A Few Thoughts on My Son’s First *Real* Christmas

This will be my son’s second Christmas.   Last year he had no clue what was going on and realistically any partaking in the holiday he did was just us projecting Christmas on to him.  I mean, I’m sure he had a great time but he had no idea what we were all doing.    This year is a little different as he can tell there’s something unique about the this period of time.   He’s really into Santa and the Christmas tree all lit up.   He likes the reindeer and he likes snowmen.   I think he’s at a point cognitively where he’ll make associations between this kind of imagery and the holiday and also that Santa brought him presents.

I’ve never really been a grinch – I’ve always appreciated Christmas as an adult.  If anything, it’s a day I take the time to reflect on many things and I suppose I’ve even developed a few personal rituals with the holiday over time.   But realistically it’s hard to get into the “Christmas spirit” when you’re in your late 20’s or 30’s and childless.    This year things are a little more exciting just because there’s a little guy here to share it with and to see his reactions to the “magical” aspect of Christmas.

So last Sunday we took him to Bass Pro Shops out on the edge of town for him to see Santa, because apparently that’s one of the best ones and they give you a free picture.    He was into it, but not at the same level he apparently was a week earlier at an event downtown.   They had a large section of the place all done up with reindeers, fake snow, snowmen, Christmas trees and all the other accoutrements of Christmas.   Nice display, I suppose.   Activities for the kids and all of that too.

We were there for about a half an hour browsing around and then left.   Admittedly it’s kind of a fun store with all the fish and dead animals.   But it had me thinking – there’s not really many places to experience Christmas in the public sphere anymore.

I’m not necessarily talking about a “war on Christmas” or anything like that.    It’s just that there aren’t many day-to-day places that people go to day-to-day that feel Christmasy.

When my parents and grandparents (and probably their parents) were kids, they would traditionally do Main Street or the town square up with wreaths, trees, lights, etc.

When I was a kid we had the shopping mall.   Yeah, people always shit on the mall as the most uncouth/kitschy thing in the world, but at the very least it was a public space that people regularly went to and experienced Christmas time.   You would have the decorations and such and Santa occupying a corner of the mall, but moreover you would have individual stores displaying whatever the hottest gift ideas of the year were.

My mom might be able to tell me about going to the big department store downtown – a vibrant place with a lot of diverse activity and that being a fond Christmas memory of her youth.    Me?   Well, I guess I would probably talk about Radio Shack and Kaybee Toys in the mall.

Honestly, my experience of experiencing Christmastime mostly through a shopping mall as a kid probably pales in comparison to a lit up town square with goods in display windows or the pageantry of the downtown department store…but it’s going to beat the fuck out of the kinds of things that will be there for my son.  He (and others in/around his generation) will get a speciality department store that merits a one-time visit and then a not-so-speciality department store that pretty much looks the same as it does all year with a few superficial decorations thrown up.   Nothing that really gives a strong Christmas aura.

Hell, since were awash in entertainment options as a society we don’t even have a commonality in that anymore.   Christmas movies come out every year making last years’ irrelevant (do any of the new ones stand the course of time like Christmas Vacation?) and we don’t even have the Christmas TV specials that *everybody* watches.

While watching Pee-Wee’s Christmas Special and then going to Spencer’s Gifts in the mall may have seemed like a superficial and soulless way to mark the holiday season, at least we can say we had something that resembled a communal expression and celebration of Christmas and rituals that we all partook in.   I just don’t think the same opportunities even exist at the same level as they did a generation ago.

It’s something I’ll have to keep in mind going forward.   If we want him to have holidays with meaning beyond a day of presents and gluttony, we will have to do the work of building ritual into it ourselves.   Target and Bass Pro Shops* won’t do it for us.

* I did really enjoy my visit there.

Sweden – Liberal Utopia to Liberal Dystopia

It seems like about 15-20 years ago you would hear Sweden brought up all the time as an example of how things *could* be.   Liberals loved to cite their socialized medicine, universal education, social security, top notch schools, rehabilitation-based justice system, environmental measures and their status as a humanitarian superpower…all while having one of the highest standards of living in the world.

