringing in product and making sure it goes where it should), the digital leads (the people responsible for solving Nook problems), the newsstand leads (the people responsible for distributing the magazines), and the bargain leads (the people responsible for keeping up the massive discount sections). A few of the larger stores were able to spare their head cashiers and their receiving managers, but not many.

Further, the company laid off many shipping receivers around the holidays, resulting in bare shelves and a customer escape to Amazon. In December 2017, usually B&N’s key month, sales dropped 6 percent to $953 million. Online sales fell 4.5 percent.

It is important to note that when other big box retailers, namely Circuit City, went the route of firing all highly paid employees and bringing in minimum wage cashiers, stockers, and salespeople it signaled the beginning of the end.
It's actually worse than was originally reported, because Barnes & Noble had already shut down 149 of those 781 stores.

The decline of Barnes & Noble is both sad and exciting, as far as I'm concerned. Sad, because the bookstore was an important part of my early adulthood. I used to go to the original Roseville store after work on payday to spend most of my monthly $50 book budget on what gradually became an impressive collection of SF/F paperbacks, augmented by an eclectic assortment of hardcovers picked up on remainder. That's why I still have all the Dorset Press books, like The Kingdom of Armenia by M. Chahin and The Mabinogion, translated and introduced by Jeffrey Gantz, on the bookshelves in my office.

A few years later, Spacebunny and I used to spend almost every Friday night at the Har Mar Barnes & Noble after working out and having dinner with the guys at Khan's Mongolian BBQ. That was also where, as a newly published SF author, I participated in the store's biggest-ever book-signing with David Arneson, Gordon R. Dickson, Joel Rosenberg, and David Feintuch, all of whom have since left us. For more than a decade, Barnes & Noble was a touchstone for me.

But the incipient failure of the chain also means that new opportunities are in store. It means that Amazon's influence over the book world will grow stronger and the power of the Big Five will be further weakened. It means chaos and excitement and danger, and an environment in which the most nimble and adroit can profit most.

So, it's going to be an interesting ride ahead. I hope you will join us on it. And since I'm often asked how our readers can most effectively support us when you buy our books, the answer is buying our print edition books through the Castalia Direct Store. The interface absolutely sucks and the prices are not always as good as Amazon, but we are working with our partners are Aerio on improving both. The alternative is to be completely dependent upon Amazon, which strikes me, for one, as a risky idea.

Labels: ,

Wakanda is Israel

It's rather bizarre to see all the "hurrah for African nationalism" hooplah about Black Panther when it is clearly just more globalist propaganda dressed in a dashiki. WATYF went to see the movie so you don't have to; he responded to the following exchange between MOTW and me in which we theorized precisely how it would be converged. And, as it turns out, it is a severely converged movie that subverts, rather than celebrates, the very nationalism it so ostentatiously displays.

MOTW: I even predict that the second Black Panther movie will have a villain who wants to bring the traditional nationalist values back to Wakanda, but the Black Panther--who will by then be SJW enlightened and will thus have accepted the glories of progressive globalism--will fight to stop Wakanda's return to its past "dark ages" of nativism and "regressivism". Thus, in this movie, they show a nationalistic Wakanda so that they can then use that premise in movie two to show how much better Wakanda becomes once it turns globalist and progressive. That is my prediction.

VOX: I was actually expecting them to pull that in this movie.

WATYF: They did.

How many people here actually saw this movie? I thought I saw some comments about how this movie was pro-nationalist and so would undercut the SJWs and what not. Was this something they concluded from second-hand info? Because that's the opposite message that this movie conveys.

I'll leave aside the non-political things I didn't like about this movie (the CGI, the incoherent motives of the Big Bad, the lousy fight choreography, the hammy accents/acting) and focus on the political message.

The Big Bad is angry at the history of black oppression (and maybe even oppression in general, but mostly black oppression) and he's also pissed that Black Panther's dad killed his dad. He tricks some white dude into helping him steal back an artifact that was stolen from Wakandans by evil Whitey a long time ago. Afterwards, he double-crosses the white dude because it ends up he only wanted to kill him so he could deliver him (a wanted Wakandan criminal) to the Wakandans as a way to leverage his way in the door and gain some clout.

Once there, he points out how Wakandans shouldn't be in hiding, letting oppression of their people (I guess all black people are their people or something) go on around the world. They should be helping. Not just helping, but ruling. Black Panther talks about how important it is that they protect Wakanda and its secrets and how it has always been this way. Big Bad challenges Black Panther for the crown and wins, then sets in motion a plan to send advanced weapons to all of the "oppressed people" around the world so they can rise up against their oppressors.

Yes, some of the social justicey things are put in the mouth of the Big Bad, but they are done so in a sympathetic manner, not in a way that makes him sound crazy or even wrong. This is demonstrated by the fact that by the end of the movie, after defeating the Big Bad and giving him a chance to see one last Wakandan sunset and say a few words about the evils of slavery before finally dying, Black Panther decides that the Big Bad was right all along (at least in part).

