Friday, August 17, 2018

The Crazy and the Dead

This week, after one of the cats had been living in a blackberry thicket behind the house for over a month, the other one had taken to monitoring the gap in the fence where I took out a board so I could put out food for the runaway--that he's still taking, showing no signs of the illness I initially assumed was his reason for abandoning the house.

The runaway cat has always been skittish and odd, the opposite of the other, a black and white tabby friendly to strangers. Despite this they've gotten along well over the years, and I don't know that I've ever seen them get into a proper fight--despite the fact the older one, despite his pleasant disposition, is always ready to scrap with the random tomcats that come around.

"Give me one more summer" I've murmured to him a few times over the last couple of years, as he's started to show his age. We got him sometime around 9/11. Summer, for some reason, is a conceptual homestretch. This year he entered it showing his decline, growing thinner, stiffer. Nonetheless he remained active. A lifetime outdoor cat, coming and going at will, he was still scaling the fence out back, playing, begging for food.

He stood watch over the gap in the fence--worried about the other cat, I assumed--before crossing over and camping out there himself a couple of days ago. Then the creeping lethargy and stiffness of the past weeks, leaving him to stare off blankly, to curl up with difficulty, became total. He stopped eating, then he stopped coming inside. I brought him in--all skin and bones--one last time; he stared at his food and bolted outside, returning to the hole in the fence and making a bed in the dirt and ivy between it and the creek a few feet off.

For two days he slept there, occasionally lifting his head when I came to pet him, weakly, as if out of duty, before laying back down. A few days earlier I had lifted him onto the fence he couldn't scale anymore and sort of spotted him there so he wouldn't fall. A weak purring in his chest. This was the last time for that. I experienced the whitest sentiment: "have I given my cat enough attention?"

But what a blessed life it was for him. Seventeen summers of absolute freedom to hunt and explore, to play with his companions, to loll in someone's lap. The first night we brought him home he slept on my bed and at some point woke me by scratching my face--he was just trying to play. Last night I came home and checked on him, shining a light down upon him and cooing. He raised his head a little. What must this look like to him I wondered--the light overhead from my phone blinding him, my voice? Cats are too smart to be fooled into thinking they see God, probably.

This morning I found him stretched out, as if sliding down the incline toward the creek below. I carried him inside, still warm, not definitively dead. Put him down, pet him just in case he's still "there" a bit--imagine him having an out-of-body experience, watching all this.

I had envisioned an ideal death for him: he gently going to sleep in a favorite place with the sounds of the household around him. But he saw it coming. Bitter but absolutely right what he chose, to be outside, in the dirt and leaves, with the creek reflecting the moonlight, and the normal rhythms of this small patch of land, of which he's been a part, undisturbed and swallowing him up. He drained it to the dregs.

The other cat remains at large.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Marginal Ross

Ross Douthat dares to go halfway there.

In the aftermath of the 2012 election, when just about everyone assumed Mitt Romney lost because he didn’t win enough Hispanic votes, the election analyst Sean Trende produced a dissenting take. A close look at the results across the Midwest and Appalachia revealed a large population of what Trende called circulated for years on the margins of conservatism, and it had obvious influence over Donald Trump’s campaign strategy in 2016.
His mix of economic populism and deliberate racial polarization was supposed to be demographically foredoomed — but instead it won him precisely those regions Trende’s analysis had highlighted, and the presidency as well. 
Linked at one safe remove from its namesake, Douthat refers to the Sailer Strategy. One marginal place through which Sailer's work regularly circulates is Ross' desk at the New York Times.

With the comic (if understandable) furtiveness with which he introduces Sailer's ideas, it's worth wondering if he takes seriously the conventional assumptions he expresses
The numbers offer a cautionary tale for both emerging-Democratic-majority inevitabilists and for a left whose increasing vehemence about the wickedness of “whiteness” probably encourages the white tribalism that Trump rallied and exploited.
Despite the implicit (and wholly justified) white advocacy in Trump's policies and rhetoric, they are still far from the "tribalism" it opposes. The notion that white nationalism is just mimicry of the racial politics of the left trivializes both. Self-described conservatives have been acting as if leftist excess will blow over any day now
After all, though Trump outperformed pundit expectations, he did not carry a majority, and his Midwestern electoral victory was wide but dangerously shallow. And if he won many of Trende’s missing whites, he also lost other (female, educated) whites whom past Republicans had won.
Female, educated whites are known in other sections of the paper as "Beckys", and their demonization is the latest field of exploitation for Democrats and increasingly panicked progressives. Let's see what another two years does for those numbers.
Those losses point to the likely limits on racial polarization as a Republican strategy. Turning out disaffected whites is more politically effective than most people imagined after 2012, but white voters are ultimately too divided to make a “white strategy” work as a foundation for a real governing majority.
Dividing white voters has been Democratic strategy for years. It's been a couple of years since Trump opened up the possibility that whites can oppose it and act in their own interests. They get less divided the farther Trump gets and the more violent the anti-white campaign gets.

