Columnists

In Washington, where the rice paddies of self-importance are nourished with the night soil of mendacity, columnists are viewed with the seriousness properly reserved for lung cancer. This is ridiculous. Columnists, the rodent class of journalism, have the dignity of carney barkers and merit the social standing of bellhops. It’s a living. For most of us, barely.

A columnist’s job is to tell readers things that they already believe. His function is purely confirmatory. What he confirms may be nonsense, and often is, but this is irrelevant. There is after all everywhere a boom market in nonsense.

Liberals read liberal columnists to be told liberal things, conservatives, conservative, feminists, feminist. All want to be assured that their vacuous and pernicious delusions are the bedrock of cosmic truth. Readers of columns do not  want to learn anything. Most want to be protected from it.

Consistency is a columnist’s indispensable stock in trade. He must never tell his readers anything that they do not hold to be sacred lore. Thus an aspiring columnist is wise to choose an ideological position–it doesn’t matter which–and never, ever stray from it. Whether he believes it is not important. 

I once read of a columnist, perhaps in the Thirties, a savage conservative who eventually drew the ire of a leftish columnist on another paper, who began a campaign to have the conservative fired. The dispute became ugly with unpleasant accusations being traded. Lawsuits were threatened. Public interest became intense. Then it transpired that the two were the same man. Charged with lack of journalistic integrity, he resoponded that readers wanted to see their prejudices ventilated in lively prose. He was, he said, doing it for both sides. Stores sold more than one product. Why shouldn’t he?

In columnists, editors of newspapers value predictability, not thought. They want the writer to say the sorts of things he is expected to say. They do not want waves. They do not want to be surprised, to learn in alarm that “Smith said what? About who? Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus….” and have to put out fires and explain that Smith really meant something different from what he did say and obviously meant. They want columnists they won’t have to think about to fill accepted slots: George Will, for example, conservatism’s milkmaid, to say mild and vaguely right-leaning things to give the paper the claim of even-handedness without having a trace of it. Pat Buchanan, a hard-nosed paleoconservative but understands the rules and limits. Ellen Goodman, the female liberal. Walter Williams, the black conservative who can say things that the editors think but dare not say.

Consistency is vital because readers are easily confused.  For example, a conservative columnist is expected to say that we must spend obscene amounts on thermonuclear weapons to fend off nonexistent threatening nations seeking to destroy our freedoms and children and pollute our precious bodily fluids. His readers will say, “Ah! Just so. Smith understands reality, unlike those sissy liberals.”   If Smith then says that we must save the redwoods, the readers go into column-shock, fall prey to an unpleasant uncertainty, a sensation that something is fundamentally wrong with the world. “Huh? Red…No, this is all wrong. He is supposed to say….”                      

This reader will then stop reading Smith. Here is another rule of the column racket: One lapse from the expected can undo years of slavish conformity. An arch liberal of the most impeccable unoriginality can for years write unobjectionable boilerplate, but let her lapse once into opposition to abortion and she is done. To err is human, to forgive isn’t.

Columnists are often said to be opinion leaders, but in secret moments of honesty we know we aren’t. No. We are shameless panders. Like manufacturers of dog food we produce an expected product, of only sufficient quality that the dog does not actually die. Almost never do we change anyone’s mind.

We get letters attesting our unrivaled brilliance, felicity of language, razor-like logic, and superb grasp of the material, but the writers mean only that we agree with them. We get letters saying that we have no grasp, miss the essence of the matter, and should stop spreading our childish and malign error, by which they mean that they do not agree with us. What we almost never get is a letter, “I hadn’t thought of that. I see that you are right. Thank you for….”

A column is a charlatan’s game involving bait-and-switch, sleight-of-hand, and shoddy goods covered in shiny lacquer. The columnist works with only a few used ideas because mankind has only a few. He arouses always the same emotions for the same reason: greed, hostility, schadenfreude, self-righteousness, derision. He must package these gewgaws, often in complete dereliction of reason, under voracious deadlines, and make them seem sufficiently new and cogent that the editors won’t notice their tired antiquity.

While we have no effect on the public, the public has an effect on us. To write a column is to become an ashen-souled cynic despairing of the human species, and indeed despising it. The columnist may take to drink, and brood on the corrective virtues of thermonuclear war. (“Are there deadlines after a thermonuclear war?” he wonders.) The cause of this melancholy is his mail or, today, comments on the internet. Contemplation of these might lead to suicide, except that hell might be filled with internet commenters. He clings to life.

Commenters are the graveworms of the intellect.  Many will not have have understood what he wrote. Some seem not to have read it. He thinks that perhaps he did not express himself well, and checks. No, he was clear as gin. He is being taken to task, perhaps vilely, for something he didn’t say perhaps opposite to it. “Oh god, oh god,” he thinks. “Illiterates who can read, sort of. I need a drink.”

Next come the gas-station louts who, to judge by commenters, make up most of humanity. They are hostile, angry, churlish, don’t like anything, and usually have the intelligence one associates with microcephalic lemurs. It is nothing that could not be cured with a baseball bat, but there is usually a dearth of opportunity.

There is a reason why journalists worthy of the name–before the arrival of pantied Princtonians worried about confusingly denominated bathrooms–were ashen-souled, chain-smoking drunken cynics with the optimism of a man on death row. Exposure to the human race will do that. And does. And has. 


I have been informed by delighted readers that in last week-s post I wrote William of Orange when I meant the Conqueror. This is because I am reading books on William and Mary and simultaneously on Marlborough which has fixed such mind as I have on them. I once wrote that Potemkin was an associate of Catherine of Aragon, which must have been news to her. Anyway, I apologize for disrupting the flow of time.

Time and the Tidewater: Thoughts and Remembrance

If the reader will permit me this once a somewhat personal and idiosyncratic essay–heretofore I have never been either personal or idiosyncratic–I will promise never to do it again. No one can doubt the reliability of my promises.

I have played in writing over the years with my birth in West Virginia and my consequent but imaginary possession of twelve toes. (Most readers will not care where I was born, and a fair few clearly wish that I hadn’t been. Well, this isn’t your day.) Anyway, I entered this world in Bluefield General Hospital, McDowell County, West Virginia, because my mother was staying with her father, a medical doctor in Crumpler, an unincorporated coal camp up the holler from North Fork, while my father was gunnery officer aboard a destroyer in the Pacific.

In fact my people are pure Cavalier stock of the Virginia Tidewater. I am Frederick Venable Reed Jr, my mother’s maiden name being Betty Venable Rivers–a cousin marriage, which some will suggest explains a lot. The Venables were prominent in the gentility of Southside Virginia.

Why is this of interest, if indeed it is? There are reasonable people today who believe that traits such as politics, way of life, occupation, talents, and intellectual bent are genetically determined. Some time ago I found an interesting study showing that families–those studied were English–maintained distinguishable traits for many generations, suggesting that these were innate. For a generation or two similarities might be explained by children copying their parents. Over many generations, it would appear otherwise.

I wondered whether this would hold for my own family. It seems so. The first mention of Venables was of Walter de Veneur at the Battle of the Ford in 960. He did nothing astonishing, but I think that just being mentioned by name would suggest membership in something similar to the upper middle class.  The name is baronial, from the town of Venables, near Evreux, in Normandy. In France, it morphed into various Latin and French forms such as le Venour, or Venator, or Venereux, becoming, after the clan came to England with William the Conqueror, Venables-Vernon. (Spelling was not an advanced science in those days.) These never sank into the lower classes nor rose to produce dukes or earls, but several barons, members of Parliament and such.  Upper middle class. Honorable mention. Respectable, but not important.

Richard Venables is recorded as having purchased land in Virginia in 1635.  The Venables became a distinguished family, of the ruling class but without doing anything to get them into textbooks. They were in the House of Burgesses. In 1776 Nathaniel Venable founded Hampden-Sydney College, which provided schooling for many of Southside’s leaders.

