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I'm like a moth around an open flame with my new theory e.g. that Biden will gain an easy victory at the polls this November simply because the populace is exhausted and wants to take a break. It will not be a "mandate" for anything other than getting the party of mentally ill children to shut up and do some constructive work for the nation -- if they remember how to do that. Here's an email I sent out today that expresses the thing in language that is a little more florid:


From: Bob Bernstein bob@fanatick.org
Subject: Biden stands a damn good chance. Here's why.
Date: Sat, 25 Jul 2020 16:27:56
User-Agent: Alpine 2.22 (NEB 394 2020-01-19)

It is of course not the case that Trump has caused much if any of the wave of distress that has had, for some time now, the Republic's bowels in an uproar. But as snarky types (such as academic philosophers, who know only others like them, and their doctoral candidates, read their books and papers) like to say, that claim is "true but unexciting." Unexciting because no one has had any interest in objective historical truth for many many years.

(The courageous NY Times did not propose this as an explicit agenda for "activist journalism" until long after that recreation's ascendance on Grub Street was complete.)

NO ONE cares as to what "really happened" A boring, and much too thorny a question anyway. But even the dullest among us must by now be sensing, even if only as through a glass darkly, that the resolution of the nation's colonic unhappiness would follow IMMEDIATELY on Trump's removal by any means.

The violence would evaporate. The BLM signage -- even that outside Fenway Park -- would come down. Police budgets would be restored. Children and their teachers would excitedly prepare for a return to school in the Fall. It might be months or years before we even again saw the word "mask" in print. And so on.

It's obvious, yes?

-- These are not the droids you are looking for.

Posted Sat Jul 25 20:13:49 2020

My principal efforts since Nov '16 have been. in order of composition:

Mass Insanity

Me And The Blue-Wave

Robert Gould Shaw

Posted Sat Jul 25 14:40:59 2020

November 15, 2018 ~ 1327 words

Me And The Blue Wave

Voters deprived of good information are helpless to make effective choices. Voters lulled into a false sense of "being informed" are even more susceptible to erroneous data. Would I be taking things too far to assert that Orwell's fictitious "Ministry of Truth" (as in his novel 1984) has now become fact? Think CNN and its "MSM" colleagues. Orwell's knack for historical prescience looms more startling with every turn of the calendar.

During the run-up to the recent election, I consoled myself with this thought: surely the citizens of this great land would never return power to the group now revealed to be guilty of genuinely high crimes, involving the top ranks of the DOJ and FBI leadership, and corrupting some of our major national security institutions (think FISA and NSA). Surely, as I say, such an oversight, such a miscalculation, would be simply beyond the pale for our voters.

Granted, the midterms are not focussed in any preeminent fashion on national issues. On the hustings, the contests are diffuse in their foci, with local and county matters often stirring voters' passions far more than goings-on in Washington D.C.

But still, it would require a deliberate act of short-sightedness not to include in the balance a mandate on the presidency. I lack the expertise needed to quantify the degree to which it was a vote for-or-against Trump, but some of the votes cast must have been intended to record sentiments on that question.

I have a friend; let's call him Fred. We met back in the eighties working at the same business in Massachusetts, and have stayed friends ever since. We try to meet for supper about every two or three months in a local ordinary family restaurant, where they don't really care how long you sit there yakking after you're finished over-stuffing your face.

Fred is a literate fellow. He reads books. His undergrad degree was in math. But he also reads pretty much every day the Boston Globe and the Providence Journal, and he watches cable news every week night. My assessment is that the net consequence of these latter activities is that Fred is convinced that he is well-informed, at least to the utmost possible for an ordinary literate American.

On the phone the other night, while setting a date for our next supper, I asked him if he knew what the acronym "FISA" meant. I then asked him what he thought about our very own FBI marching into a FISA courtroom to apply for a warrant for surveillance of one of Trump's former acquaintances with an application they prepared using a totally fallacious and bogus "dossier." And, had he heard about that "dossier?"

Fred didn't know from "FISA." He seemed to get a little squirmy on the dossier matter, and averred that he didn't know whether he "believed" in it, or the FISA story in toto. I struggled to find a polite way to tell him that those events were now chronicled in the annals of "open public fact," accepted by all who followed the slow unveiling of facts on record in that case. I didn't push it since I lose friends far too easily. But I fear that on the conclusion of our chat that night, he remained in the camp that viewed such claims as "allegations," not facts.