First, he goes to America and buys up a bunch of buildings in the projects so he can "make a difference". Then, in a post-credit scene that made me groan audibly, he goes to the UN, announces their intention to start aiding the world and taking a more active role in it, reveals their secret advanced status (since up to that point everyone assumed they were just a poor nation of farmers) and gives a "Can't we all just get along" speech that rivals anything ever said by any milquetoast, white-guilt-addled liberal. Something about "there's much more that unites us than divides us" and all that hippy-dippy garbage.

There is nothing "nationalist" about this movie. If anything, it's about how a nationalist learned that his nationalism was wrong.

I will say that the preachy context in the main part of the film was more subtle and that if you didn't hang around for the post-credit scene then you may have missed exactly what they were trying to say, but after the speech he gives at the UN, the message couldn't have been clearer.

Metaphorical translation: Wakanda is Israel. The primary theme is the selfish evil of nationalism versus the imperialist imperative of tikkun olam and blessing the world through magnanimous superiority. The memes are wrong. This movie is not even remotely Alt-Right. It is as every bit as cancerous and converged as we expected.

And why on Earth would you ever have expected anything else from Disney? SJWs ALWAYS double down.

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Then go join the Democrats

Along with all the other Fake Americans:
A prominent Republican political donor demanded on Saturday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style firearms to civilians.

Al Hoffman Jr., a Florida-based real estate developer who was a leading fund-raiser for George W. Bush’s campaigns, said he would seek to marshal support among other Republican political donors for a renewed assault weapons ban.

“For how many years now have we been doing this — having these experiences of terrorism, mass killings — and how many years has it been that nothing’s been done?” Mr. Hoffman said in an interview. “It’s the end of the road for me.”

Mr. Hoffman announced his ultimatum in an email to half a dozen Republican leaders, including Jeb Bush and Gov. Rick Scott of Florida. He wrote in the email that he would not give money to Mr. Scott, who is considering a campaign for the Senate in 2018, or other Florida Republicans he has backed in the past, including Representative Brian Mast, if they did not support new gun legislation.

“I will not write another check unless they all support a ban on assault weapons,” he wrote. “Enough is enough!”
Hmmm, Florida-based. Checks Infogalactic. Confirmed. Fake American.

Hoffman was raised on the south side of Chicago, the youngest of seven children. His father, a Jewish Austrian, emigrated to the United States in 1906 and opened a poultry store, while his mother was a Scottish-American immigrant who grew up in Kentucky.

Fake Americans neither understand nor respect fundamental American rights. They may be paper citizens, but they are not Posterity and they are not Americans.

If I were the Chairman of the RNC, I would very publicly expel Mr. Hoffman Jr. from the Republican Party. The man is attempting to use his money and influence to disarm Americans and deny them their unalienable rights. I'd call him a traitor, except, of course, he is not an American at all. Even the civic nationalists with their "creedal nation" nonsense can't deny that, as Mr. Hoffman Jr. does not accept the creed or the Constitution.

Labels: ,

Italia in revolt

Regime change is coming soon to Italy.
A fortnight tomorrow, Italians will go to the polls in an election that was ill-tempered enough before the horror show in Macerata.

The EU’s failed migration policies and the arrival of hundreds of thousands of African migrants on the Italian coast had already made immigration one of the two big issues in the election on March 4. The other is Italy’s dismal economy, currently buried under £2 trillion of national debt. Macerata has raised the stakes even higher.

Most Italians I meet blame their politicians for ineptitude and the EU for abandoning them. They are in a vengeful mood.... Berlusconi’s coalition partners are the hard-Right League or ‘Lega’ (previously the breakaway Northern League) and the even-more-Right-wing neo-fascist Brothers of Italy. Despite the name, they are led by a woman and their candidates include Rachele Mussolini, granddaughter of the wartime dictator.

As for the Left, things are looking bleak. Italy’s centre-Left Democratic Party (PD) is the only one sharing the vision of ever-closer European union peddled by France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel. But Italians want less Europe, not more.

Even diehard supporters of the PD admit this is not their year. Their great hope, the shiny Macron-style Matteo Renzi, was prime minister for five minutes, but destroyed his career with a botched referendum on the constitution in 2016 and had to be replaced by a caretaker PM.

Once the country has voted a fortnight hence, Italy seems likely to join the EU’s anti-Brussels nationalist awkward squad of Poland, Austria, Hungary and others.

There is, though, little appetite for a Brexit-style break with Europe — there will be no ‘Quitaly’ just yet — largely because the country could not stand the economic shock.

But Brussels is viewed with utter contempt. And politicians across the board are now capitalising on the Macerata situation. Berlusconi himself has warned of a ‘social bomb’ as a result and says that just 5 per cent of Italy’s 600,000 migrants are legitimate refugees who should be allowed to stay.

The newspaper La Repubblica has carried a pre-Macerata opinion poll showing that 40 per cent of Italians ‘strongly or very strongly’ agree that migrants represent ‘a danger to public order and personal safety’.