Venable Hall, Hampden-Sydney College

The Cavalier society of Tidewater was perhaps the high point of American civilization. The people were extraordinarily literate, steeped in the thought of the Enlightenment, imbued with a profound and kindly Christianity. From them came the Washingtons, Jeffersons, Madisons, the Lees and Custises. It is hard to imagine any modern politician, or his ghost writer, writing either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, the latter being the framework, enduring until perhaps 1960, of an entire nation. The Virginians did.

They bore little resemblance–I might almost say “no resemblance”–to the wild and barbaric Scots-Irish of Appalachia or the communal-minded, meddlesome, and brutally intolerant Puritans of New England or, really, to anyone else in America.

Theirs was a hierarchical society. A happy quality of aristocratic rule is that graft and the sordid occupations of the lower classes are viewed as humiliating, noblesse oblige being expected. Manners and morals were not optional. No perfect ordering of humanity exists, but this was about as close as it comes.

Perhaps the physical environment had something to do with it. The uncrowded expansive loveliness of Virginia’s countryside, the wonderful quiet of a lingering summer with no sound but the keening of cicadas, the stillness of winter with only the rifle-report cracking of branches breaking under the weight of ice sheaths in the surrounding forest–these engendered a tranquility undisturbed by the stench and clamor of today. It couldn’t last, and didn’t. 

We were part of a thing brief but of immense value. The literacy, the attention to language, was of one cloth with that of the English, whose  mastery has never been equaled and seldom approached. It has lasted in the family. In evenings with my grandfather at Hampden-Sydney, a parlor game was to call out three numbers–“746, 2, 7”–page 746, column 2, seventh entry of a huge dictionary on onion-skin paper–whereupon the caller-out had to spell the word, define it, pronounce it correctly, and give the etymology.

Tidewater was in the current of the English  stretching from at least Sir Philip Sydney through Lewis Carol, Milne, Galsworthy, Kipling, Tolkien, Churchill and  a hundred others. A thousand others. This virtuosity is now lost beyond redemption as American society, once determined from the top down, has come to be determined from the bottom up. Can you imagine an American politician writing—well, anything literate, but especially the equal of Churchill’s A History of the English Speaking People?

But we were speaking of the curious continuity of families. Come the war, Charles Scott Venable served on Lee’s staff, and Andrew Reid Venable on Jeb Stuart’s. This was a continuation of the aristocratic sense of duty. Their country was being invaded by alien people and they, like Lee, like Jackson, determined to defend it. Both were graduates of Hampden-Sydney, as am I, as were my father and uncle.

After the war Charles Venable was an astronomer and professor of mathematics at the University of Virginia. My grandfather processed mathematics at Hampden-Sydney and served as dean. My paternal uncle passed the bar but chose journalism, my father being a mathematician. I am whatever I am–for years I worked my way through math texts because I liked them–and my daughters are, aside from being smart, a musician and an artist. One of them popped ninety-ninth percentile in math on some standardized test and was invited to attend a math camp. A weird continuity.

The war bore little resemblance to accounts fed to an ignorant public declining both in schooling and in respect for even the idea of schooling. It is a triumph of American civilization that as the opportunity for education has expanded without limit, its practice has fallen to the level proper to peasants.

A consciousness of family was very much a part of Southside. We knew of family early on even in my generation, and in the height of Tidewater, family mattered. There are books, The Venables of Virginia, The Reids and Their Relatives, The Cabells and Their Kin (there being apparently a boom market in alliteration). People knew from whence they came, and cared.

C. S. Venable. The facial resemblance to the men in our line is strong. So is the character and cast of mind. He may not look to have spent years  in heavy combat, but he did.

Today one must be careful in calling the Cavaliers an aristocracy. The word once meant rule by the best, to the extent that it is possible by fallible human beings. It now implies snobbery, even a certain trashiness which is the opposite of what existed in Southside. It evokes the “elites” of today, who are not elite but merely rich. The Cavalier aristocracy involved more a sense of what one should be, how one in a position of responsibility should behave. It is largely gone. I am not sure that we would not profit by its return.

I do not really have twelve toes. 

In Search of the Super Race: The Six-Percent Solution

 

U.S. International Mathematical Olympiad team that in 2016 took the world title: members Ankan Bhattacharya, Allen Liu, Ashwin Sah, Michael Kural, Yuan Yao, Junyao Peng, and coach Po-Shen Loh

I have gotten many hundreds of emails–OK, three emails, but I am rounding up–asking me whether there is a super-race. There are different views on this matter, discussion being carried on with the manners of a hockey match. For people who have better things to do than study abnormal psychology, the players are  briefly as follows: Something called the Alt-Right that believes the white race to be superior and wants to rid the country of of encroaching dark scum. The Human Biodiversity movement, HBD, more scientific and less surly but picking whites while conceding that yellow are smarter.  Finally IQists, who believe that IQ is a reliable measure of genetic intelligence. They too put yellows as more intelligent.

The Alt-Right believes that the whites are innately–i.e., genetically–superior to all other races, that they have dominated the world through higher intelligence, and that their mastery is the result of Darwinian selection. Whites, they say, have a marvelous track record of achievement, and they don’t want to dilute it by intermarriage.

They have a point. It is not thought politic in today’s racial climate to notice the obvious, that white Europeans have been far and away the most successful race yet. (The “yet” is important.) No other has even come close. Various peoples have learned to use the products of European civilization–the Japanese, Latin Americans, Thais, etc. at length–but have not engendered it. Look around you and see whether you can find anything that was not invented by European whites (other than paper and gunpowder).

But:

International Physics Olympiad Internationally, top four contestants were Chinese, Chinese, Korean, Korean, with eleven of the top fifteen being east Asian. The US first appeared in sixteenth place. The American team: Jason Lu,  Srijon Mukherjee, Vincent Liu,  Abijith Krishnan,  Jimmy Qin. Less than six percent of America is Asian.

Many in HBD concede that north Asians, specifically, the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans are more intelligent than white Europeans. While many outside of HBD (including me) doubt the reliability of IQ tests as measures of intelligence, the HBD people do not. They often assert that observation supports their view–that achievements of both individuals and peoples track IQ, that high achievement is therefore evidence of high IQ.

It would then seem to be Asians, not whites, who are wildly over represented in intellectual achievement. Races other than white and yellow races are not even in the running.

Although Asians comprise only 13 percent of California’s population, three-fifths of the state’s National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists have Asian last names. (Good article on this: Taki’s Magazine) These Semifinalists are in the top .5% in intelligence, or one in two hundred. The Asian kids outnumber the whites by more than four to one.

Now, background: Worldwide we are seeing a demographic shift of a speed and scale that makes the barbarian occupation of the Roman empire seem lackadaisical. America, already substantially African, has opened the floodgates to Latin America and simultaneously imports people from a variety of underperforming societies. Why they underperform can be debated; that they do so cannot. Exactly why America does this is not clear. Races and nations have often been overrun and absorbed by others, but white Americans are to my knowledge the only ones to deliberately submerge themselves racially.

Brain size: Blacks 1267 cm3, European-descended people (Whites) 1347 cm3, and East Asian-descended people (East Asians) 1364 cm3

At the same time Europe deliberately and without need imports huge numbers of people of incompatible and unsuccessful stock, various Muslims and Africans, with disastrous consequences. Meanwhile the white world seems exhausted, the American Empire in decline, with corruption, lack of will, sorry universities, and poor government taking a lethal toll.

Now it is Eurowhites who are the racial under-performers. Again, nobody else is even in the game.

Psychomotricians, who are neither the highly politicized IQists nor  racist peddlers of Hitlerian pseudoscience, but very careful statisticians,  put Chinese IQ at above 105, white at 100. This is not a trivial difference, and has serious consequences at the high end of the distribution.

China rises with astonishing speed. Alt-Righters are thus caught in a trap: Their arguments for the superiority of whites to blacks and Latinos equally show the superiority of Asians to whites.  Anyway, if their conclusions are correct, the Chinese will be well advised not to intermarry with whites and thereby lower their mental capacity. I presume that HBDists will sympathize with this attitude as they too want to protect their genetic purity.