Dr. Ford's testimony in the Senate committee considering the Kavanaugh appointment proved useful after all in this context. When, after Trump (at a rally) summarized it in a bluntly schematic way -- a way that was nevertheless completely faithful to her testimony -- the usual heads began to explode, and he was condemned for "mocking" her. It was soon pointed out that the content of her "evidence" had never been reported to our nation's electorate, not, at least, by all those channels that my friend Fred attends to. How can I not suppose the same holds true in the case of the Carter Page FISA warrants? The vast MSM viewership might never have heard any of the records of that case, so how could they not see it as mere allegations?

A personal aside: due to deteriorating eyesight, I watch no teevee at all. Occasionally I treat myself to a movie using my computer. I mention this to explain why I can't say, "On the cable news stations the facts of these events never were adequately reported."

So a bright light was shed for me by the "Trump Mocked Ford" alleged incident. The electorate, which I trusted (and need to continue to trust) did not, on Nov. 6th, fall into a perverse spell of crankiness and decide to hand power back to the organized criminals who comprised our "loyal" opposition. It was a data problem: garbage in; garbage out. Simple.


I've been going through two books the last few weeks: the late, irreplaceable Christopher Hitchens' Why Orwell Matters, and Orwell's Such, Such, Were The Joys, a collection of his essays. Hitchens was concerned to raise to a higher profile some facts about Orwell's activity in the Spanish Civil War. I don't have a sense for how well known is the fact that he travelled to Spain during the fighting, and took a sniper's bullet in his neck for his trouble.

Orwell and his wife came near to being arrested by the NKVD while in Spain. Hitchens carefully reviews the details of the NKVD forces then actively sabotaging the Popular Front, the principal Republican contender in the struggle for Spain. Suffice it to say that the details of this squalid episode in Soviet international relations only came fully to light after the fall of the Soviet regime, when NKVD archives in Moscow revealed how closely they had had Mr. and Mrs. Orwell in their sights, having branded them as "pronounced Trotskyists."

What has this to do with Dr. Blasey Ford and the "Blue Wave?" Orwell complained bitterly in his book on the war in Spain (Homage To Catalonia) that nothing like the whole story of that war would ever come out. When he concocted his "Ministry of Truth" for 1984 he was working from direct personal experience of Comintern's methods. Hitchens cites Orwell from that book:

--snip--

"It will never be possible to get a completely accurate and unbiased account of the Barcelona fighting, because the necessary records do not exist. Future historians will have nothing to go upon except a mass of accusations and party propaganda. I myself have little data beyond what I saw with my own eyes and what I have learned from other eye-witnesses whom I believe to be reliable...

"This kind of thing is frightening to me, because it often gives me the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. After all, the chances are that those lies, or at any rate similar lies, will pass into history . . . The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, "It never happened" well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five "well, two and two are five."

Hitchens, Christopher. Why Orwell Matters (pp. 69-70). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

--snip--

I don't have much in the way of take-aways from these jottings. Principally, I now know we are in much more trouble as a free republic than I believed could ever be possible. We have a Ministry of Truth whose power and reach far exceeds anything Orwell might have guessed. But perhaps not. Let us be extremely careful when passing judgement on him. Who else was publishing thoughts such as "the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world" in 1938?

Posted Sat Jul 25 14:33:59 2020

Huge collective psychoses, such as the delusional nightmare known as Trump Derangement Syndrome, resemble the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in at least one way: they both belong to groups of phenomena that have not been well-studied. They each represent rare birds indeed.

If we had enough datapoints to sketch out a "natural history of large scale social delusions," would we see near the end of each episode of the illness a growing exhaustion in the host civilization, such that via rapid historical change the original narcissistic wound, or psychic insult, or trauma gets somehow undone, accompanied by societal and cultural readjustments that accomplish seeming miracles of the return of the "old normal?"

Imagine the changes that might IMMEDIATELY accompany a Biden victory on November 3rd: all the violence just evaporates. All the BLM signage would come down -- nobody really wanted to look at it anyway. The Chinese will kiss and make up. Disoriented citizens, as they shed their long-standing cognitive distortions, will look at each other as if to say, "Whew. What was THAT all about?"

Posted Fri Jul 24 01:34:35 2020

Robert Gould Shaw was a Union Army officer in command of the war's first all-black infantry regiment, the 54th Massachusetts. He died July 18, 1863 in combat leading his unit in an assault on fortifications at Fort Wagner, which defended the port of Charleston, South Carolina.

A large bronze memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens was unveiled May 31, 1897 on Boston Common. Currently the monument is off-site for restoration following damage by Black Lives Matter (George Floyd) protestors on May 31, 2020.