Sweden’s success stood in contrast to all the bad things that Republicans/conservatives said would happen if the United States went down the democratic socialism route.   In the eyes of liberals Sweden was pretty much a utopia and the gold standard of how things ought to be in the world.

Today all I hear is bad things coming out of Sweden – examples of neoliberalism gone nuts. The rate of immigration from the third world is such that (combined with a low native Swedish birthrate) Sweden has another generation or so before it’s a majority non-Swedish place.   Moreover, Sweden has one of the highest (if not the highest) sexual assault rates in the developed world and there’s a direct correlation between this and the massive influx of migrants.   The Swedish government and media seems to be working in tandem to bring about Orwellian measures to silence any dissent against the “new Sweden” the elites are working on.

It seems like every week there’s a new story of some kind of insanity coming out of Sweden, like distributing bracelets that say “don’t rape me” as a way to curb sexual assault or someone in a position of power making a statement along the lines that native Swedes need to change and adapt to the migrants instead of the other way around.  There’s been reports of very, very young school children learning about homosexuality and fetishes from a sexual standpoint (I don’t think “hey, these people exist and this is what makes them different” is wrong but learning about *how* they have sex and explaining fetishes probably   crosses a line at that age)

It’s lead to a backlash within Sweden as the right-leaning Swedish Democrats pick up steam in electoral politics and metapolitically we see a lot of alt-right action coming out of Sweden with Red Ice Radio, The Golden One, Northern Brothers and probably a few others that I’m forgetting.    On that note, I should add that dissent from the mainstream narrative isn’t very popular in Sweden due to their natural communal and non-conformist disposition.

Anyways, there’s been an article floating around the internet saying that a UN report deems that Sweden will be a third world country by 2030.    Honestly, the figures are a little misleading but it’s undeniable that Sweden is slipping in national HDI (Human Development Index) and other social and economic markers.

All of this begs the simple question – why????

Why would Swedes willingly sacrifice the ability to pass their high-functioning and prosperous society to the next generation as they knew it?   It blows my mind.   I understand some immigration as pretty much everyone else is doing it too.   I understand that you can make some allowances for sexual liberation in a very high-trust society – but why would you jeopardize all of this especially if your country serves as a beacon of hope for all the ideals you hold dear?    It doesn’t exactly make people want to embrace neoliberalism/social democracy when the result is a police state where your daughter/wife has a good chance of getting raped by migrants.

I don’t really feel I’m wedded to any particular political/economic system, so I won’t write Sweden’s <pending> failure up to socialism.   In fact, I think socialism worked great for Sweden because it was a homogenous high trust society – everyone was pretty much on the same page culturally and the wealth gap wasn’t as inherently large as it is in other places like the US.

I will chalk it up to shortsightedness and a generation’s desire for “good feelings” over a responsibility to their progeny.   There’s maybe a Faustian desire for social justice here that will cause Sweden to ultimately lose all of the things that made Sweden, well, a leader in social justice.

In ten or fifteen years when Sweden’s welfare system begins to implode to any meaningful degree and the level of progressivism drops to accommodate the “new Swedes”, will American liberals still point and say “Well, in Sweden they do it like this….”

I doubt it.

Finally, I should add that I don’t necessarily blame the average Swede for Sweden’s predicament.   Like I said, they have a very communal and conformist culture that leads them into more nurturing roles (i.e. “let’s save the world!”) and less likely to dissent from the “general consensus”.  I think these traits are both admirable to varying extents, but again will probably create a destruction of that high-trust society that is required to keep Sweden Swedish.

Sanctuary Cities and States’ Rights

Well, this will be an interesting conundrum…

President Elect (ha!) Donald Trump throughout the campaign trail has promised to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities across the US in order to get them into compliance with federal immigration laws.   In the aftermath of Trump’s victory, mayors of the cities of Los Angeles, Chicago and New York (as well as the governor of New York) have openly stated refusal to cooperate with the Trump administration on immigration.