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Va. is a very, very elite school–elite in brains.  Average math SAT: 759. “Of the 457 students in the Class of 2016, 162 are National Merit Semi-Finalists, and an additional 210 are National Merit Commended students.” Again, Semi-Finalists are in the top .5% in intelligence. TJ is over 66% Asian.

Bronx High School of Science, likewise very selective: 63% Asian. Brooklyn Tech, another of  of New York’s three hyper-selective high schools: 61% Asian, 22% white

If they are right, the implications are interesting. In the United States, blacks and Latinos barely show up in the high-end sciences. The are probably a third of the population. This leaves a bit more than two hundred million whites and a few Asians to do the brain work on which modern societies depend.

The number of these cannot much be increased. Further, America long ago  put in places a system for sucking the best minds out of the whole country and sending them to good universities. For example, as long ago as the Sixties all high-school students could take the National Merit exam and semifinalists got recruiting packages from Harvard, Yale and, if memory serves, Princeton.

Numbers matter. Add up a billion Han Chinese–this doesn’t cunt Muslim Uighurs in Xin Jiang–126 million Japanese, 75 million Koreans, and you get and you get a formidable combined population. China alone can potentially field five times the engineers that America can, starting from a pool of higher intelligence.

Yuja Wang at Carnegie: Not just engineering.

The slant-eyed Asians are especially strong in mathematical fields. In fact, they seem so superior to Eurowhites that any reasonable person might expect them to dominate the sciences and engineering in the whole world in coming years. A few of the examples I have given here might be explained  by culture, local demographics, and so on. Collectively they appear to be a death knell to European intellectual mastery, set to overwhelm America in the STEM fields of science, technology, orienteering, and math.

CalTech has probably the most demanding entrance standards in America and does not practice affirmative action. It is 45% Asian, 27% white, 12% Hispanic, 1% black.

As I suspect HBDists would agree, since we are using their standards of judgement we begin to see replacement of a dominant race by a superior race.

PISA scores, This is the Program for International Scholastic  Assessment, administered every three years to high school students by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The seven top scorers in math: Singapore, Hongkong, Macao, Taiwan, Japan, China, and Korea. The Verbal order was not mulch different.

Anyone following the breakneck development of China since Mousey Dung stopped crippling his country will see that a great deal of intelligence is being deployed. Increasingly, and rapidly. China makes inroads into what has been white European superiority in genetics, computing, weaponry, publication of scientific papers, and so on. And not just China.

Scripps Spelling Bee: “Seventeen out of the last twenty one winners (from 1999 to 2016), including all champions for the most recent nine years… have been Indian Americans.. Indian-Americans make up less than one percent of the U.S. population.[4] In 2016, Nihar Janga from Austin, Texas, became the youngest champion in the bee’s history when he won the title at the age of 11.”

The combined evidence is crushing. In my years as a writer on technology I noticed what then seemed to me an unusual number of Asian names in staff lists of advanced laboratories. I doubt this has changed. Recently a friend in California, with an Asian wife, and therefore plugged into that community, told me that the carefully unspoken view was that “The whites are lazy and stupid.”

The Putnam math aptitude test. Wikipedia: “It is widely considered to be the most prestigious university-level mathematics examination in the world, and its difficulty is such that the median score is often zero or one (out of 120) despite being attempted by students specializing in mathematics.” Winners, mostly from the Ivy League:

2015 Pakawut Jiradilok, Bumsoo Kim, Gyujin Oh,
Daniel Spivak, David H. Yang,  Yunkun Zhou. Female winner, Danielle Wang.

2014 Ravi Jagadeesan,  Zipei Nie, Mark A. Sellke, Bobby C. Shen, David H. Yang, Lingfu Zhang.

Given the overwhelming evidence of Asian superiority, we might well ask ourselves how we ought to respond. The Alt-Right says that, well, they’re smart but they can’t innovate so it doesn’t matter. Let us pray.

Stuyvesant High School: Very high-end, New York, over 3000 students, second highest number of National Merit Semi-Finalists after Thomas Jefferson, admission solely on a very demanding entrance test. As of the 2014-15 school year, Asian students made up 73% of the school’s population; White students, 20%; Latinos, 3%; Blacks, 1%; and unknown/other, 7%.[38][39]

It seems to me that the Alt-Right-HBD folk, believing in the evolutionary principle of survival of the fittest, in the genetic and therefore immutable nature of intelligence, and that IQ is an accurate measure of intelligence and therefore of Darwinian fitness, must conclude that we whites, to better the species, should stop breeding and allow the more advanced species to supplant us. I await their acclamation for presenting this prescient and admirable case.

(A skeptic might note that the phenomenal achievement of the Asians belonged until recently to Jews, whose genetically immutable IQ seems to have fallen precipitately while the genetically immutable IQ of the Asians has risen in an huge genetic shift without benefit of selective pressure. But let’s not ruin a good story by thinking about it. )


Fred can be reached at jetpossumreaders@yahoo.com. Put the letters pdq somewhere in the subject line to avoid heartless autodeletion by spamicidal software.

What to Do with Latinos?: Get Used to Them

Following Mr. Trump’s kaleidosopically shifting policies isn’t easy. He was going to declare China a currency manipulator on day one, but didn’t, going to impose a forty-five percent tariff on Chinese goods but apparently won’t, was going to shift the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but isn’t, going to tear up the Iran treaty but hasn’t, going to end the wars but isn’t, and going to rid the country of illegal aliens within two years. Now it seems he has backed off this too, and there is  in the air the merest whiff of…amnesty?

Oh well. Mass deportation  was a loony idea to begin with. Consider:

For years there have been said to be 11 million illegals, a number having a  suspicious stability. Foes of immigration have put it at thirteen or fourteen. Call it at least 12 million. To deport them in two years, Trump would have to deport 500,000 a month. For twenty-four months. To deport a tenth as many, he would need to expel 50,000 a month.

Is the man crazy? Does he just shoot from the lip on crucial policies without thinking? Can’t do arithmetic? Or lies in the normal manner of politicians?

His promised expulsion would rank among history’s most awful humanitarian disasters. Mexico could not possibly absorb such a huge tsunami of returnees. They would have nowhere to stay, nothing to eat, no jobs.

The embittered anti-immigration people, readers of sites like Vdare, would not care. Screw the vile brown scum, rapists and welfare parasites, murderers, drug peddlers, low-IQ nasty unevolved human flatworms. The bastards came illegally, so to hell with them. But, I think, not enough of the country will buy it. Stopping the influx will probably fly.  The Wall? Maybe, but I wouldn’t bet on it. We seem to hear less about it. Criminals? Most would favor deporting them.

But twelve million? Or anything resembling it? For many reasons, both charitable and self-interested, too many groups aren’t up for mass arrests and deportations. Not businessmen, who want the cheap labor, nor the Democratic Party that wants the votes, nor academia, nor the media, nor sanctuary cities, nor many of the young, nor liberals. Nor…California.

The question is not whether it was a good idea to encourage illegals to come. It wasn’t. The question is not even whether it would be good for the country to run them out. Doing it would be too ugly to gain support from the public. Too many illegals have been in the country for five, ten, fifteen years, speak English, have employers who value them, have children who are citizens and sometimes do not speak Spanish.

The Hispanic genii is out of the  bottle. It is a done deal. Trump can’t do much about it. Neither can anyone else. Deporting a few hundred thousand of 56 million would not make a dent.  A million would constitute less than two percent of the Latino population.

In any event, running out the illegals would leave 44 million legal Latinos. Or, increasingly, sort of Latinos. Is Rosa Gutierrez, nineteen, born and raised in California, whose English she speaks flawlessly–a Latina? Quite possibly she has never been to Mexico. She thinks that she is an American. Why isn’t she?

Worse, Rosa is pretty and feminine. If Pew is to be believed, the intermarriage rate is at 26 percent. This horrifies white nationalists, gratifies assimilationists, but neither horror nor gratification is going to change things. Will Rosa’s children, had in conjunction with her husband Robert Williams, be Latinos? They won’t think so. And you cannot deport American citizens.

Much of the hostility, though expressed in practical terms of lost jobs and so on, is in fact racial, and therefor incurable. Many of the white nationalists exhibit an almost effeminate squeamishness at the thought of their precious bodily essences being polluted by oozing dark sludge. Well, as you will. There are reasons why this view isn’t going to prevail. See below.

