Fred Takes Month Off: Earth Wobbles in Orbit, Kingdoms Fall

This sublime column will be on vacation until about October 15 from sheer exhaustion. The wells of libel and sedition are not without limits and, having run dry, must replenish themselves from the slow flow of bile’s aquifers. At the end of this respite, FOE will take Weighty Decisions, but for the moment there are books I have not red and red wine I have not drunk, the accumulation of which could shift the gravitational balance of the cosmos. I must attend to these matters. Fred, out.

I apologize for the gibberish that afflicted this week’s effort. A software failure.

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DACA Dies, Sort Of: Right Wing Flaps Wildly: Our Precious Bodily Fluids Safe

OK,immigration, the ongoing soap opera. Let’s start with week’s logical disaster: The Dreamers, 800,000 artfully named Latinos who were brought over as children, sometimes as children of thirty-five. Under something called DACA, a sort of almost amnesty, they had work permits. They were working. Yes, doing their part as Americans: paying taxes to buy bombs to kill children in Syria. Now, says Trump, at least to the extent that it is possible to know what Trump says, they are illegal. Breitbart News Vdare and suchlike are orgasmic.  No amnesty for these criminals! Now they can be deported.  This of course embodies the fascinating notion that a child of two can commit a federal crime, but never mind.

See the brilliance? Now the Dreamers don’t pay taxes. This puts a heavier  burden on ordinary patriotic Americans, who wouldn’t pay taxes either if they could figure out how not to, to buy bombs to kill the Syrian children. So 800,000 Dreamers fall into the unemployable underclass. Many have never been to Mexico.

Which brings up an interesting point.  An American and an American citizen ar not the same thing at all. An American is someone raised in America, who has absorbed our language, ways of thought, our culture. who has lived the streets of Brooklyn or bare feet and BB guns in Alabama or the wackiness of coastal California, who has hitchhiked the big roads and watched Superman jump out the window and been to high school dances and watched the cheerleaders at  basketball games twirling and chanting, “Ricky, Ricky, he’s our man, if he ca’t do it nobody can!” There are many Americas, but that is what they all are: Amrica.

By contrast, an American citizen is someone who has a certain piece of paper. You can get it by being born in the US but if (improbably) you were adopted by a Mongolian couple and raised in Ulan Bator, you would be an American citizen but not an American. If you are born and raised in Britain, you can become an American citizen, but not an American. It can’t be done.  Nor just the accent but the body language, the slight lordliness, the lack of cultural reference, would be an dead giveaway.

I could easily get Mexican citizenship, but would anyone at all think me a Mexican?

This morning (September 21) here in Mexico my wife and I as usual listened to the news (Notisistema) over coffee.  It seems the country is gearing up to receive such Dreamers as are deported, specifically to provide scholarships to universities, find jobs for them as English teachers, and provide them with lessons in Spanish–a language many do not speak.

A Dreamer raised in the US is an American, though not a citizen. If I met him in a bar in Bangkok, after two words I would say, “Ah! A Yank!”

“Yeah. Bakersfield.”

OK, we will now think about immigration in general. The level of debate is embarrassingly stupid  even by the elevated standards of Washington–not to mention fraudulent, disguisedly self-serving, hypocritical, and nuttier than Aunt Samantha’s prize fruitcake that she used to pour rum on.

We will start with fraud.

From the anti-immigrant sites, as for example Breitbart News, I learn that immigration is a plot of malignant Lefties, foul commie-homo-hippy-prevert-Jews, who hate America, who want to import millions and millions of Mexicans, who are stupid, filthy, shiftless, and criminal, to destroy the United States. Yes. No man can doubt it. 

Except…except…why are the Republicans, siege howitzers of  patriotism, presumably conservative, tap dancing away from the issue like anthrax while supporting immigration with their left hands? All sorts of anti-immigrant things could be done, but Republicans do none of them. So why is it the so why is it the hippy-homo-prevert etceteras? Why no Republican action?

Easy. Because the  immigration business is a Day-glo con, a galactic-size black hole  of hypocrisy so thick you could lube a diesel with it. Everybody is lying, swindling,  and pulling rings.