So typically in America it’s the folks on the right/conservatives who are the biggest proponents of local over federal…and people on the left/liberals tend to view federal oversight as a way to put a check on local governments violating rights.   Admittedly both sides can make valid cases for these mile-high world views.   Although I tend to lean towards local knows better than federal, I’ll readily admit that sometimes local governments can overstep their power and it’s good to have the federal check on potential abuses.   So I’m not going to make a value judgment on which way of thought is inherently correct on this one.

Either way, it looks like the roles are about to be reversed on this one with the liberals standing up to the federal government while the conservatives scream about how “you lost, get over it”.   I just think it will be funny when this happens and might put some people in some ideologically uncomfortable positions.

In fact, it puts me in an ideological uncomfortable position.   I’m opposed to illegal immigration.   I even think there’s too much legal immigration.  In fact, I’ll even say that I don’t believe that filling out paperwork and following procedures really changes much.   So I’m not one of those guys who say “Well, god damn it, if they come here legally and get a job…” and I’ll even say that the more immigration happens, the less I feel I really identify with *America* as my parents and grandparents knew it, even though I’m supposed to be squarely in the “real America” camp as a white midwestern blue collar war veteran.   But just because I’m not ok with the current levels of immigration, does that mean that people in New York City or Los Angeles should shut their doors?

If the people of Los Angeles or whatever have decided that they don’t mind illegal immigrants living amongst them and are ok with using municipal funds for their benefit and it doesn’t directly affect people living outside the city, then what can I really say about it?   It’s just like someone in Oklahoma bitching about people being able to legally smoke dope in Denver.

And I’ll add this too – although I’m generally opposed to immigration, I’ll readily acknowledge that there’s some places in the United States where the situation and dynamics are different.   Los Angeles and Miami should be Hispanic cities.   There’s places in this country where that’s the culture and it cannot and shouldn’t be separated by people in places like Iowa making policy.  I’ll also say that one thing that is cool about the US is even though we’re seen as an anglo country, places like Miami, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago are very, very important Latin American cities.   It is a national strength that sometimes we don’t think about.

Here’s where it gets a little stickier – the places I’ve mentioned as coming out opposing Trump’s call to deport the illegals and shut of federal funding are in deep shit financially.   It’s pretty much a matter of “when” rather than “if” the turnip stops bleeding from these places and they’re going to have to look to their respective states and/or the federal government to get bailed out.   There’s a good chance that something like that could happen on Trump’s watch.

What happens when the federal government (or maybe the state) dangles the carrot in front of their face and says “if you want our help, it’s time to start cooperating with us on immigration…”?   For one, the federal government would be better able to sell it to the rest of the country if they get something (compliance with federal law) out of it.   Realistically there would be a lot of screaming and dragging of feet over this – why should these crackers in flyover country tell us that we need to deport our employees, neighbors, family, etc?

As if we needed something else, this could lead to another huge rift between the two Americas that exist.

“How Your Vote For Trump Affects My Family…”

Anyone with anything resembling access to social media has probably noticed that for the past year their feed has been clogged with articles and memes about peoples’ feelings on the election.   Perhaps you, dear reader, have even shared an article or meme that express your feelings on the election.

At this point I think everyone is kind of numb to these things.  I know I am, even though I’ll admit I’ve been very into the Trump campaign.   Usually I’ll just kind of chuckle and keep scrolling when I see someone post a “Donald Trump is a bad guy and really mean!” article, but today I decided to click on one…and got about three sentences into it before I saw all I needed to see from it.

The gist of it was that the author was a gay hispanic that had a black friend or something or other – a guy that checked off a lot of ‘victim’ boxes in his self identity.   This guy knew some people who said they were going to vote for Trump and although these people weren’t explicitly stating that they had it out for this guy’s identity groups, it was implied that by voting for him they were basically slapping him (or whatever pronoun the author identifies with) in the face.

To be honest, I really don’t get cross by someone simply disagreeing with me.  I’m a big enough person to be able to tolerate the fact that other people see the world differently.   That’s not what’s the issue here.

Here’s what gets me though – the fact that there are more than a few people with the mentality that other people should take into consideration their group/identity interests over my own.