Oozing dark sludge. Young Anglo men may not see her exactly that way.

Since huge numbers of Latinos are in the country, and are not going to leave, the intelligent question–yes, I know this is a political column, but we can try a little eccentricity here–is: Can they be part of America? Well, let’s see.

They are approximately Christian, though like all Christians they don’t always remember the pars about adultery and fornication. They don’t do terrorism. Brown Lives Matter doesn’t burn malls and loot shoe stores, in part because it doesn’t exist. They don’t genitally mutilate their daughters, forbid them schooling, or make them wear funny black bags. They do not yell “Pancho-hu akbar” and stab people .An estimated million Americans including your scribe live amicably in Mexico. If it were such a horrible experience, you might expect us to notice. Wherever I have been in the US–LA, San Fran, New York, San Antonio, Houston, Laredo, Chicago, Washington–they have seemed integrated, working in restaurants, doctrine’s offices, what have you and both learning English and, often, forgetting Spanish.

There are down sides. While very few Mexicans are involved in the drug trade, a high proportion of those involved in the drug trade are Mexicans. Another is that if government can turn them into welfare dependents, it will.

What the white nationalists can do, perhaps, is to alienate white from brown and split the country into three mutually hostile groups, white, black and Latino. The constant disparagement of Latinos by Trump and the anti-immigrant enthusiasts appears  aimed at just that. Strictly speaking, Trump might respond that he is not against Latin Americans but only against criminals and illegals, but it certain sounds as though he hates Mexicans. The racialist sites post endless stories, not infrequently dishonest, about Latino stupidity, crime, shiftlessness, and vile behavior. Mexicans, rightly or wrongly, conclude that they are hated. This does not encourage assimilation–assimilation being of course the last thing that white nationalists want. To endorse assimilation would be to grant legitimacy to  the assimilees.

This attitude will prove unfortunate, since assimilation is the only hope of not having the United States become an ethnic disaster.

White nationalists tend to believe, and obviously hope, that Latin Americans are genetically criminal and incapable of  of fitting into nations of the First World.  This allows a comforting faith that mixing  should be prevented at any cost. Yet those who have  traveled in the world will have seen that economics, not genetics, is primary in behavior. In particular, as people move into the middle class,  crime and fertility decline sharply and interest in education rises.

Just so, here. The Mexican middle class is no more violent than anyone else’s. (From which we derive genetically fascinating conclusions. Apparently the presence of a refrigerator and indoor plumbing alter the genetic makeup of those near them.  Weird Kelvinator rays, one supposes.) Another observation readily made around the planet is that middle classes usually get along well with each other. All of this would suggest that encouraging immigrants to move into the middle class might be a Real Good Idea.

Unfortunately an assimilated Mexican middle class would intermarry vigorously with whites, thus polluting our precious bodily essences. Many of the anti-immigrants simply do not want anything to do with any Mexican ever under any circumstances. Thus they have no policy other than getting rid of people most of whom cannot be gotten rid of.

In particular they furiously oppose amnesty for illegals. This would be a rational position if there were a possibility that Mr. Trump could chase them out of the country–which he can’t do in significant numbers, which would mean many millions. At that point keeping them illegal amounts to preventing their economic rise and creating another permanent underclass.

Gosh, what a swell idea.

 


Fred can be reached at jetpossum-readerss@yahoo.com.  Reply unlikely due to volume, not bad manners.: Get Used to Them

A Budget without Russians: The Empire’s Nightmare

Methinks the insane hysteria over Russia needs to stop. It probably will not. For reasons of domestic and imperial politics the American public is again being manipulated into a war frenzy by Washington and New York. It is stupid, without justification, and dangerous.

The silliness over Russia is, obviously, part of the Establishment’s drive to get rid of Trump. Yes, the man is erratic, contradictory, shoots before he aims, backs off much of what he has promised, and may be unqualified as President–but that is not why Washington and New York want to get rid of him. It is about money and power, as is everything in the United States. Wall Street, the Pentagon, the Neocons, and the Empire run America. Trump has threatened their rice bowls.

Consider:

He has threatened to cut the F-35, a huge blow to Lockheed-Martin and hundreds of subcontractors; to pull US troops out of South Korea, a blow to the Empire; to end the wars, a blow both to the Empire and the military industry getting rich from them; to pull troops out of Okinawa, crippling the Empire in the Pacific; to start a trade war with China with a forty-five percent tariff of Chinese goods, threatening American corporations with factories there; and to chase out illegal immigrants, an important source of cheap labor to businesses.  He has called NATO “obsolete,” when leaving it would be the death knell of the Empire; and threatened to establish good relations with Russia, when the lack of a European enemy would leave NATO even more obviously unnecessary.

Thus New York and its branch operation in Washington resuscitate Russia as a bugbear to terrify the rubes, meaning most of the public. Money. Power. Empire.

What sense does this make–apart from money and power? Russia is an economically challenged nation of 145 million, less than half of Europe’s population and much less than half of America’s. Its economy is a small fraction of the combined economies of Europe and America. It is not on a war footing. It is not moving forces into position for an invasion. It is not mobilizing. To satellite photography, to NSA these things would be as obvious as leprosy on a prom queen. The Establishment would be screaming to high heaven if there were the slightest trace of preparation for war. The whole business is manufactured.

I frequently see the assertion that Russia “hacked” voting machines to give the election to President Trump. The majority who are excited about this, I suspect the very great majority, have not the foggiest idea what they are talking about. Hacking to most people means something they saw in a movie, with some bright kid going clickety-click-click on a laptop and penetrating NORAD.  It is a vague menace lacking specific content. To them I would say:

If you cannot program in assembly language, you do not know how computers work. If you do not know TCP/IP from DHCP, you do not know how the internet works. If you cannot tell a dictionary attack from stack overflow, you don’t have a housefly’s idea how hacking works. If you have not investigated the various kinds of voting machines to see what would be involved in changing their vote totals, you probably ought to take up stamp collecting. 

This is all orchestrated. So is the constant Putin bashing. His sin of course is that he doesn’t knuckle under to Washington. It is also the sin of Iran, China, Cuba, and North Korea.

The con is often silly. From time to time we see screaming headlines headlines, RUSSIAN BOMBER FLIES OFF AMERICAN COAST!  Or somebody’s coast. Recently it was A SPY SHIP!  The “bomber” is usually a Tu-95 Bear (NATO designation), an ancient four-engine prop job, though a beautiful aircraft, converted for reconnaissance. The idea that Moscow would send one lumbering plane to bomb America is too stupid–well, no, nothing is too stupid.

Tu-95. First flew in 1952. Yes, it can carry nuclear weapons. So can a Volkswagen Jetta.

Then there is the assertion that Russia hacked the DNC and gave its emails to Wikileaks. This is possible, but how would we know? (And would not revealing misbehavior be a  service to the voting public?) Note that many people had an incentive to do it, from disgruntled Democratic insiders to anyone who stood to lose by Hillary’s election or gain by Trump´s, to the Trump campaign itself, to the many talented freelancers who just enjoy raising hell. Maybe .1 percent of the population, certainly not including me, have the expertise and access even to guess intelligently.

If you believe same intel agencies that lied us into Vietnam and Iraq, and that  apparently are very much involved in anti-Trumpian machinations, you are the Establishment’s ideal citizen. For political reasons, specifically hostility to Trump, they will say anything that suits their purposes. and only inadvertently  include the truth. If this seems an extreme claim, reflect: 

In 1964 the CIA was running various kinds of attacks against North Vietnam, without admitting it. Two intelligence vessels, the Maddox and the Turner Joy, claimed that they had been fired upon by the North. They had not, and if they had been it would not have been unreasonable since the United States was inserting teams of saboteurs into the north. The result, and intention, was to chivy America into wars which devastated three countries and lead to millions of deaths. It worked.