Add to that the very real possibility of throttling down the pace of demographic displacement by restricting immigration, and even a white fertility rebound, as suggested by another mainstream reader of Sailer, Michael Barone, and things get truly interesting.

Don't worry I say; Ross and his liberal friends still have a lot to worry about.

The Alt Right is Dead; Long Live the Alt Right

This Atlantic piece by Adam Serwer, "White Nationalists are Winning", is a torrent of paranoid hyperbole from the bugman's id, but gets the important part right.
A year after white nationalists in Charlottesville chanted, “You will not replace us!,” their message has been taken up and amplified by Fox News personalities. Tucker Carlson tells his audience that “Latin American countries are changing election outcomes here by forcing demographic change on this country.” Laura Ingraham says that “the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore” because of “massive demographic changes” as a result of “both illegal and sometimes legal immigration that progressives love.” They echo the white-nationalist claim that America is at risk because the nation is growing more diverse, an argument that treats the mere presence of nonwhite people, citizen or noncitizen, as an existential threat to the country. White nationalists like Cantwell are cheered to hear their beliefs championed on Fox. Cantwell wrote last year that Carlson “is basically telling white America to prepare for war as directly as he can get away with while remaining on Fox News.”
This was written before today's own goal for the anti-American left, turning a failed rally of twenty people into a story of deluded thousands chasing imaginary Nazis. Some of Jason Kessler's critics on the right predicted a turnout of a few dozen "losers" resulting in humiliation for the right. They got the first part right, at least, but misidentified the losers. It's as if no one is in charge on the left, ultimately. Whatever constitutes the leadership of the left right now is riding the whirlwind of demagogy it's conjured. The irony just keeps coming--the alt right was felled in Charlottesville because of a failure of leadership, or so we're told.

Whatever becomes of the alt right it will have effected a shift in the Overton Window that could make the difference in the end.
But the alt-right and its fellow travelers were never going to be able to assemble a mass movement. Despite the controversy over the rally and its bloody aftermath, the white nationalists’ ideological goals remain a core part of the Trump agenda. As long as that agenda finds a home in one of the two major American political parties, a significant portion of the country will fervently support it. And as an ideological vanguard, the alt-right fulfilled its own purpose in pulling the Republican Party in its direction.
The alt right isn't dead, it's metastasizing.

The left took over America by capturing the moral high ground without ever once apologizing for its militants. Radical elements were key to its advance and remain key, as we saw today, to its defense. The right would do well to emulate that. Just as the left holds the Vietnam War and racism make the violence understandable, if not justifiable, likewise the far less violent fringe on the right is a predictable result of the open campaign of displacement against whites.

If the presence of a radical fringe on the right prompts the sort of embarrassing displays the left put on today, policing that fringe is doing for your enemy what they haven't the self control to do for themselves.

For all its concern over what's embarrassing the right forgot the left has no shame.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Real Comedy v Fake Comedy

Political correctness holds sway as no dispensation before, and with nothing more than, well, political correctness; it's both means and end, in a way. The pre-sixties order in America, still Wasp and Christian, could be publicly skewered. Even Lenny Bruce only ran afoul of authorities for obscenity. But I doubt there's been a period in America where the prevailing order was this off-limits to satire.

A lot of very talented people and resources are dedicated now to making a sort of fake satire, when they proceed from politically correct assumptions. Witness a recent, lamentable Jon Hamm video about that darn white something-or-other.

If sanity reigned, you would see a lot more of the sort of stuff Sam Hyde does. This is what it's supposed to look like, for younger people who only came of age in the Age of Poz.


Unite the Right II

Friday, August 10, 2018

Fear Goggles

Portland has to contort its progressive self to rationalize the violence of "anti fascist" demonstrators, but can't ignore it, due to the Patriot Prayer group's serial trolling of the city. The social justice community here is like Charlie Brown with the football. They know what's coming, they just can't help themselves.

One ignored demonstration might be all it took to get rid of Joey Gibson's provocations. But then, many or most on the left don't want that; they want the opportunity to mix it up with "fascists", to demonstrate, to raise money.