Interlude

I love Ann Coulter; she makes me laugh out loud. From her 6/17/20 column "YALE HAS TO GO!" https://anncoulter.com/2020/06/17/yale-has-to-go/:

"Southerners could take justifiable pride in what everyone agrees was a better class of general and soldier."

"My ancestors were abolitionists who fought for the Union, but you don't have to be a Southerner to care about Confederate monuments."

"Not that long ago, nearly all Americans had pre-Civil War ancestors. Not any more! Recent immigrants, by which I mean people who arrived after 1865, think the country started with them. They find it hilarious to destroy anything that happened before they got here."


Meditation

What's sticking in my craw is the desecration this month of the Robert Gould Shaw statue in Boston. Shaw trained up and then led into combat the first all-Negro unit in the Union Army. He also died with most of them in action in South Carolina, unceremoniously tossed into a graves pit along with the remains of his command.

One has to do a little digging to understand who Shaw was to the citizens of Boston; suffice to say stringing words such as "hero" and "paragon" together doesn't come near to doing the job. He was the shining golden boy of one of Boston's oldest, and wealthiest families. Privately schooled in Europe and then Harvard he volunteered at the onset of the war, and was quickly identified as the perfect choice for the first commanding officer of Massachusett's first all-black infantry regiment.

He was hands down a complete representative of all the absolute best that Boston had to offer in a young man of mark.

What is the worth of a man? Do we have a calculus that can express such a value? I ponder the topic of reparations, and I say, let's just mark that bill PAID IN FULL.

Lincoln's surveying work left him a numerate fellow. He could read between the lines of the lists of casualty figures that streamed into the War Department's telegraph office all day and night. Unlike many of his generals, he knew what he was reading. He did not find a general who also understood it until Grant came into his service.

Modern historians calculate the costs of military carnage in terms of the number of fighters in one army who must be sacrificed in combat to effect the expiration of one his opposite numbers in, of course, the opposing army. Clausewitz taught that winning a war was not a matter of gaining control of territory, but of destroying armies. The first to eradicate the other's army is the victor. See Norman Davies' No Simple Victory (2006) for more about this aspect of our history. If I could find my copy I would tell you how many US Army soldiers were required to kill one member of the German Wehrmacht (they were an expensive bunch to eradicate).

Lincoln could see this in those casualty figures he sat with. He knew that as pricey as Confederate soldiers were in terms of the number of Union troops needed to send any one of them to their final reward, that the North had a large stock of young white men from which to conscript whatever size army he would have to offer up to the killing on the battlefield in order to wipe out the Confederate forces. What he could not do was find a general willing to fight war under such conditions, that is, until he found Grant, who also understood the numbers and the logic of attrition.

But lets unfold what we are actually saying here. We are saying that Civil War generals knew every time they ordered a troop advance they were without fail sending hundreds and then thousands of men to their death, and that slaughter was itself the actual mechanism of wrenching victory out of the thing. Then I think, well if this knowledge of the certain death they were ordering their men into was plain to the generals (well, some of them, anyway) then surely it would have been plain to many of the men of the line. Imagine: hundreds and thousands of young white men marching with complete knowledge aforethought that they were passing through their last day on this planet, yet still obeying the order to advance when it came. How does a price get attached to such actions?

I need to check back in my sources but if I recall correctly Robert Gould Shaw not only gave such orders (at Fort Wagner) to move forward, but died advancing next to the men he so ordered.

What price?

PAID IN FULL

nb. Col. Robert Gould Shaw fell in battle at age twenty five (25).

Posted Fri Jun 26 18:19:19 2020
Executive Summary: Would a scientist of Ferguson's professional reputation put it in jeopardy to help his girl friend's favorite cause?

A couple of weeks ago I asked a friend, a fairly clue-enabled fellow, don't cha know?, who was it who first suggested, as a strategy for confronting THE VIRUS, that we just "shut down the economy?" He thought the idea came from The White House, from Donald Trump hisself. I took this under advisement, so to speak, since my friend never had any but harsh words for the President.

This very question was raised this afternoon on talk radio, in light of the fall from grace of the British scientist Neil Ferguson, already infamous for his hugely erroneous first estimates of the death tolls to be expected from THE VIRUS (if I recall correctly, 2.2 million Americans and 500,000 Britons).

Now we are treated to the datapoint containing the identity of his current mistress; she is a high-level (opera-star quality, a diva) activist in progressive politics (notably global-warming).

So one theory is that many, like Mr. Trump, were sufficiently impressed by that 2.2. million figure to agree to harsh wide-ranging curtailment of all forms of economic activity, all in the name of supporting the "social distancing" claimed by experts like Mr. Ferguson to be the only effective response to the outbreak.