So let’s say I’ve decided that I feel my bread is better buttered in a Trump administration over a Hillary Clinton administration…and I came to that conclusion by taking into consideration my experiences, world view, etc….  Why in the fuck would someone expect me to abandon this decision because THEY *feel* like it will be bad for THEM

I completely understand making your case as to why you don’t like a certain candidate.   I also understand that if you feel I’m inconsistent/incorrect in my thinking and want to point that out.   I just don’t how someone can come up with “my feelings should be more important to you than whatever internal process went in to you coming up with that conclusion geared towards your own interests”.

To be fair I think a lot of these kind of virtue signaling articles are little more than masturbation for the author and like-minded readers.   No one had their mind changed by that kind of thing.

Most media today, especially of this caliber seems to exist in an echo chamber.  No one takes it seriously outside of like-minded readers.  Deep down the authors probably know they’re writing for people who will agree with them and deep down the people sharing it on Facebook know that the only people who will acknowledge it are like-minded people and thus they’ll do so in order to boost their own social status within their peer group.

And again, even if people on the other side of the fence were reading with an open mind, no one would be convinced that they should drop their interests and adopt this other groups…unless they believe that their interests are furthered by adopting others in the way of the social credit that comes with it.   For example, you’re going to go further socially by saying “black lives matter!” as a white guy than you would saying “end white genocide” or whatever.

Even though I think a lot of these people know they’re spitting into the wind, I think there is an element of self-belief that these people have in their “work”.   I really think that if Trump wins a lot of these people will be flabbergasted on how this could happen when they’ve been “sounding the alarm” for so long.

I really think that sometime shortly before midnight on November 8, this particular segment of the country is going to be in for a very rude awakening… and I will be right here to laugh at their tears.

 

Killing a Raccoon

This has been a rough couple of weeks for my flock.   Five dead chickens over the course of four incidents involving raccoons and possibly a possum.

I’ll admit I’ve been very lax with my chickens as far as security.   I’ll leave coop doors open and the chickens come and go as they please.  We have a privacy fence which probably provides some level of security, or at least makes it harder for predators to realize what’s behind the fence.  I also felt that the presence of my dogs and their scent kept the bad guys away just because in over a year we never had any problems or evidence of possums or raccoons.

One morning I came outside to see one of our silkies alone.   I thought this was odd because usually our two silkies were always together or at least not far away.    As I walked closer to their coop I noticed clumps of feathers…and eventually a trail of feathers leading to the corner of the yard.   Fuck.   My first chicken casualty.

We started taking some precautions like actually putting them in the coop at night.    We got a little more relaxed with it after a few days…

Then one morning I woke up at 4 to let the dogs out.   I noticed the chickens were up, which was kind of strange.   I went back to bed and then woke up a few hours later…

The yard was covered in chicken feathers again…and this time I could see that it was black feathers and red.   I tried to count the living chickens and figure out which ones were killed.    Much to my dismay, my favorite chicken Peckerhead was the one who got it…and another one that was very personable.

To be honest, I didn’t care about the first silkie much.  I felt bad that one died, but these two stung a little bit.

Then immediately after sundown two days later the raccoon came and snatched up another one of my year old layers before we could put them away.    So we’re up to four….

We asked around and borrowed a raccoon trap.    Raccoons are easy enough to trap, but what do I do with it if I catch one?

Well, I live in the city limits so shooting it is out of the question…although there’s been a rash of shootings nearby lately and there’s plausible deniability that it wasn’t me.   You can’t just let them go because they’ll come right back.   If you take them far away and let them go, it’s not always a good outcome for the raccoon.  They don’t know their way around, they can spread diseases and they’ll be competing with other raccoons that are already established…and they’ll be someone elses problem too.

So we set the trap over the course of a few nights with tuna, sardines and octopus (yeah, I had a few cans stashed away.  Don’t ask)….  No bites.

Then around 4 on Saturday morning I let my dogs out and they go apeshit – there’s something in the trap!   I pull the dogs off and get them back inside so they don’t continue to wake up the neighbors, who surely have noticed that something was awry.