Here in Macerata, 150 miles north of Rome, I find zero appetite for greater European integration — and this is a Left-wing university town.

Historically, it would have been firmly behind the liberal consensus.

Not any more. Even the liberals talk like Ukip, while those on the Right talk of mass deportations.
I'm definitely pro-Lega and pro-Salvini. Berlusconi is getting all the attention, of course, but Salvini is the much more serious player and he's going to be around a lot longer than Silvio. I don't think Italy is psychologically ready to shed the burden of the EU yet, but people dislike it a LOT more than they did back when it was Euros flooding into Italy instead of Africans.

But again, notice the difference between the strength of the reaction and the numbers involved. The European nations will defend themselves before it is too late and they will survive.

Labels: ,

Black is the new black

Black Panther is not only the best superhero movie ever made, it is also the most successful. More or less. This just goes to show that Obama really did heal the racial divide in the United States and end global racism.
By the time the four-day President’s Day holiday stretch ends, Black Panther will have surpassed many of Marvel’s mightiest on the all-time domestic B.O. openers chart. Black Panther is now looking at the 6th best opening of all-time on a 3-day-basis with an estimated $187.6M per industry projections and a mind-blowing $216M over four days.

How much do moviegoers love Black Panther? The Ryan Coogler-directed movie earned an A+ CinemaScore tonight, Marvel’s second after 2012’s The Avengers.

On the 3-day all-time chart, Black Panther is just above Captain America: Civil War ($179.1M). Back in January Fandango reported that out of the gate in its first 24 hours, Black Panther outstripped the advance tickets sales of Civil War, however, analysts didn’t rush to comp the Wakanda superhero to Marvel’s other titles. They just couldn’t believe at the time how massive this was going to be. While Black Panther is under Avengers: Age of Ultron on the 3-day all-time openers list  ($191.2M), the pic is beating the sequel’s four-day run ($204.4M). Black Panther has already left Disney’s Beauty and the Beast ($174.7M) and WB/DC’s Batman v. Superman ($166M) in the dust to become the biggest pre-summer opener of all-time.
This is excellent news. Given the similarly unprecedented success of Wonder Woman, Marvel is clearly going to be doubling down, and doubling down again, on even more diversity.

The door to the disruption of the comics industry just opened that much wider.

It's going to be amusing to read the revisionist reviews when all the critics finally sober up. I expect we will see an arc similar to the one we see after every Star Wars movie.
  1. OMG! It's the BEST since EMPIRE!
  2. Okay, maybe we got a little carried away. But it's still really good!
  3. Well, I mean, it's all right.
  4. Actually, there are a lot of things that don't make any sense.
  5. And are pretty lame, come to think of it.
  6. This movie sucks.
  7. Now, what was the second one called? No, the second of the new ones, not the prequels.
You know it's going to happen. The whispers about the first major plot holes have already begun. And speaking of Star Wars movies, as of Day 62, The Last Jedi had officially fallen $300 million behind its predecessor in domestic box office.

TFA: Day 63 $917.8
TLJ: Day 63 $617.4

Both my December 19th prediction and my January 12th projection of $624 million domestic are looking pretty good. Including the foreign box office, TLJ is currently $745.8 million short. Convergence is expensive.

Labels: ,

USMC lowers officer standards

Because gender equality is more important than winning wars. And why not? Seriously. It's not as if the US Armed Forces have been defending the nation or its borders for the last 60 years anyhow.
The Marine Corps has made a major change to its Infantry Officer Course. The first big challenge for many was a test of physical fitness. If you passed, you moved on. If you didn’t, you washed out. The test was especially difficult for women who had to meet the same standard as the men. Not anymore.

The Infantry Officer Course now uses the physical fitness test as an exercise, and not a pass/fail requirement.

Officials with Marine Corps Training and Education Command told Military.com “that Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller had made a decision in November to transform the test from a high-stakes hurdle to an assessment from which students can drop without risking their place in the course.”

“[Neller] approved modifications to the IOC [program of instruction] to better tie student evaluation and graduation requirements to published infantry training and readiness manual, military occupational specialty specific performance standards, and operating force requirements,” TECOM officials said in a statement.
As the student evaluation and graduation requirements gravitate towards female-friendly subjective homework and classroom attendance standards rather than objective physical standards, we can expect women to increasingly not only complete the Infantry Officer Course, but excel in it. Which, over time, will lead to the consequences explained by Martin Van Creveld and quoted in SJWs Always Double Down:

As Martin van Creveld, the Israeli military historian has noted, the more women enter any professional field, the more men leave it. And as the men depart, so to do the prestige and the economic rewards provided by the field. This creates a vicious cycle that both expels existing men from the field while repelling new men from entering it.