Aye but therein's the rub, because the expert had some days later to revise downwards his casualty estimates; it seems he had not added into his calculations the beneficent effect a thorough-going campaign of social distancing would produce.

Since the Global Wackadoo Environmental Mania holds that the only hope for saving the earth is to clamp down on 1) the number of humans roaming around the planet, and also on 2) all the noxious activities in which they engage solely for the sake of creating HUGE piles of legal tender, one should ask, as many conspiracy theorists already have, would said wackadoo activists put out bogus "scientific" projections in order to frighten the rest of us into accepting their huge social engineering of our lives to Save The Earth?

Would a scientist of Ferguson's professional reputation put it in jeopardy to help his girl friend's favorite cause?

Afterthought

Here's what I think really happened; the girl friend (a German blonde veritable bombshell of a babe) whispered in Neil's ear, "You know honey, I'd be very happy to not just blow you every day, but also TO SWALLOW when I do it, IF you'd be kind enough to put some really terrifying projections out there for the novel bug. How about that?" At which point Neil would already be hobbling across the room trying to get his pants off at the same time...

About that "datapoint"

Posted Thu May 7 17:31:06 2020

Back before the End Of The World as we knew it I would several times a week tune into Howie Carr's talk-radio show out of Boston. Then, due to the advent of THE BUG, I missed a coupla-few weeks but returned earlier this week. It was a chilling experience.

I had to ask myself, while listening, is this a man we want bandying thoughts about the nation's public heatlh policies to an audience of at least hundreds of thousands? Or, for that matter, do we want to hear Jake Tapper or Sean Hannity spouting off about it either? These men are, with regard to the natural sciences (and using the latest au courant nomenclature) "developmentally different." In short they are morons.

I doubt Howie Carr has ever held a slide rule or an abacus in his hands. Can it be in any sense a good thing that the public "discussion" of the open/close-the-economy question has calcified into the latest ultra-polarized political football, such that the SJW and virtue-signalers now comprise the core of our ink-stained wretches' cyber editions of the "news?" Casting the open/close question as a binary "throw the switch" choice invites huge misunderstandings for a large group of people who do not yet understand, say, time zones!

We are far from an understanding of the bug's biology that might suitably inform the public policy choices that now have so many bowels in uproarious states. Is it likely the bug might respond coherently, so to speak, to binary off/on throw-the-switch changes made by humans? Mother Nature has a way of chastening any hubris that might suppose so. She will look at our inane policy fumblings and think to Herself, "Oh really? Is that how you insane humans think I work? Really? Well hold on to your hats you silly bozos and WATCH THIS!" -- at which point an incomprehensible unfolding of a Catch-22 of beyond-epic proportions -- one we could never dream of -- disrobes in front of our oh-so-easily dazzled eyes.

Posted Thu Apr 23 09:54:30 2020

Stoopid virus, stoopid blog, STOOPD ME.

Posted Mon Apr 20 08:43:51 2020

Here are a couple of things worth sending out to your liberal um friends.

First up is Postcard From Pre-Totalitarian America.

a) If the phrase "Critical Theory" is unfamiliar to you then you have a good solid three months' (minimum) hard catch-up study awaiting you.

b) If the name "Herbert Marcuse" is also unfamiliar to you then see "a" above.

I have not "kept up" with this school of thought, but somewhere in this cluttered home is my first edition hardbound copy of Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man (1964), purchased in 1965 or '66. As an MIT undergrad supremely fortunate enough to sit in the classroom of the now-late and much lamented professor of history there Bruce Mazlish I was steered towards Marcuse's previous magnum opus Eros and Civiization (1955).

The philosophical foundations of modern Leftist political action is to be found in Critical Theory, especially as articulated by Marcuse. Now you know enough to read the article linked above.

Next up is Bernie Sanders is the front-runner because of how we raised our kids.

It is rare for an op-ed to become the dominant topic on the Providence morning drive-time AM talk radio program, but this one did. Checkitout.

Posted Tue Feb 25 08:18:48 2020

I am a radio guy. Always have been. I would lie awake and listen to Jean Shepherd live bouncing his powerful New York City AM signal off the ionosphere. It came in just outside of Boston like a ton of bricks. "Five by five" to use the military jargon (which I hope I am using correctly).

Check this out, courtesy the lovely Tara Granahan, Providence's morning talk-babe and all-around good egg:

https://twitter.com/i/status/1222203882987753472

Which raises the question: when did the Weather Channel become a communist propaganda outlet?

Posted Wed Jan 29 12:52:23 2020

Duckman is channeled by bob.bernstein@yahoo.com

Out-of-date, abbreviated CV