After Nine Eleven, the government, using the intel outfits, deliberately led most of the public to believe that Iraq was developing the dread WMD, and thus get the United States to attack for the benefit of the oil industry, Israel, and the imperial lobby. It was nonsense and Washington had to know  it. At the time Iraq was probably the most watched real estate on the planet. The result was destruction of an innocent country and the bloody mess that is now the Middle East. Which, note, had nothing to do with the interests of the United States or the well-being of its people.

All of America’s wars are for the benefit of others than Americans. Do you think you would be made better off by a war with Russia? China? Does the unending butchery in Afghanistan  improve your life? Would you feel more secure if NATO–Washington’s puppet troupe–had bases in Montenegro? Wherever the hell that is?

The same game is now being played with Russia. Almost daily we read that Washington is sending troops to Poland, Bulgaria, Norway to confront the Russians, who are doing nothing that needs confronting.

“US to Send 1,000 Troops to Poland to ‘Deter Russia”’

Deter it from what?

This morning: “Germany Will Send Tank to Russian Border.”

A recent move was to  send naval forces to the Black Sea, which is not America’s concern. What, precisely, are those ships supposed to do? Steam fiercely in circles, bowwow-grrr-woof? Do they have a purpose other than domestic American consumption? Are they to attack something, defend something in danger of attack, forbid the Russians to do–what?

Russia is not going to invade Europe, and Washington knows it perfectly well, so why put tiny combat forces on its frontiers? If there is going to be a deliberate war, Washington is going to have to start it. Attacking Russia with minor forces, or at all, is probably an idea nuttier than even Washington can invent. One hopes that Europe would not allow Americans to do what they usually do, get others to fight its wars in other people’s countries.

The danger with letting  pasty neocons in New York play with military forces is that brinksmanship, fun for fern-bar Napoleons, can have not-fun consequences. If Washington puts naval forces in Russian waters in the Black Sea, the Russians will feel compelled to shadow the ships, to keep fighters flying overhead. A mistake occurs–mistakes do occur–and one side downs a plane belonging to the other. The wounded side feels obliged to respond. We have a shooting war. In closed waters bordering Russia, the US Navy would not win. Washington would then feel that it had to defend its ego by expanding the war.  Wounded ego is important to the vast combative vanities who so often rise to power.

And there is no way to rein in these lunatics. They send the military where they like, attack whoever they choose, and we read about it after it has been done. One could almost wish we had constitutional government.

But I dream.


Fred can be reached at jetpossum-readers@yahoo.com. Put the letters “pdq” somewhere in the subject line to avoid heartless autodeletion. Apologies for inability to reply due to volume.

Internal Secession and the Road to Ruin: Two Countries

Trump did not cause the deep division in the country. It caused him. There are two very different Americas. I suspect  that the half of the country that voted for Trump, that voted with wild enthusiasm, that roared at huge rallies, was not so  much voting for Trump as against the other America. It was just that they had never had a chance before. The two countries have little in common and do not belong on the same geography.

Whether Trump proves to be the catastrophic buffoon he apparently aspires to be, the current protests illuminate a stark difference between his supporters and Hillary’s. The chasm is far deeper than  just politics, embracing  culture, taste, manners and morals. The groups are distinct and incompatible .  

The difference begins with manners. Throughout the campaign Trump’s partisans forgathered in huge rallies, applauded, calmly went home, and later voted.  At the same time we saw on Clinton’s behalf mobs of ill-bred, worse mannered, loutish, perennial adolescents blocking  highways, shutting down rallies, engaging in vandalism and physically attacking supporters of Trump. Cars were destroyed, fires set, ATMs smashed. Black Lives Matter, always ghetto predators, were worst, but low-grade college students and their equally dismal professors joined in. They were obscene, infantile. 

And naive: They apparently believe that they harm Trump though of course their behavior drives people in the other direction. I am no fan of Donald , but I look the foregoing and think Anything else.

The desire to shock of the eternally pubescent. Smirk, smirk, look at me, smirk, smirk.

We saw Ashley Judd, apparently an actress, addressing the “Women’s March.”

“I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege. I’m not as nasty as using little girls like Pokemon before their bodies have even developed. I am not as nasty as your own daughter being your favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.”

The astonishing thing is not that some foul-mouthed twit came up with such cloacal gush, but that the “Women’s March” sponsored her, did not eject or even censure her.

Can you imagine any of Trump’s middle-American supporters accusing Obama of lusting for incest with his daughters?  The two camps are different peoples. Half of the country seems culturally dominated from the ghetto. The other half embodies standards of behavior that have usually been thought congruent with civil society. While Trump himself is crass, making menstrual jibes on the air at Megyn Kelly for example, his supporters are not.

Any number of arguments can be adduced against Trump but so much of the outpouring of hostility, even from the intelligent, lacks thought. Thisaphobe, thataphobe, Nazi, misogynist. Putin’s Bitch.  Most seem not to know what the words mean, or care.

Wild thought: We may be seeing Darwinian regression. The intellectual nanoparticles waving placards, the sobbing talking headesses  may represent the return of the procaryote IQ. They give us a living paleontological record of what life looked like before it evolved. Think “Cambrian Implosion.” I imagine Rachel Maddow with twelve body segments and compound eyes.

Different peoples. I would like to see a comparative poll: How many women who voted for Trump would allow themselves to be associated with Ms. Judd’s remarks? None, I suspect. How many women voting for Trump would parade around in “pussy hats”? How many fathers voting for Trump would allow their daughters, have raised their daughters, to behave as the “Women’s Marchers”? Their children to copy Black Lives Matter? 

Different civilizations. Virtually no overlap.

The media are decidedly of the Clinton America. In Washington at least some journalists donned pussy hats and jointed the demonstrators. Trashy behavior has seeped into many in the professional classes. Trump  recently sued a journalist and the London Daily Mail for describing Melania as “a high-end escort”–i.e., a take-out call girl, a prostitute. Can you imagine a conservative paper–say, the Washington Times, The American Conservative, National Review–describing Michelle Obama as a whore? Or Trump’s fans wearing scrotal hats? 

There is a brattyness in the apparent belief of the Clinton Americans that they are entitled to the electoral result of their choice. When they don’t get it,they act like spoiled two-year-olds. Poor widdle fings! It is embarrassing. If Hillary had won, would disappointed Trumpists be squalling and posing in genital headgear or looting and burning?  Whatever the merits of the politics of either side, the two have little in common culturally. 

The divide is far deeper and more general than the heat of the election. The sprawling class from which the protesters come, not just in Washington or just recently, opposes the bedrock of our approximation of democracy. It is not an economic divide. On American campuses almost everywhere “students,” most of whom do not have the intelligence for college, use the tactics of Brown Shirts to shut down speeches by anyone who does not agree with them.  They have no conception of reasoned debate, toleration of disagreement, or respect for law. Rather than promote  assimilation to the American norm, or what was the American norm, the only hope to keep the country from devolving into warring tribes, they promote identity politics. They do not, for example, disavow the depredations of Black Lives Matter. Any behavior is acceptable, even admirable, if engaged in by their side.

Decorum and its lack are recurrent themes. I have no hard evidence, but suspect that the Other America believes that men should behave as gentlemen and women, ladies; that sex should be a private matter and in particular that children should not be too early exposed to it. Clinton’s America leans more to the view that sexual language is authentic and natural. Hemorrhagic tuberculosis is natural, but perhaps not to be encouraged. And so from a mainstream performer, Beyonce, the lyrics

“Can you lick my Skittles, it’s the sweetest in the middle/ Pink is the flavor, solve the riddle”

Painfully cute. Can you imagine Billie Holiday singing this? Ella Fitzgerald? From rappers there is far more explicit, scatological, and sadomasochistic “music.” Whether you think this is people’s art, the authentic expression of an oppressed race, or something that should be scrawled on the wall of a public toilet, tracks with who you voted for. Again, two countries.

Berkeley Protests of Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos Caused $100,000 in Damage”

“Protests that erupted at UC Berkeley ahead of a planned Wednesday appearance by right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos caused $100,000 worth of damage to the campus, the school said Thursday.”

These vandals are the storm troopers of the Clinton America. I cannot imagine the Other America behaving thusly because of the scheduling of any speaker whatever.