There he (or she?) is…. she looked small as she cowered to the floor of the cage when I walked out to her.   I sat there and we looked at each other for about twenty seconds.   Then I went back inside…

Like most people would do these days, I googled “how to kill a raccoon”.   I figured it would be cruel to try to shoot it multiple times in the head with a bb gun (and the dreaded eye shot) to kill it.   I also thought about beating it with a shovel or an axe.  Or a bat.   Or maybe I can poison it with something and it’ll die immediately?

Then there was a time issue… we had to get up and go at 7am, so there wasn’t a whole lot of time to work with.   I ended up laying in bed for another hour before the alarm went off looking at my phone and pondering this raccoons’ fate.

I finally decided on my course of action…something I read in a backyard chicken forum…

 

Death by carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

Sounds outlandish.   Sounds a little…bizarre.   But after thinking it over it sounded like the most efficient, quiet and humane way to do this.   So I got a giant hefty sack and some duct tape and went out to get the raccoon.

I drug him to the front yard, a little spooked that he could claw or bite at me through the cage.   I placed him down in front of Mary’s car’s muffler and carefully placed the trap inside a hefty bag.

I was really happy to do this before all the neighbors woke up and wondered what I was doing.  I figured this is something someone might “get alarmed” and call the police or something.

I duct taped the bag to the muffler, which is more difficult than it sounds.  It took a few tries to get it on right.  I had to start the car, mutter “shit” to myself and tape it back on a couple of times.    Finally I got it on and started the car up.

I heard a little bit of grunting and some shuffling around of the tin cans inside the trap.   After a couple minutes I heard nothing.  I went inside and ate breakfast.

Twenty minutes later I went back out and kicked the cage.   No sign of life.   I pulled it off the exhaust and drug it near the trash can.  Then we went about our day.

I’ve always considered myself something of an animal lover…and it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve killed anything.   Well, besides nuisance insects and a mouse.

I felt it was justified, although it’s hard to look at a creature with some admirable qualities that is completely at your mercy and make the decision to kill it…and carry it out.   Whenever I felt bad, I just thought of poor Peckerhead and how she was torn to shreds by this raccoon (or one of his brethren)

Unceremoniously later in the afternoon, I transferred the dead raccoon into another trash bag and threw it in the trash.   Pickup day can’t come soon enough…

Even though we though we “got ’em”, we still locked up the chickens that night…and then the next night one of them lifted open the egg box and snatched the other silkie.     Fuckers.

So we have a predator problem, and it’s either going to be my flock or these raccoons.   If you say you shouldn’t kill unless it’s for food, every day I’m more or less out three eggs from the three layers that were killed.   That adds up to something, doesn’t it?

Anyways, I will remain vigilant and should I catch another raccoon, I’ll hope that I can get to it early enough to dispatch it before the neighbors wake up and get concerned about what I’m doing.

Microbusiness Chronicles – Seasonality

Our time at the Farmers’ Market is winding down, with one more date in a couple weeks.   When we started out at the beginning of the year, in my head I thought our fairly regular appearances at the Farmers Market would be good enough to make a profit and then figuring we would get a date or two at the winter market and that would be a successful year.   Then we would have a big enough customer base that we would be able to count on a few online orders a week to put us through the winter.

Turns out that’s not quite enough…or at least it’s not optimal.  There’s a whole, big holiday season and according to people who do similar things this is where most of the money is made.

Our farmer’s market season has been successful, I think.   I wasn’t sure what to expect when we started and hadn’t talked to anyone to get a good, solid ballpark figure (if that exists).   What we actually make was below what I had in mind, but not too far below.   At any rate, it wasn’t bad at all for our first season.

Although we were doing pretty good, we figured we should do more than just accept the dates that were given to us at the Farmers’ Market.   So we went looking for a few other places to peddle our wares and got a few dates at a smaller farmers’ market and hit up another place a couple hours away.   Both of these things weren’t anywhere near as successful as our regular dates, but still worth waking up for.

Anyways, we’ve been booking ourselves up for several shows in the area between Halloween and Christmas.   We’re still waiting to hear from a few other places, but it looks like we’ll have at least around a half dozen big holiday themed shows lined up.