If the universities can be considered a reliable model, we're about three decades away from a majority female Marine Corps. No wonder China is content to patiently wait for its opportunity. This marks the second step in the end of the USMC's historical prestige. Even current female Marine officers understand this.
“Changing this rite of passage will be doing female Marines no favors in trying to be infantry officers,” Marine 2nd Lt. Emma Stokien, a Marine Corps intelligence officer, wrote. “Female Marines often have to work much harder than their peers to earn the same respect, and entering the infantry under the dark cloud of even perceived lowered standards will make this a practically impossible challenge and potentially cause real harm to unit cohesion and the faith between leader and led.”
Permitting women to join the Marine Corps was the first mistake. Unqualified female officers are the second one. But the empire is in decline, and so these events are not even remotely surprising. There will be more unnecessary mistakes in the future and they will be more and more disastrous, until the empire "unexpectedly" crumbles for "no reason at all."

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 16, 2018

Netflix and the credit bubble

Netflix has always been a shady operation, in my opinion. Their streaming business depended entirely upon someone else being forced to pay for most of the enormous bandwidth costs that their delivery system required. They got away with that one somehow, but I think it is unlikely that they'll be able to get away with alleged accounting practices that sound creative even by Hollywood's infamous standards.
This almost-TV network will pay at least twice what anyone else will for original content, whether you are selling a TV series, film – or even a stand-up comedy special.

The modern version of this scheme is enabled by a very unique form of accounting hocus-pocus, used by the almost-TV network.  This accounting magic allows the company to claim that it is generating a “profit”.  The reality is that this company burned through about $2 billion of cash last year, and will burn through another $3-4 billion in 2018.

This almost-TV network simply depreciates the value of all these films and shows over a far longer period of time than everyone else ever has.  The company claims that their definition is legit, because the content is in their own “library”.

This almost-TV network is the 1st to deliver its content in a unique way, using relatively new technology – they were the first company to do it this way on a large scale.  This means the Feds presently have no basis to challenge the almost TV-network on its suspect accounting, because the new “definition” has not been proven wrong.  Only the ultimate financial collapse of the company will do that.  In the meantime, the accountants and auditors go along for the ride and happily collect their fees, as they always do.

The almost-TV network tells its stockholders that it can taper down this spending spigot in the future, to generate actual cash.  This is an obvious lie, in 2 ways.

If the almost-TV network ever cut spending and new content, many subscribers would drop them like a hot potato.  Second, the company is making many big public commitments to spend money like drunken sailors, for several years into the future.  The huge deal they made this week – that is just to the head guy alone.  It doesn’t count a penny towards what it will cost to make his shows.
This sort of corporate shadiness is yet another sign that the end of the most recent credit bubble is in sight. A commenter on the site had some interesting insights on the Netflix situation by making two historical comparisons.
The AOL fraud was based on an accounting scam where they capitalized all marketing expenses. All those CD-ROMs that you got through the mail and in magazines was claimed by AOL as a "research and development" cost. So could be amortized over seven years instead of charging them against that years accounts. So AOL not only never made any profit but had actually lost huge amounts of money. Which Time Warner discovered the hard way after the merger. Many billions of losses. Its not like everyone in the business at the time did not know that AOL was based on fraud.

The Softkey/Learning Company fraud was based on acquiring larger and larger software companies and greatly inflating the "goodwill" of the acquired companies. So their balance sheet looked great and the companies they acquired were cash rich and had great cash flows. But the scam needed bigger and bigger companies to acquire, like all Ponzi schemes, and when they ran out of companies to gobble up they sold the whole festering sack of shit to the nearest clueless idiot with money. In this case Mattel. Who a few years later had to write off $3 billion in losses and almost went bankrupt.
A friend of mine was involved with a very large corporation that grew through credit-funded mergers; his company was acquired several steps before the final end game. The company had billions in revenue and was worth many multiples more when it finally imploded. It was an extremely educational experience to be able to witness the whole thing gradually play out from the outside.

Labels: ,

The FBI is the problem

What good would more gun control laws do when the FBI would ignore every reported violation of them anyhow?
FBI director must resign: Florida governor demands Fed head step down after Bureau reveals it did not investigate Nikolas Cruz despite being warned of stockpiled guns and desire to kill SIX Weeks before massacre.

The FBI released a statement on Friday revealing that a call came in alerting the agency about Nikolas Cruz being a possible threat in early January. 'The caller provided information about Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts,' said Cruz. That same caller, who contacted the FBI on January 5 via their Public Access Line, also shared their belief that Cruz might conduct a school shooting  The FBI did not investigate despite the 'potential threat to life,' and failed to even alert the Miami field office about the call.

Governor Rick Scott of Florida is now calling on Christopher Wrey to resign as director of the FBI and parents of victims voiced their anger at funerals 'Seventeen innocent people are dead and acknowledging a mistake isn't going to cut it,' said Governor Scott.
Not only that, but police were called out to Cruz's house THIRTY-NINE times. So let's not pretend that the police are going to do one single thing to stop a messed-up lunatic like that, whether there was one more law or one hundred more laws on the books.

The police are not about protection or prevention. They are merely there to clean up after the fact and make the community feel as if the authorities are doing something.