For whatever reason, those who regard themselves as liberals are far more given to demonstrating and rioting than conservatives, and far more vulgar. I say “regard themselves as liberals.” Their behavior is opposite to classical liberalism. Vulgarity is not liberalism. Neither is arson. Neither is suppression of free speech. All of these are now the norm on campuses, in the media, among both students and professors. And among the protesters.

Another country.

Protests as such  give little to deplore. Demonstrations are both legal and constitutionally protected if well behaved, and the women in Washington were. It is the values they represent that marks them as another country. The self-satisfaction  appalls, the belief that they represent the universe. Coming together in vast shared tantrums, endlessly reaffirming each other on Facebook, may give them an exaggerated impression of their numbers. Thus the frequent use of the phrase “we the people.” Actually they are “we, quite a large number of the people.” As I write Trump’s approval stands at 52%. My guess is that the man’s unending truculence will lower his numbers, but it hasn’t yet. And a complete failure of his presidency will not change the fact that half of the country is thoroughly sick of the other half.

Where does this lead?

Invading Mexico: More Brilliance from Washington

Time: “You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump told Peña Nieto, according to the excerpt given to AP. “You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”

With Trump it is difficult to tell bluster and carney-barker showmanship from serious consideration or actual intention.  While clearly a threat, the remark  may have been intended only to intimidate, and the ascription of cowardice to the Mexican army only ill-bred. Trump’s military record leaves no doubt as to his own courage. Given his administration’s threats of military action–war–against China and Iran, the possibility that he will send troops southward may be worth pondering. Whether the President has the faintest idea of what would be involved in very much worth pondering.

If troops are sent, what will they face in Mexico? What would they do? How many would they be?

To begin with, the narcos look exactly like everybody else in Mexico. They do not carry ID cards saying “Narcotraficante.” They can easily blend into the general population. If GIs try to operate here, the inability to distinguish narcos from everybody else  will quickly lead to intense frustration. Frustrated troops become angry. They begin to hate the locals as in all such wars they hated the dinks, gooks, slopes, zipperheads, sand niggers, and rag-heads. Mexicans will begin to seem treacherous to them, as always happens when US troops go to countries they do not understand. All Mexicans will come under suspicion.

Soldiers, being young, usually not too bright, poorly educated, with no experience of other cultures, will start knocking people around. It always happens. Always. It is exactly what happened in Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia. There will be beatings, people slapped about, mistaken raids with the man of the house handcuffed, thrown to the floor, and humiliated in front of his wife. This is what happens when when you chase willothewisp narcos or terrs or mujaheddin or VC or commies on the basis of shaky information from unreliable sources with agendas of their own.

American forces will be called “advisers” or maybe “trainers” by the Pentagon, but Mexicans will see them as invaders. Since the Mexican constitution forbids the deployment of foreign forces in the country, they will indeed be invaders, although the Mexican government will be pressured into “inviting” them.. No country well tolerates arrogant, blundering, heavy-handed alien myrmidons with the power to push them around. GIs will not be regarded as friends or saviors.

Drug territory, Sierra Madre. Dense cover, fog, enormous rocks, steep escarpments. Phredfoto. 

Much of the narco culture springs from the Sierra Madre Occidental, very rough mountainous land traversed by trails and dirt roads that the narcos know well and GIs  never will. People here are tough, leading lives harder than any in modern America. For many of them the drug trade is a miraculous thing allowing them more than a very hard-scrabble existence. American troops bumbling about here would accomplish nothing. The Pentagon, again, would rely on drone operators with no way of knowing who they were killing.

Many of the narcos are in cities, such as Culiacán, capital of Sinaloa, home of the Sinaloa cartel. What do foreign troops do in a large busy city?

To make things worse, much worse, the narcos are neither helpless nor poorly armed. They have AKs, RPGs. They have years of experience in combat, with each other or the Mexican army. They are skilled at ambushes. When you look exactly like the rest of the population, and the American soldiers look like space aliens, they are easy to ambush. The American reaction to a few dead GIs will be hysterical. The narcos will use ambushes in populated areas to make troops fire wildly, killing children, grandmothers, young women. This will turn the country further against the invaders. Not nice, but effective.

The US will rely on its new toys, drones, and on helicopters to try to compensate for the fact that Mexico is a huge country with lots of very nasty terrain. Drone operators don’t know who they are shooting at. This means that, as always happens, always, they will kill a lot of innocent people. The American media will suppress the these killings, as they do in America’s other invasions, but the Mexicans will know. The military doesn’t care as long as killings do not result in bad publicity. The Trump administration will refer to these slaughters as “isolated incidents.” An isolated incident is business as usual that has been detected.

It takes very little killing of innocents to generate hatred. The public will regard the invaders as worse than the narcos and withhold cooperation,  which will make the invaders yet more angry. Further, cooperating with the US will be dangerous. The narcos respond very badly to such things. The Mexican army will be compelled by the US to assist the invaders but will be unenthusiastic. Soon the Americans will be complaining that they are getting little help in what the GIs will be told is a campaign to help Mexico., 

This too is routine and inevitable. In all of its invasions, in Southeast Asia, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, the Pentagon makes a show of training local forces to “defend their countries,” to stand up and fight whatever it is that the United-States doesn’t like. This means encouraging, or forcing, citizens of a country to kill other citizens of the same country. Only the Pentagon could be surprised when this works poorly. Picture China’s invading the US and forcing Virginians to fight Texans. And so in country after country the Americans complain about the indigenous army, of its poor fighting quality, low morale, desertion, payrolls padded with ghost soldiers, theft of weapons, and troops going over to the enemy.

Northern Mexico. You actually find towns and homes in and around this sort of landscape. Phredfoto.

Mexico is very large, about 2000 miles across the northern border and about 1200 driving miles from Laredo to Tuxtla Gutierrez. Much of it is godawful for infantry operations. Necessarily the troops will be able to operate only in small parts of the country. The narcos will easily go around them. Since a small number of troops will accomplish nothing, there will be calls for more troops. 

In short, a few GIs will be pointless. Large numbers will be pointless while killing large numbers of people and reducing yet another country to chaos. Maybe it isnl’t a really bright idea.


Fred can be reached at jetpossum-readers@yahoo.com. Put the letters “pdq” in the subject line to avoid autodelation. Replies usually not possible due to volume, not bad manners..

 

 

 

Many Storms Gathering: Reflections on Trump

I bow (in case you were wondering) to no one in my loathing for the Clintons, the Establishment, the Beltway Insulates, political correctness, BLM, radical feminists, the controlled media, Obama, Wall Street, neocons, Social-Justice Look-at-Mes, and the New York Oligarchs. After the election, I figured, having no choice anyway, to see what Trump actually did. I have seen. America elected a dangerous curiosity.

Listen to Trump’s Secretary of State Tillerson, his representative, addressing Congress and ordering China around like a misbehaving twelve-year-old: “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”

This amounts to “Do what I say, or else.” It is an ultimatum, a thing to be used gingerly among big powers.  The only “else” is war. Yes, he was speaking unofficially, but his interventions are clear. 

Ultimata are dangerous. They are insulting. They leave no room for preservation of dignity by compromise, by finding a way to give in without seeming to. They are a way to look for a fight. A Secretary of State who casually issues ultimata to huge and nuclear powers is a symptom of an executive branch  utterly out of control.

Tillerson’s combativeness is not a fluke. Vice President Bannon in The Independent “We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years, aren’t we?” Mr Bannon said on his radio show in March 2016. “There’s no doubt about that.”

It also shows the danger of a President with no restrictions on his power to make war. In this respect, current Presidents are as autonomous as Roman emperors, having established that they can wage war at will.  Whether the country wants to go to war makes no difference.

FoxNews The US is  officially putting Iran “on notice” after its missile test.

The same truculence. The same sense of entitlement. Another war coming up. We would find out about it the day after it began.

A point apparently lost on the President is that we do not live in 1955. Then, it was a bully’s world. The carriers could easily have prevented sampans from going to islands and China had no hope of attacking the US navy or engaging in nuclear war. Today it can do both. While the US would “win” a conventional war, assuming that it remained conventional, the consequences would be unpredictable and the economic effects catastrophic.