But in the media the farther you get away from the local reality on the ground the more obscure coverage gets.
Steve Sailer on the New York Times' coverage of Eric Clanton, the Bike Lock Bandit:

The story of Eric Clanton, the anti-free speech demonstrator / adjunct philosophy instructor who put on an Antifa mask and slammed seven pro-Trump individuals on the head with his bike lock in Berkeley last year (luckily, nobody died), is pretty interesting. Especially the part about how the “weaponized autism” of 4chan /pol/ participants crowdsourced the job law enforcement couldn’t or wouldn’t do — identifying the masked malefactor from subtle clues. But, the tale contradicted The Narrative about how pro-Trump violence is sweeping the nation, so the New York Times never ever mentioned Clanton’s name. Until yesterday, when it ran the following Associated Press story. I reproduce the NYT’s account in full:
A former community college teacher and anti-fascist activist has accepted a plea deal and pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor assault for allegedly attacking attendees of a Northern California political rally. 
Eric Clanton’s attorney Daniel Siegel said the 29-year-old agreed to the plea deal Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court. He was sentenced to three years of probation. 
The Alameda County district attorney’s office initially charged Clanton with felonies for hitting several pro-Trump demonstrators on the head with a bicycle lock during a 2017 demonstration in Berkeley. Police seized flags, pamphlets and other paraphernalia associated with anti-fascist movements from his apartment. Siegel said medical records showed only one alleged victim sought medical treatment, for a bruise smaller than a dime.
“Smaller than a dime,” so kwitcher bellyaching, fascists! 
Bullet and knife wounds are smaller than a dime too. In fact, getting hit with the smaller-than-a-dime corner of a bike lock sounds worse than taking it broadside. I'm supposing the "no contest" plea enables the NYT to write Clanton "allegedly" committed the assault for which he accepted a deal.

Steve offers a reasonable surmise:
Did Clanton agree to snitch? Or is this normal sentencing in Current Year California? Will AG Sessions start an inquiry that could lead to federal civil rights charges against the anti-First Amendment thug? What exactly are the laws in California about smashing people on the head while masked and why aren’t they terribly applicable in this situation? This country needs rule of law, and part of rule of law is the press holding the justice system’s feet to the fire until obvious questions get answered.
It's hard not to sound hyperbolic, but the media, in acquiescing to the violence with silence and misrepresentation, is complicit in it.

The Anarchic State of Portland

A tiny contingent of anti-ICE protesters is camped out in front of Portland City Hall. Less than a dozen, either the hardcore or flaky fringe of the local protest community (if these are distinguishable) are pulling this unglamorous duty.

Abolish ICE PDX calls the protest a continuation of the blockade of Portland's ICE office, recently disbanded. After Saturday's near-riot in reaction to a right-wing demonstration and the ensuing campaign accusing Portland cops of excessive force applied with bias against lefty counter demonstrators, the goals of this siege are expanded to: abolish ICE, condemn the police and fire Ted Wheeler, our progressive mayor.

Protesters have a couple of hammocks strung up and are sleeping on the sidewalk--mingled among them the few homeless who always sleep on the sidewalk outside of City Hall. As a siege it isn't much, but their anger exceeds their size. Here they are trying to block the doors (two arrests were made):

I don't know how much harassment they give people during the business day, but at night they sometimes clash with random passersby, as one protester has since been arrested for striking a man with a pole after he complained about the blocked sidewalk.

One night this week I watched as a fat, middle-aged man with a "film the cops" t-shirt harassed a pizza delivery driver with his camera. A woman shrieked at him from the street. A few protesters lurked nearby as if to storm the locked building if someone should come to the door. The hapless fellow dodged a giant puddle of puke in his escape--he was in the wrong place.

Last Saturday's action has prompted the most recent anti-police narrative here. A protester has claimed some sort of projectile shot by police lodged in his bicycle helmet, but he apparently hasn't come forward.

A friend writes:
Was at court all day today, spent the time listening to the cops gossip. The antifa helmet with the flash bang lodged in it is total bullshit. It’s just the shell that’s in there, not the projectile. The guy won’t come forward to allow the helmet to be examined. They all know who he is, his name is “Lee”. Cops were somewhat pleased with Chief Outlaw seeming to have their back after Saturday, they’re used to getting no support whatsoever from any chief, she ain’t great but ain’t the worst.
Chief Outlaw's press conference was something of a pleasant surprise. She's at least a good spokesman and ably defended her cops--of course, this being Portland, she promised an investigation--by pointing out the hostility of the counter-demonstrators.

Indeed, my friend above appended this to his email:
Something funny one of the cops said was, during one of the more tense moments on Saturday, he heard someone tell him “look behind you!”, and he did. Standing behind him was Chief Outlaw, wearing an angry face, looking ready to clobber the next antifa that came her way, and she made eye contact with this cop, and did the angry black lady triangle finger snap, before she said: “Oh! It’s on!”. All the cops in the hallway busted up laughing.
Maybe she's an outlaw, of a sort, after all.

Another friend, recently alienated from the left by the anti-white indoctrination he experienced in college, was on the ground when Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson made a foray into the counter-demonstration. He was, of course, assaulted by antifa once the cops pulled Gibson out of there.

This is Pozland.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Cat Update

The blackberry thicket over the back fence erupts every summer with the sun after spending winter playing dead in thinned out, desiccated dormancy. Its tendrils make straight for the sun, spiked with thorns and up to a couple of inches thick; the larger ones bow under the height they achieve and dive back into the confusion.