Labels: ,

Alt★Hero update

If you are an Alt★Hero backer or a subscriber to the Arkhaven mailing list, be sure to check your email. We just sent out some VERY important news that you will not want to miss. In addition to a progress update, we have introduced a new character who will be appearing in future issues as well as a detailed update on the design of the role-playing game.

There are very interesting times ahead, because I now have good reason to believe that the Arkhaven project is going to be at least an order of magnitude more disruptive than I had previously imagined.

But regardless of whether our prognostications prove to be astute or not, we are continuing to work hard towards the launch of the initial Alt★Hero and Chuck Dixon's Avalon issues in March.

Labels: ,

Diversity and the USAF

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, the superintendent of the US Air Force Academy, explains how diversity makes the United States Air Force better:
Against ISIS, we are waging a war using the most sophisticated and interconnected combat power in history. But our real advantage is the intellect, innovation, creativity and courage of our troops. If any among us thinks these qualities are defined by race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or identity or any other factor of the human condition, then the Air Force Academy and our military is not the place for them.

The link between diversity and victory does not exist in the abstract. It is real and has been proven throughout history. From 1941 to 1946, in the small, segregated town of Tuskegee, Alabama, black Americans trained to become fighter pilots. They would form the 332nd Fighter Group and serve in the Europe, where they overcame the racism inherent in the WWII Army Air Corps to amass an impressive record.

Over their 15,000 sorties, the Tuskegee Airmen's professionalism, valor and airmanship earned the respect of the B-17 crews they escorted. More importantly, the bomber formations they guarded suffered fewer losses than those escorted by other units, which meant more of their bombers made it to their targets in Germany and back home again. They made the 15th Air Force more lethal, and their contributions were pivotal in the outcome of World War II.

While the Tuskegee Airmen would influence the battle in Europe, the Native American Code Talkers would help the Allies prevail in the Pacific. Approximately 500 Native Americans would enlist in the United States Marine Corps during World War II and use their native languages to encrypt vital communications during combat.

Since the code was just an application of their native language it did not require special equipment and it improved the speed and accuracy of communication on the battlefield. Furthermore, this unique code, which utilized the diversity of America, was never cracked and allowed innumerable critical communications to take place among the Allies, free from the fear of information falling into the Axis powers' hands.

The Allies eventually broke the code of the German Enigma machines, intercepting and exploiting vital information -- a secure communications disparity that would prove crucial to Allied victory in the war. Leveraging our unique talents born from our diversity can offer advantages that even the greatest technologies cannot overcome.

Women would also play a key role during and after the war. More than 1,000 Women Airforce Service Pilots, known as WASPs, were stationed at 122 air bases across the United States. Though limited by the sexism of the time, and barred from front-line roles, they still flew more than 60 million miles in almost every type of aircraft flown by the US Army Air Forces. By testing and delivering aircraft, these women flew thousands of aircraft to the front lines, where they would be flown by their male counterparts in combat. WASPS fought for decades for recognition despite their courageous service; 38 WASPs lost their lives during the war.

After World War II, the military's stark lack of diversity would hinder the nation's efforts during the Cold War. The Soviet Union had leapt ahead in space exploration with the surprise launch of Sputnik and cemented their dominance when Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. Perhaps it wasn't a coincidence that the American space program supplanted the Soviets after female and African-American mathematicians and engineers were integrated into the workforce.
It's probably a good thing that laser anti-aircraft are about to make the Air Force an irrelevant and outmoded branch of the U.S. military. Because if this guy is in charge of training future pilots, the USAF is about to crash and burn.

His examples of the importance of diversity to a military are simply laughable. The 15th Air Force accomplished nothing except murdering German civilians and didn't even slow down German production, which increased throughout the massive strategic bombing campaign. The Navajo codetalkers wouldn't have had a separate language to utilize if they had not been a nation apart. If WASPs had been permitted to fly in combat during WWII, a lot more than 38 of them would have died. And female and African-American mathematicians and engineers had virtually nothing to do with any of the Cold War-era space achievements.

If you cannot see that the US is an empire in steep decline, you simply are not paying any attention.

Labels: , ,

Homeschool or die, part 345

Like clockwork, the media is using the latest school shooting to try to create an unlikely groundswell for unconstitutional federal gun control. And like every other time, it will completely fail to the point that even Democrats won't actually push for it.
The devastated mother of a 14-year-old girl killed in the Florida high mass shooting has unleashed on President Donald Trump, screaming for him to do something to prevent another massacre.

'President Trump, please do something! Do something. Action! We need it now! These kids need safety now,' a grieving Lori Alhadeff begged during a live CNN broadcast on Thursday.

As tears streamed down her face, Alhadeff told of how her daughter Alyssa was among the 17 shot dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday. She glared into the cameras as she furiously demanded answers and urged Trump to take action on gun control.