Trump is extremely combative, erratic, apparently a bully, and responds to resistance by doubling down. To many of us, including me, this was  immensely satisfying when he told the press to bugger off, defied the Clinton-Wall Street-Beltway elites, and talked of putting the interests of America before those of big business.  The campaign was fine entertainment. Because so many were sick of the elites, he is President. Fun as a candidate, but in a President?

The same psychology of the gas-station lout appears in his approach to Mexico, where I live. In particular his insistence that Mexico pay for his wall is insulting, and deliberately so. He very evidently does not like Mexico.

Why?

He got screwed in a business deal in Mexico and has been hostile to the country ever since. Time published a list of Trump’s tweets on Mexico, a remarkable number of which expressed personal anger. For example, here he  conflates foreign policy and his personal affairs:

@realDonaldTrump I have a lawsuit in Mexico’s corrupt court system that I won but so far can’t collect. Don’t do business with Mexico!

Or:

@realDonaldTrump “The Mexican legal system is corrupt, as is much of Mexico. Pay me the money that is owed me now – and stop sending criminals over our border.”

Note the order of the demands.

This sounds like the pique–I won’t say “hissyfit”–of a man who does not respond well to not getting his way. And his relentless hostility to Mexico looks a lot like a quest for revenge.

The desire to humiliate and punish Mexico plays well with Americans angry at immigration and themselves hostile to Latinos. Personal vendettas do not seem a desirable basis for foreign policy.

 More of his hostility  seems to spring from  failed developments in Mexico, the Trump Ocean Resort Baja California, in which purchasers of expensive apartments lost large down payments when the developments were not built.

LA Times:

“All told, two years of aggressive marketing yielded $32.5 million in buyer deposits, every bit of it spent by the time Trump and his partners abandoned the project in early 2009 as the global economy was reeling. Most of the buyers sued them for fraud.”

Whether the reason for the failure was incompetence or a deliberate scam depends on who you talk to.

There was also Punta Arrecifes Resort that he wanted to build in Cozumel. It was to be a very high-dollar, exclusive place with airport, golf couture, and the like and, among other things, would have devastated an ecologically protected zone. Protests erupted, the mayor wanted an excessive bribe, and he didn’t get his way.

El Proceso:

“Para “acelerar” los trámites, el alcalde panista les pidió un “moche” de 20 millones de dólares. Directo, sin rodeos, el alcalde panista les indicó que ese era el precio para lograr el cambio de uso de suelo, pese a las protestas de los grupos ambientalistas.”

“To speed up” the paperwork, the Panista mayor tasked them for a bribe of $20 million. Directly, without beating around the bush, the mayor indicated that this was the price for changing the use of the land despite the protests of environmentalists.” My translation.

The bribe was more than Trump was willing to play. He took his football and went home. He is not above fraud or corruption, but didn’t like the price.

Wall Street Journal: “Trump settles fraud case against Trump University for $25M”

His blaming these failures on Mexican corruption doesn’t hold water. The corruption exists, yet countless American firms successfully do business in Mexico.

Petulant, self-interested, and childish. Much of what he says is adolescent. Over and over he speaks of Mexico sending criminals to America. How precisely does Mexico send criminals? By “Mexico” he presumably means the Mexican government, as who else might he mean? Does Presidente Peña Nieto go to a penitentiary and say, “You, Pepe, and Kike and, yeah, you, Luis, take these bus tickets, you criminal bastardos, and go to the United States and wreak havoc”? Is there a cabinet-level body to send criminals? El Departamento de Empaquetamiento de Cabrones? Perhaps “Mexico” puts stamps on criminals and drops them off at the post office.

The repeated assertion that Mexico is cheating the US, exploiting it, being unfair, (Oh! Poor widdle Colossus of the North) is either garishly ignorant, personally vindictive or, more likely, both. Mexico is governmentally weak, corrupt, and utterly under the thumb of the United States. Is NAFTA a Mexican plot against the US? Actually it forced Mexican farmers into competition with hopelessly superior American agriculture and drove them into the cities, where there are no jobs. Along the border American maquiladoras pay poor Mexicans miserably low wages. Mexico crawls with DEA agents forced on it from the north and loses countless lives fighting Americal’ls drug war. On and on.

We seem to have as President an unpredictable warlike draft dodger with a history of fraud suits who cannot distinguish between his personal grudges and foreign policy. Is this going to work?


Fred can be reached at jetpossum-readers@yahoo.com. Put the letters “pdq” somewhere in the subject line to avoid autodeletion.

New |York Times Replaced by Black Box. World Relieved

Things looked bleak for the Angels when they trailed by two runs in the ninth inning, but Los Angeles recovered thanks to a key single from Vladimir Guerrero to pull out a 7-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday.”

I think things have looked bleak for the  angels at least since Milton published Paradise Lost,  but things are now beginning to look bleak for grumpy columnists, and that is serious. Angels can look out for themselves.

The threat to all that is good and right in the world  (consisting in large part of grumpy columnists) is that a computer wrote the foregoing tale of baseballian angst and triumph. Specifically, a program called Quill from NarrativeScience wrote it. Worse, it wrote it in about three seconds, and worse yet, it is bruited in journalistic circles that many major outlets are using Quill and various of its brethren to spit out a lot of their copy. 

I find myself worrying that if they come up with a subroutine for bile, abomination, and sedition, I may be out of a job. Which I don’t have one of anyway. The logical  problems of losing a job one doesn’t have are daunting.

If one may trust the The New York Times,  usually doubtful but in this case probably not, the following poured forth from the depths of an electronic soul.

“When I in dreams behold thy fairest shade

Whose shade in dreams doth wake the sleeping morn

The daytime shadow of my love betray’d

Lends hideous night to dreaming’s faded form.”

Just what this concoction means is not altogether clear, a quality it shares with much poetry. I suspect that giving the software too much credit may be a mistake, since we con’t know how much the pump was primed with emotive words. 

Likewise this:

“Kitty couldn’t fall asleep for a long time. Her nerves were strained as two tight strings, and even a glass of hot wine, that Vronsky made her drink, did not help her. Lying in bed she kept going over and over that monstrous scene at the meadow.”

“As two tight strings” is sufficiently infelicitous as to suggest that a professor had written it, but otherwise it works. With tweaking it is not hard to imagine the thing writing Harlequin Romances in about five minutes each.

sex-robot

I found the above photo by searching on “Sex Robots.” Think how much journalism could save by replacing Megyn Kelly with this siliconical–very conical–young lady.  She would have to do nothing but look pretty and talk. Silicon ages well, and never causes labor problems, though it may need patching. And there wold be an “off” switch.

It is hard to distinguish stories written by some  clanking awful robot, or anyway code probably with lots of ugly curly brackets, from the outpourings of real reporters. Since a great many news stories consist of electronically available information plugged into fairly standard templates, then, really, truly and seriously, jobs are going to go away–progressively as the software matures.

Narrative Science’s co-founder estimates that 90 percent of news could be algorithmically generated by the mid-2020s, much of it without human intervention. Many things are easy for machines already: obits, financial stories, routine crime reports. Goodbye, cub reporters. Few will notice, because reporters won’t be fired, just never hired. We will have more young living in their parents’ basements.

Regular readers, if I have one, know that I keep saying that pretty soon automation is going to take all our jobs and have everybody living in homeless shelters and under park benches. This suggests a boom market in park benches, briefly employing thousands.  There are various ways of looking at this. On one hand, I have never liked jobs. On the other, robots only need to take some fraction of jobs across society and in the ensuing riots we will all kill each other. I don’t think we can stand too much leisure. Especially without money for buying beer and drugs.

White-collar jobs are very much in danger. Think of all the people sitting in cubicle farms, like letters in a crossword puzzle. Many, I suspect most, do things automatable, and do it far more slowly than a computer might. How long does it take an intelligent program to flash through court records to find those relevant to a particular case? There are programs in the works to intelligently handle customer-service calls, potentially unemplloying all those people in Mumbai who make life into a guessing game. Maybe a good thing. Siri at least speaks English.