A small evergreen is battling to overcome them as they wrap themselves around its branches as if to deliberately pull it back down to earth. Eventually it will grow large enough that its shade will kill off the thicket. Blackberry vines entangle its branches, pulling them downward. The picture of this creeping fight for life is suitably dramatic; two insensate, inexorable living things striving for the sun.

Another fence meets ours at a right angle. From here I can watch squirrels climbing through and down the trees at the other end of it, then hopping down and skittering the fifty feet or so to our fence where, after a quick check for the cat, they make a left turn and, coming to the end, leap onto a low hanging branch to continue their tree-hopping

In this way they manage to traverse long distances through city and suburb safe from predators. They must have countless regular routes such as this. I maintain our section of this critters' Ho Chi Minh Trail by trimming away the blackberry vines that bend around the top of the fence as if to take it down too in their mindless profusion.

Larger blackberry vines will attach themselves to the lower branches of mature trees and grow alongside, twinning them, as if adopting a strategy of concealment. I cut away a vine wrapped about the squirrels' branch, thinking to make it easier for them to climb on, and the branch, now released, sprung upward a foot or so. Now I'm not sure they can make the jump.

One of my cats--I'm always quick to point out I ended up a single man with two cats by accident when my daughter, their nominal owner, left home--has been holed up in there for two weeks, refusing to come out. If he's gone there to die he's going about it all wrong: when I come to the opening in the fence where I removed a board and call he answers back, from the impenetrable mass of thorny vines. I leave food and leave; he comes along and eats it once I'm gone. I spy him from inside the house. If he's not around I take the food away. If I don't the raccoons will eat it; I can tell because they leave behind a muddy mess wherever they go. Once I stuck my head in the opening to find two of them. They melted back into the brush. Throwing the muddied water in the direction of one of them I heard a splash; he'd fallen or jumped into the creek, the cliff-edge of which is hidden in the growth.

The circumstance became normalized, with me routinely putting out food. The cat started coming out before I left the food behind. He relaxed into this routine and started coming to the food before I left. I even petted him once--noting there was no indication of sickness. Even this hasn't managed to shed the fat off him. He allowed me to pet him, but I didn't try to bring him in until I decided the farce must end and I must, at least in this instance, finally do the normal thing--capture him and take him to the vet.

So I grabbed hold of him and maneuvered him through the hole in the fence. Somehow he ended up on my shoulder, upside down. He squirmed halfway out of my grip so I followed him to the ground and trapped him there. I had badly hurt both hands days earlier and had no grip strength in my left hand at all; trying to hold him to me using mostly my palms I wrestled with him until he slipped out from under me and back into the brush.

And there he remains.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

On the Rightist Side of History

Israel makes it official
Israel passed early Thursday a controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and asserts that "the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people," sparking outrage from Israel's Arab community and provoking concern from the international community.
Elsewhere in the same pages of Ha'aretz you'll find denunciations of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cordial relations with Hungarian nationalist hero Victor Orban.

The old notion of a natural affinity of democratic states still issues from neoconservative circles, where it's used in bad faith to prompt wars ultimately on behalf of Israel, and is still bought-into by the great gullible center of respectable American punditry and politicians, but has never been particularly true. The real motive force behind democracy promotion has always been opening up of markets controlled by states resisting globalization. Let the multinationals and waves of migrants into your country, give Israel no trouble and a gloss of "democracy" will do fine.

Conversely, nationalism, being opposed to migrants and the exploitation of foreign companies--but not democracy, the way by which it is most often arrived at--is a problem in and of itself. Even a gloss of nationalism as phony as that of democracy in most places is a problem for the global order, in that it legitimizes this barrier to global capital and demographic molding.

There is a new global affinity, not promoted from above by leaders with questionable motives but emerging from popular will, toward nationalism. Eastern Europe, Israel, Russia, Trump's America, all have a natural, if limited, affinity that has more legitimacy and urgency.

Israel even codified its own form of manifest destiny
The nation-state law also includes clauses stating that a "united Jerusalem" is the capital of Israel and that Hebrew is the country's official language. Another says that "the state sees the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation."
 The problem with the fallacy of a natural alliance of global democracies is that national interest isn't changed by voting--on the contrary. Voters may occasionally be stupid, but they never would vote so clearly against their interests--for instance in the case of Angela Merkel's disastrous opening up of Germany to hordes of Muslim future voters.

Nationalism simply makes frank and clear the interests of a nation and thus allows it to pursue them. In a global community of nations forced to be (somewhat more) honest and upfront about their intentions we would probably have less war and less exploitation of weaker nations. The sort of thing democracy promotion was supposed to provide.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sonogram, Cathode Ray