 Alyssa was among the 17 shot dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday

'How do we allow a gunman to come into our children's school? How do they get through security? What security is there?' she yelled.  'The gunman - a crazy person - just walks right into the school, knocks down the window of my child's door and starts shooting. Shooting her! And killing her! I just spent the last two hours putting together the burial arrangements for my daughter's funeral, who is 14. President Trump, you say what can you do? You can stop the guns from getting into these children's hands. What can you do? You can do a lot! This is not fair to our families and our children to go to school and have to get killed!'
While one has to make allowances for a distraught mother (assuming she is not a crisis actor, which is far from a certain assumption), the idea that the President of the USA can do anything to prevent people from shooting up schools is absurd. Why not simply have him ban poverty, drugs, and teenage pregnancy while he's at it? It's not like there is a law against murder or anything, right?

The truth is that there is only one solution to the problem of school shootings: homeschool.

Although not putting boys on psychotropic medications would probably help.

In the meantime, if the God-Emperor were cruel, he would use the heightened media scrutiny to challenge Democrats to publicly endorse strict gun control legislation. If Democrats are so concerned about school shootings and the American people are so desperate for gun control, why aren't House and Senate Democrats doing anything about it? The answer is that the Democrats don't want to be completely wiped out in the Congressional elections later this year.

And as long as the media is paying attention to guns, President Trump should take the opportunity to declare no gun control will ever be passed on his watch and that any state that does not respect the carry laws of other states will no longer receive federal highway funding. Such a forthright statement, and the massively popular response it would generate, would crush the gun control movement for a generation.

As for the possibility that the woman is a crisis actor, I have to say that the last sentence of the quote rings very, very false to me. I am a professional editor. I know poorly written dialogue when I see it. Also, actual mothers in distress don't usually say things like "my child's door". I can't say it's fake with certainty, but I can certainly say it looks more than a little sketchy when read cold.

And here we go again....

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, February 15, 2018

EXCERPT: Awake in the Night Land

This is a selection from John C. Wright's incredible classic, AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND. If you have not yet had the very great pleasure of reading it yet, you are fortunate indeed. Read the reviews, lest you think I exaggerate.

The monsters still howl for him, months after he fell. In the gloom, I can sometimes see one or the other, sometimes both together, wolfish beasts with leathery hides and dark bristles, and they raise their grinning, shark-like mouths to the black clouds above and utter their cries.

Impossible that such horrors could love a child of Man, and be faithful; impossible. Yet they do not molest the body, nor even approach it.

My brother Polynices lies in plain view on the baked black salt of the Night Land. The hollow where he fell has a smoke-hole in its center, some five yards beyond his motionless, outflung hand, and the smolder from the hole casts a light across his form.

He lies many miles below the armored windows of our redoubt, but even so, the spy-glasses and instruments of the Monstruwacans (those scholars whose business it is to watch the horrors of the Night) leaning from the balconies, can pick out minute details.

The fingers of his gauntlet are stretched out, as if he were reaching for the little warmth of the smoke hole as he perished. He lays on a slight incline, for a circle of salty mineral surrounds the smoke hole and slopes toward it. His boots are toward us. The smoke hole is to his left. His helmet fell from his head, and rolled a yard down the salty slope. The little trail the helmet made as it fell is still visible. There has been no wind, no earth tremors, to disturb the salt crystals and erode the trail. The haft and great wheel of his disk-ax weapon lay to his right, and the shadow of his body falls across it, making details difficult to make out, even under the immense magnifications of the Great Spy Glass. The hair I used to tousle has continued to grow as the months have passed, and now falls across the shoulder-plates of his armor and spills onto the salt. I cannot see those wild locks without wishing for my comb of nacre to put the tangles right. He was always careless of his appearance.

Because of the angle of his fall, I cannot make out his face. Did he die calmly? Or is a rictus of hollow terror and despair frozen forever on his features?

His right forearm is hidden under his body, as if his teeth were seeking the lethal capsule buried under the flesh of his forearm when he fell. Did he fall too swiftly to bite the capsule, and slay himself wholesomely, before his soul and spirit were Destroyed?


There is no blood visible. There is no sign of wounds.

When we were young, my brother and I found a long-deserted balcony lock, and from a previous life he remembered the word to open it.

He and I would climb through the broken armor of the window in one of the abandoned cities in the base level of the Pyramid. With fearless hearts and unsteady feet we would pick among the tilted slabs of imperishable metal, and find a little niche, about five hundred yards above the Night Land, open to the thin air and stinking fumes. We would sit with our lunch basket and spyglass on the corroded lip of some ancient corbel, our legs dangling and kicking above the smoke and darkness of the Land, and we would hear the voices of monsters muttering and hissing underfoot, see the glinting eyes of remote and cyclopean faces, or feel the dull throb of their malice beating against the sheath of energized air surrounding the Pyramid.

There was a series of irregular stairs leading down and down from a little ways below that spot, but we never dared to venture down.

I remember I wore short-pants then, like a boy’s. During my childhood, before I had a name, I was called Païs or Meirax, or something of the sort; the servants called me Annasa, of course.

Because my father was the Castellan, the nurses and tutors had no credible threat to make when I defied them, or tore my girlish pink bloomers to shreds. Later, when I was old enough to know what grief my antics caused my father, or what pleasure my father’s critics in the Opposition Seats, I dressed more demurely outwardly, though inwardly, I suppose, I was much the same.