Clerical jobs in particular are in imminent danger. Natalia, my  stepdaughter, went to her bank months ago and found a row of machines taking deposits, goodbye several clerks–white-collar clerks. The internet makes the problem worse. Until several years ago Violeta was teaching Spanish by Skype video to students all around the world for way below the rates of Berlitz. An American friend here has a steel-detailing business for construction firms, using Mexican and Philippine detailers by internet. The jukebox in a local bar gets music over the internet automatically, goodbye to the technician who used to replace CDs and fix the moving parts, which it barely any longer has. These are little things, but there are lots of them.

Lots of scary computer-driven stuff is close, some of it real close. It’s not just self-driving vehicles, goodbye cabbies, long-haul truckers, and delivery guys. Translation of languages by computer is getting spooky good, certainly for known-context conversation. My telephone will translate English into Latin, for God’s sake.  In Asia, as in America, only a  small percentage of people are really intelligent, but there are a whole lot of Asians. Their lack of English is the barrier keeping them from competing for America’s white-collar jobs by internet.

Economists are puzzled by this because they have no grasp of economics. They think the solution is to retrain displaced workers to do higher-tech things. This happy talk ignores that many of the replaced blue-collars are not smart enough to become IT managers and neurosurgeons, even if we had enough brain cancer, and that the jobs for which they would be retrained are rapidly being replaced themselves. Your can’t retrain fifty replaced clerks as programmers because the company already has programmers, and  anyway only needs five.

Meanwhile our patriotic businessmen want to bring in millions of prefabricated unemployables to help us be out of work. See? Robots and humans working together. Cooperation is a key to success in almost every thing. Question: How much unemployment is needed for things to get ugly?  When does it boil over?


Fred can be reached at jetpossum-readers@yahoo.com Put the letters “pdq” somewhere in the subject line to avoid autodeletion. Due to volume I can’t answer everyone but I try to read everything.

Sidestepping the Military Leviathan: Make Money, Not War

Mock-up of planned Russian-Chinese airliner to compete with Boeing and Airbus. To enter service by 2025. Ambitious? Oh yes. Remember when we laughed at Toyota, Airbus, and Trump?

Is Washington really going to start a trade war with China, or is it just huffing and puffing for position? I don’t know. Mr. Trump has inexplicably failed to brief me. A point worth bearing in mind:

The United States cannot compete commercially with a developed Asia, or China.

America has nowhere to go. It is a fully developed economy that cannot grow rapidly if it grows at all. America is also a country of only medium size with a white and Asian population of a bit more than two hundred million who do all the brain work. It has a decaying system of education, declining living standards, and an economy crippled by huge military expenditures.

By contrast China has a billion Han Chinese, intelligent government, a great deal of room to grow and high rates of doing so. The combined land mass, population, and economic potential of Asia are staggering. In differing degrees, Asian nations are growing.

Further, Eurasia is one continent, and China has land connections to all of it–“interior lines of communication,” as soldiers say. America does not. Beijing’s stated intention is to use this to unite Eurasia into one enormous commercial unit—which will not include guess who. Beijing can do this. It has the cash. China is the world’s leader in high-speed rail. As a competent dictatorship, it can decide to do things and then do them, while America often seems unable to do either.

First Direct Fright Train from China to UK Arrives in London.” Chinese rolling stock like the above is becoming common in Europe.  

Some time has passed since Beijing made its first rail shipment from Wuli on the Pacific coast through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belorusa, Poland, to Germany and then left to Madrid. It was clunky and a bit of a stunt. Now there are scheduled trains connecting many Chinese cities to the rest of Asia, including Europe. This will not rival sea transport in volume, but will give a lot of places in Asia access to each other. Influence will follow. Watch.

This is bad news for Washington. Greater trade between Europe and the eastern part of the continent means less influence for Washington. It means potentially very much less influence. European nations have much to gain by trading with the incomprehensibly large markets, current and arriving, between Poland the the Pacific. They have nothing to gain by remaining as sepoy states under American control. Their businessmen know it.

China, already the world leader in supercomputers both in number and performance, hopes to have an exascale machine by 2018, way ahead of the US. These are not people to underestimate.

This dismal reality looks to be behind the orchestrated billingsgate against Russia, the war drums being pounded about the South China Sea, and the obvious desire for war with Iran. These three counties are key to an economic union that, if not stopped, will dwarf the United States. While some hope that China will collapse because of internal problems, this is a thin reed upon which to bet the Empire. Washington knows it.

The Empire can not afford to lose control of Europe’s governments, which will happen if heavy trade is allowed to develop with the Three Bugbears. Thus Washington’s hostility to all three—a hostility whose chief effect, note, has been to drive them together against America. Not good. The first rule of empires is Don’t let your enemies unite.

Here we come to a crucial difference between American and Chinese foreign policy. Washington’s approach to maintaining the Empire has consisted of military attack, threats of military attack, military occupation, and the imposition of sanctions. These are visibly declining in effectiveness. The US currently has sanctions against North Korea, Cuba, Iran, and Russia—none of which has produced the desired capitulation. Unless Washington comes up with something quick, presumably a shooting war or a trade war, its aircraft carriers will steam in circles, slowly rusting, while Asia grows. 

Glimmerings of rebellion appear in many places. In the Philippines, Duterte is snuggling up to China. While Washington may kill him or twist his arm, twenty years ago this would not have been necessary. Malaya recently bought Chinese naval vessels. Thailand has begun buying Chinese arms. Countries are slowly abandoning the dollar. German businessmen want to trade with Russia.

Trump now proposes sanctions on China, having said the he would impose a tariff of forty-five percent on goods from there. Perhaps he was lying, bluffing,  or posing in the standard manner of politicians. Maybe he wasn’t. I am not so foolish as to think I can predict the course of a trade war, but neither am I so foolish as to believe that Trump can.

He seems to have the instincts of a bully, which works, or may work, with weak states like Mexico. China isn’t one. He has said that China needs the US more than the US needs China, and so China will surrender. This was also said of Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Russia. The US remains superior to China in all sorts of things, but a lot fewer than before. A trade war won might prove less desirable than a trade war not started. We remember Pyrrhus for a reason.

China begins operating world’s largest radio telescope.” A friend, more patriotic than observant, recently spoke of China as “900,000,000 illiterate peasants.” I suggested stronger coffee. 

If only for reasons of vanity, Trump couldn’t let China get away with calling his bluff. Millions have died over wounded vanity. What could he do? Go for an all-out trade war? Again, risky. Proud countries dig their heels in. China is not without options. By simply turning to Airbus as exclusive provider to its large and growing market, it would wreak havoc on Boeing and its work force and perhaps marginalize the company. Add that Israel may not allow Boeing to sell to Iran, which would be a further blow. 

It is interesting to consider recent PISA scores, which measure the academic performance of school kids.  Math scores in order by country: Singapore, Hongkong, Macao, Taiwan, Japan, China. The US was well below average for the countries tested, though its scores are lowered by minorities. Headline: “NY Professor Says Algebra Is Too Hard, Schools Should Drop It.” On fairness, America leads in safe spaces, trigger warnings, puzzled diversity, and whimpering Snowflakes. Watch out, Beijing.

A trade war might come down to whose population can better tolerate want. The deplorables who shop at Walmart are already stretched pretty tight and would not react well to being further impoverished for what they would see as profits for the Establishment. 

If I may briefly reveal my commie tendencies, maybe America ought to worry about its universities, roads, laboratories, and medical care instead of wasting its money on corruption, bombers, lunges for empire, and dreams that 1955 is just around the corner.

China has launched the world’s first quantum-crypto satellite, presumably intended to get NSA off it back, as transmissions are not usefully intercept able. I’m not sure all of us quite know what we are dealing with. The days when Asia made little paper umbrellas for expensive drinks seem to have ended.


Fred can be reached at jetpossum-readers@yahoo.com. Put the letters pdq anywhere in the subject line to avoid voracious auto-delete routine. Due to volume, response, alas, not guaranteed.