Here’s what I’m hoping – my mentality was wrong.   Instead of the farmers’ market season being the main show, maybe this time is.   And maybe instead of getting enough recognition with our customers to coast over the winter on online sales, we’re gaining recognition for the holidays.   We’ll be putting together tea gift bags and hopefully what happens is people see us around the holidays and remember that they talked with us or bought this or that and then decide to pick up one of these bags to give out for the holidays.

…and then the people who get our bags as gifts like what they see and repeat the cycle next year.

We’ll be busy, but I’m glad.   It would be nice to pay back the <modest> loan I took out to get started on this business and maybe, just maybe pay for our honeymoon this year out of it.   We’ll see…

Trump and the Black Vote

Over the past six weeks or so Donald Trump has reached out in various ways to African-American voters with mixed reactions all around.   He promised a better economy, a crackdown on lawlessness that plagues the inner cities and curbing illegal immigration, which helps the low-skilled domestic job market.

All of these things have been more or less promised by other Republicans to deaf ears, but maybe the best case he actually made was listing everything that’s still fucked up or even more fucked up after decades of loyalty to the Democrats and asking “what do you really have to lose?”.   It’s actually not a bad point and probably more compelling than vague promises of jobs, school vouchers, etc.

The reaction was all across the board, but most reactions were usually somewhere in the neighborhood of “laughable” and a “waste of time”.   The black vote is usually somewhere slightly north of 90% Democrat and has been for some time.  There’s always some pandering from the Republicans, but usually it amounts to nothing more than a PR stunt to other whites.   “Democrats are the real racists!”  “We’re the party of Lincoln”  “These people share our conservative family values” etc.   There’s a joke that what do you call the one black guy at a conservative event?  The keynote speaker.  There’s always a conservative black preacher around every Republican event.

Trump’s appeal got laughed at.   There’s no chance in hell that Trump will “win the black vote” for various reasons.   However, I think it’s actually a really smart move and one that other Republican candidates wouldn’t be bold enough to pull off, let alone be able to pull off.

Why is it smart?   Well, where are all the black people at????  Some of the highest concentration of blacks in the US are in highly contested swing states.    You’ve got Philadelphia and Cleveland in PA and OH.    Then there’s Detroit in Michigan and Milwaukee in Wisconsin, states that either candidate can’t write off.   Even Denver has a large “urban” black population amounting to tens of thousands in a tightly contested state.   In this election we also can’t completely write off Maryland, with a large concentration in Baltimore.   Hell, some people are saying that even New Jersey is up for grabs this time around.

Am I or anyone suggesting that Donald Trump can win over the urban black vote of the Rust Belt?  Not at all.   But I don’t think it’s too far out of the realm of possibility for him to take 12-15% of black voters – compared to the single digits of previous Republicans.

African Americans are about 13% of the population and probably somewhere in the range of the high single digits of the voting public, maybe ten percent.   Taking 12-15% of this doesn’t amount to much in the grand scheme of the general public or even out of the African American voting pool for that matter.

Here’s what it does mean though – for every likely black voter above eight or nine percent that votes for Trump, that’s one vote that there’s about a 90% chance that would’ve went to the Democrats.   So he would be adding to his vote count and more or less subtracting from Hillary’s at the same time.

A bump of a few percent in the black vote accounts for an increase of a few thousand votes (that would mostly come at Hillary’s expense) in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.  Maybe a thousand in Wisconsin.  Even in a state like Iowa with a low black population it could amount to several hundred votes…and these states are often won by margins so slim that a thousand votes here and there could make all the difference.

…and the way our electoral college is set up, those few thousand votes in a few key states could make all the difference nationally.

I don’t think Trump is wasting his time here at all.

Blackout (2013)

I just finished watching this film on Netflix after hearing a little bit about it.   It’s a fictional account of a successful cyberattack on the British power grid which takes the power out for about a week, but the people on the ground don’t necessarily know how long it will be out.

Most of the story is told through cellphone camera on a couple of different people throughout the country in different circumstances. Then there’s plenty of stock footage of riots, traffic jams, etc.

It’s short, maybe coming in at about an hour and fifteen minutes and it’s not a huge investment of time to sit down and watch this.  I thought it started off kind of slow and lame, but as it went on it really did a good job of putting these people into the kinds of sticky situations that one would probably face without the electric grid.