From the steles we found on that hidden cleft, at the top of those forbidden stairs, we knew this place had been made by the Labdaciteans, great-grandfather’s people. The locks recognized our life-patterns, and called us by his name.

We knew the tale. Before even grandfather was born, Labdacus eroded the power of the Architects, by making climbing paths not shown on their charts, to run from window to window between the levels, that his loyal retainers might circumvent the blockades, when Architects cut power to the inter-municipal Doors, or grounded the great Lifts. Grandfather Laius, when he came of age, rose to preeminence on the promise that all such unlawful paths and places would be destroyed, and the Last Redoubt brought once more into honest conformity with the Great Central Survey of the Architectural Order.

As an adult, I know the horror of wondering if there is some gallery, portal, or open window, unwatched and unlocked against the subtle malice of the enemy, a hole a spider could wriggle through, or a crack to admit a weft. Even we, young as we were, were scandalized to see the breach of Labdacus. His crime was solid before our eyes, as plain to touch as the smooth hole cut in the armor. The massive, ill-made blocks of crooked stair lead down from it as a blood trail leads down from a wound. But it was a pleasing scandal, and our fear made us grin sickly grins, for it was our great-grandfather who had committed, not a petty crime, but a great one.

We promised each other we would never do anything so wicked as meddle with the walls and wards by which Man lives.

But we were also pleased to have a secret known to none, a place only those of the blood of Labdacus could pass. We considered our promise fulfilled by vowing to tell no one of our find. The idea that we should have immediately sent for the Architects, or the local Officer of the Watch, never crossed our young minds.

We were the children of the Castellan, after all.


Not long after my age of majority, not long after my father’s death and the ascension of Creon to power, I came to tread these same broken slabs of ancient metal again.

This time, my footsteps were not as sure as a thoughtless child’s would have been, nor was my costume as suited for the adventure. I wore a skirt to my ankles and a blouse buttoned to my throat, and my hair was pinned up and coiffed in a fashion I envied when it was forbidden to me, but which was now a bother to dress and maintain. My gloves clutched the corroded wall as I inched in my foolishly heeled shoes across the sloping face of the armor, a dizzying drop to the lands of darkness opening up behind and below my bustle.

The child I had been would not have known me. Païs had been so unafraid, and I was so fearful now.
Once only I looked over my shoulder. In the light of a recent volcano, I could glimpse the tall shadows of two kiln-giants, their heads together as if in consultation. One of them raised a heavy hand and pointed at me, while its lamp-eyed companion nodded. This unnerved me, so I clutched the metal beneath my gloves more firmly, and returned my eyes to the task.

I made it around the last turn and came with relief to the sturdier footing and broader step of the ancient and unused corbel.

Polynices was in his armor, standing where once he’d lunched as a child. The long handle of his disk-ax weapon was in his hand, and he leaned upon it in an attitude of alertness, his head staring down at the darkened Land.

He was listening.

Up from the gloom underfoot came the mournful, haunting sound of a Night-Hound, baying.
Having found his hiding place, I did not wish to speak, lest I startle him. I had the mental image of him dropping his Diskos over the side, or, worse, himself.

He said, “Rightly or wrongly, the dogs are mine, and I must feed them.”

I said quietly, “They are monsters. They are howling because they thirst for your blood, not because they love you.”

Polynices shook his head grimly, not bothering to look back at me. “Draego saved my life from the Abhumans. I fed him from my hand, and he knows not how to eat from any other. See! Even now he will not hunt among the crags and chasms of the Night Land, or worry pale flesh of slug-things from their lightless holes or blind fish from poisoned lakes. He starves, and stands before the gates of the Last Redoubt, and howls his love and sorrow for me. Dracaina is often with him, and joins her weeping voice to his.”

“Monsters. Do you not understand the word? Enemies of Man.”

“Not these. Love can break even the power of the Night. My dogs are my friends.”

“They are not dogs! They are Night-Hounds!”

He said nothing, but listened to the mournful howling of the monsters far below.

On and on they wailed. Once, both Night-Hounds fell silent, when the Great Laughter began to issue from a buried country to the east, a deep trench whose upper crumbling banks are visible from the Last Redoubt. Another time, the Hounds were silenced again when a deep and monstrous Voice from a cold volcano cone called out in a long-forgotten language, uttering a rough shout that traveled and echoed across the Night Land like a clap of thunder, traveling away to the North. The Night-Hounds were hushed for a while, perhaps cowering in terror, but then their howling and lamenting began again.

“I had a dream that you would die.” I told him.

He said, “I will find a way to smuggle food out to them. I do not fear the law.”

The Great Laughter issued from the eastern hills and canyons at that moment, trembling across the strange and barren landscapes of the Night, and this seemed a fitter answer than anything I could devise.

Labels: , ,

The SAGA is underway

Will Caligan is already hard at work on SAGA OF THE SWAN KNIGHT. He thought some of you might be interested in having a look at his concept of Gil, the Swan Knight's Son.