I will say that nothing in it would be new grounds for the kinds of people who dabble in the doomsday/prepper fiction world, so maybe it’s more geared towards “normies” than anything else.   I will say that although the situations were predictable to the more “experienced” consumers of this kind of thing, they still had some punch to it, especially considering the personal view of the people in these situations.

You had a single mother and her daughter trying to get to Sheffield when the power went out.   They were on a busy highway and stuck in traffic.   Since there was no electricity gas pumps weren’t functioning and traffic controls were out, leading to huge jams that went on for days.   They ended up ditching their car and taking a ride with a man to Sheffield, known to be engulfed in riots and experience some, um, difficulties along the way.

Then you had a young couple (or maybe they were brother and sister? I forgot) that went to the hospital after being in an accident.  We see the inner-workings of a hospital on batteries and backup generators, where they have to make some difficult choices on who gets the precious energy.

Then there’s a pack of “chavs” that are taking advantage of the chaos to basically loot and plunder.  Since Big Brother is no longer able to watch the proles on Airstrip One, these guys have a free hand to do as they please. These guys represent that sizable portion of the population that probably would go nuts in a situation like this without any regard to the greater community around them.  I won’t spoil it, but they make a decision that is extremely wasteful and short-sighted for their slight and temporary gain that winds up biting them in the ass.

But my favorite character was the prepper/survivalist guy with his blog and youtube channel.   They lived in a London suburb where he stockpiled food, kept a backup generator, tended a vegetable garden and in general led a life that prepared for a situation just like the one he and his family were in.

Let’s talk about this guy for a minute…  He almost seemed gleeful at the beginning, knowing that his work paid off.  At one point his wife tells him “not to gloat” over their fortune.   Without spoiling his fate, it gets out that he has things that people need and it makes his family into a target for the unwashed masses outside their garden gates.   He’s probably the most interesting character and situation out of the ones shown in the film.

I’m not sure what message the director was trying to get out through the prepper.   Is he saying “fuck it, don’t even bother because people will try to take your shit anyways” or is he saying that a few of the things that the guy did were severe missteps?    Either way, I thought it was a fair and poignant criticism, either way.   Sure “they’ll just come and take it” is kind of an eye-roll inducing excuse in that world, but I thought it was a realistic scenario presented in the film.

One thing that I kept thinking throughout the whole thing was “where are the guns???” then I’d remember a few seconds later that their laws are a little different than ours regarding those kinds of things.  It made me feel fortunate that I can come up with a decent way to defend myself via firearms.    Then again, there’s also few firearms floating around in the hands of the bad guys.   Either way, I felt fortunate that here in the United States of America we have a right to own firearms as it seemed to be the glaringly obvious thing missing from that guy’s preparedness measures.

So yeah, Blackout is worth an hour plus of your time.

Hillary To Give Speech on the “Alt-Right”

Yesterday Hillary Clinton’s people announced that the Hildebeast would be giving a speech in Reno, NV on Thursday about the alt-right and denouncing Donald Trump’s connections within that shadowy world.

Wow.    There’s been so many “I can’t believe this is actually happening…” moments surrounding this election cycle and this might be the cherry on top.   I thought it was remarkable when the term “alt-right” was used in quite a few mainstream media outlets (sometimes even in the right context) and when a few internet celebrities had publicly expressed some sort of connection with the alt-right.

I just never would’ve expected that something that seemed like such a fringe movement a few years ago would be something that would get some airtime in the arena of political discourse….and I especially wouldn’t have believed that we would have a major candidate take the time to stand up and lecture the American public in her school marm manner on the dangers of the rising alt-right and most notably, Donald Trump’s ties to it.

So most people are probably going to ask “what’s the alt-right?”.  Hillary will answer it for them with something on the lines of a bunch of dangerous racist, sexist and homophobic misanthropes hell-bent on tearing down the foundations of American democracy…and Donald Trump’s campaign is only emboldening these people, as he’s been signaling to them and apparently has direct ties to the alt-right via his campaign staff.    That definition will work for most of the people listening, especially those already inclined to Hillary.

My answer to that question would be a little more…nuanced.   The alt-right is “right” politically in the sense that it acknowledges a timeless sense of traditionalism over conventional/contemporary thought on the political spectrum (although it may overlap at times, of course) and certainly modern progressivism.   So you have ethnonationalism over multiculturalism, traditional gender roles over feminism, hierarchy over democracy/socialism, etc.

Overall it’s a worldview that not many people will be able to fully comprehend, pro or con.  I don’t say that because “h’yuck h’yuck, people are stupid!” but rather most people have a hard time framing this kind of thing outside of the parameters of center-right/center-left political thinking.   The intellectual foundations of the alt-right really go beyond the confines of how we usually think politically.   It might blow people’s minds to find out that the alt-right is just as critical (if not more) towards present-day “conservatives”, or uh, “cuckservatives” than they are on democrats.

Ok, so here’s what I think will happen in Hillary’s speech tomorrow…   She’ll roll out the David Duke endorsements of Donald Trump right off the bat.   She’ll make a direct connection between that guy from Brietbart (NOT an alt-right publication) to Trump as exhibit “A” as far as Trump’s ties with racist boogeymen.  She’ll recount his “missteps” as far as calling for the border wall, calling all Mexicans rapists, being islamophobic, etc.   She’ll lambast him for not doing enough at the very least to denounce the racists supporting him while contrasting it with her campaign, a real rainbow coalition of concerned Americans.   Probably all pretty predictable stuff designed to keep the “Donald Trump is a racist” meme circulating.

What will the reaction be?   Well, for one a shitload of memes and mockery from the alt-right, who are absolute experts on this kind of thing.   I’d also imagine that it will have the unintended consequence of getting “angry white males” to look into the alt-right after hearing it mentioned as forbidden fruit.   I’m sure it will get a lot of press time because A.  Hillary doesn’t get out much   B.   They love her and C. Anything that they believe makes Trump look bad.  People who are already sold on Trump being a big scary mean racist guy will feel vindicated and it will probably fall just as flat as anything else with most of the population.

At any rate, as a person that has been listening to the podcasts, reading the books and visiting the websites of the alt-right for a very long time now, I’m really looking forward to hearing what Hillary has to say about the situation.   Again, it almost seems like we’re in a bizarro-world that we actually have a major candidate using airtime that she could be using to talk about health care, the economy, foreign policy, etc. to (presumably) denounce the alt-right.   Someone must’ve done something right to get things to this point.

…And Another Thing About Liberals and Terrorism

 

When there’s some kind of act of terror, one very common response from the left is something along the lines of “well, it’s not as big of a deal as …” and then pick almost any other mode of death.   Maybe more people were killed by a white mass shooter in the same period, maybe more people were even killed by lightening.  You get the idea.

 

Here’s the problem with that – again, the have a hard time seeing this as an existential issue.   We don’t HAVE to have the conditions to make terrorism viable.    We don’t HAVE to have the foreign policy that pits us against these people and we don’t HAVE to allow the people we just pissed off to live amongst us.   These are choices that as a society we should be making instead of having them made for us and assuming it’s the way it has to be.

We’re probably all in more danger of being harmed by an American citizen, born and raised here than an Islamic terrorist.   I don’t doubt that at all.    We certainly have some, uh, domestic issues we need to work out…but they don’t exclude each other.   I’m not sure why this is so hard to get for some people.   Just because I’m more likely to be killed by some common criminal here doesn’t mean that terrorism isn’t a problem and it certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t a preventable problem.   Our internal dysfunction is our poison to swallow/cross to bear and has nothing to do at all with terrorism from outside our society.

I just don’t get the mentality that this is something we absolutely have to live with and accept, so whenever something happens we just tell ourselves “well, white people kill people too!” and/or “more people were killed by bear attacks over the past five years!” and that everything will be ok.

On that note, I understand it’s a bigger issue in Europe than the US.   To be honest, I hardly ever see a Muslim out in the wild here, let alone one that seems like he/she has an axe to grind.   Still, I don’t understand why the western world in general has to accept a parallel and often antagonistic society living amongst us.

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