Some people have been asking about when they're going to start receiving their Alt-Hero rewards. Links to download the first two digital editions will be going out in March, probably closer to the end than to the beginning. Alt-Hero #1 and Avalon #1 are both illustrated and inked, and are being colored now. Please understand that these are MAJOR undertakings, the work will not be done overnight, and we are actually making remarkably fast progress on them. I will continue to keep all the backers updated through the Arkhaven mailing list.

The reason we are releasing other comics such as Right Ho, Jeeves #1 and Quantum Mortis: A Man Disrupted #1 first is because we need to test both the digital and print processes before we publish anything from the campaign. Remember, we have never done ANY of this before. As for Dark Legion Comics, keep in mind that those publications are already-completed projects that are being brought to us for publishing. For example, all 300+ pages of Rebel Dead Revenge are already complete; we will publish the first of the two graphic novels in print when we publish the digital edition of Issue #5.

Labels: ,

Baa-aaa-aaa, warned the conservative

Kurt Schlichter sternly warns liberals for the 37,479,842nd time that they are now treading DANGEROUSLY near to some very thin ice. Again.
Do you liberals really want new rules allowing violence and terrorism?

Do you liberals really want new rules allowing denormalizing your political opponents?

Do you liberals really want new rules allowing dehumanizing your political opponents?

You may think you do now, but trust me, you really don’t.

Take heed: You are going to hate the new rules.

There is a way out, a way that is obvious to anyone of good faith and common sense, and since it’s always a leftist attacking Republicans, the Democrat leadership needs to lead the way. The way out is to join together with the President and other conservatives and unequivocally reject violence and terror.

Not obliquely.

Not with clichés.

No with a smirk and a wink.

Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and all the other key Democrat leaders must stand on a stage beside Donald Trump and Don Jr. and say, without qualification that this is unacceptable and wrong.
The "dire warning" column is a longtime staple for conservative columnists. I've been hearing conservatives issuing dire warnings to liberals about the dreadful consequences of their actions for nearly 40 years now.  And do you know what I have concluded as a result? Conservatives are not going to do anything at all to resist liberal or government violence, ever. They never have.

They didn't resist when their children were bused. They didn't resist when their schools were secularized. They didn't resist when their country was invaded by 130 million foreigners. They didn't resist when their churches were converged. They didn't resist when their right to carry cash was restricted. They didn't resist when their rights to speech were removed. They didn't resist when their wives left them and divorce-raped them. They didn't resist when their children were kidnapped by judicial fiat.

I no longer believe they will resist even when their guns are confiscated or when their religion is outlawed. What evidence do we have that conservatives will do anything at all except complain about liberals, vote for do-nothing Republicans, and carefully distance themselves from anyone who looks even remotely possible of actually doing anything?

I'm not saying that no one will ever resist gun confiscations. But I am entirely confident that no one who calls himself a conservative will. Conservatives are tough-talking cowards who simply will not disobey whatever they are told by an authority figure is the law. And liberals figured this out a long time ago. That's why they targeted all of the positions of perceived authority. That's why they have to hide their smiles every time someone like Kurt Schlichter waxes dramatic and solemnly warns them... again. Why would anyone expect them to heed yet another dire warning, when every single previous warning has proved to be an empty one?

The last conservative will be still be shaking his finger and warning the cannibals that they had better watch out if they don't change their ways or else while he is being thrown into the boiling cookpot.

Labels: ,

Coming soon to a theater near you

Arkhaven movies. Why? Because now that it has seen its comic sales decline on the strength of its commitment to diversity, Marvel is doubling down and is going to make a stronger commitment to diversity in its movies:
Feige acknowledged that not having to think about diversity and representation is something that easy to take for granted that all cinematic heroes look like him ie: a white male.

“It’s something that’s easy to take for granted, growing up in the United States as a white male, that my cinematic heroes look like me,” said Feige. “I never thought they looked exactly like me, because I’m not a big athletic hero, but they do. It’s something that over the course of these ten years, having a certain amount of power over what type of movies are made and what type of actors we hire, I want everybody to have that feeling. We don’t take it for granted that people want to see themselves reflected in our heroes and our characters. That’s been the case in the comics for years, and, finally, that’s the case in the movies, and will only continue from here.”

Feige just did something that a lot of people are incapable of doing; he acknowledge how easy it is to forget about diversity and representation when they don’t effect you. He “checked his privilege” to use a term that’s been overused and misunderstood. It’s the same with racism or homophobia or any other form of prejudice; just because it doesn’t personally effect you doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. The fact that Feige can acknowledge that sometimes he forgets is important because that is the first step to being truly aware.
I look forward to my first conversation several years from now with a well-established cinematic figure who is duly horrified by my near-complete lack of interest in, or knowledge of, film history, techniques, directors, producers, screenwriters, traditions, and culture.

Q: "How can you possibly expect to be successful when you don't know or care about the industry?"

A: One word: "diversity".

And by soon, I mean five years instead of never.

Labels: , ,

Older Posts