 

Breitbart thinks–this sentence is already doubtful, but we will forge ahead with it–that de-legalizing Dreamers is great because now thy can be deported. Except they probably won’t be. Most will stay in the US and work off the books until somebody re-legalizes therm. Which seems likely. Anyway, if the 800,000 Dreamers were deported, they would come to 1.4% of America’s 57,000,000 Latinos. Oorah. That will  save our precious bodily fluids.

Yeesh. The Right won’t let Dreamers work, and the Left makes sure they don’t get deported. Bipartisan idiocy. Don’t say that Americans can’t work together. Meanwhile Trump, the first President to elevate Brownian motion to a policy position, says he will give Congress six months to come up with legislation that does the same thing DACA did. This is nuts

Consider conservatives, if any. A cynic–I don’t know any of those–might notice two kinds of conservative, money conservatives, and arm-waving conservatives. The money conservatives want cheap Mexicans, and wars so they can sell bombs, and overseas factories, and price-fixing and no taxes. They are no more patriotic than Rachel Maddow is female.

The arm-waning conservatives hoot and squall about the surging brown tide and its genetic effects on apple pie and the Boy Scouts and we–eeeeek–have to  Do Something urgently. But:

They aren’t against immigration either!

Nor is Trump.

Don’t think so?  Ponder: There is a current federal freaking law against hiring illegal aliens, which Trump could enforce since he controls DOJ, and it carries heavy penalties.

So why doesn’t the National Cockatoo enforce this law? Think of CEOs led from offices in handcuffs, stuffed into Leavenworth to get in touch with their feminine side. Human-resources mugwumps too. The owner of the corner gas station. They are all hiring illegals, and they know they are. The first arrest would result in a lot of CEOs looking deeply into extradition law. Why doesn’t it happen? Easy.

Because our bottle-blonde Metternich has no intention of doing anything about immigration. You think he’s crazy or something?

See, the Donald knows, anyone enjoying neural parity with possums knows: Threaten major rice bowls–e.g., big businesses–and they will hand you your head on a platter.  Don’t even think about shutting down ConAgra. On the other hand, arresting Pedro when he tries to renew his driver’s license is safe.

If the grrr-woofs really wanted to deport illegals, which they apparently do not, they could sweep up loads of them easily.  Everyone knows where they are. Try California’s agricultural sector. Check out the construction industry in Washington DC, the heart of all darkness. See if you can find a white guy nailing up siding, or a white construction worker. Or black. If you can, put him in a glass case. The Smithsonian will probably be interested.

Yeah, yeah, I know. The employers with their hundreds of illegals say, “We, poor things that we are, just have no way of knowing who is illegal.” OK, let  me get this. You are running a meat-packing plant, and seventy-five men show up looking for work. They are brown, sure, but lots of people are, especially in summer. Nothing suspicious there.

You hire them, because you see no reason to think they might be Mexicans, or illegal, right? No tell-tale signs, no hints. They don’t have papers but, hey, maybe they forgot them somewhere. Anyway you wouldn’t want to stereotype. You can’t just ask them if they are illegal because they speak only Spanish.

Can anyone take this seriously?

Not all is lost, though. The anti-immigration folk holler and jump up and down about something called eVerify. It’s an electronic  way to keep from determining whether an applicant is legal. The idea is that the employer, who has a strong incentive not to detect illegals because he wants cheap labor, will check on illegals who have a strong incentive not to be detected because they want to work. I’m sure you sense the practicality in this. 

It gets balmier. Nothing in this morass makes sense. Except in terms of money. America builds factories in Mexico, then discovers with horror that these factories are…in Mexico. Characteristically when you put something somewhere, that’s where it is.

In the US, while money conservatives hire Meskins with wild abandon, the arm-waving ones shriek that them Meskins is taking American jobs. How the hell does a Meskin takes an American job? Hold a gun to his head and say, “Geeve me zee shoffel or I blow your brines out”?

The obvious solution: Gun control.

You see the high moral principle in action here. It is safe to blame Paco for trying to destroy America. He can’t fight back. He answered an ad from an American auto factory in Durango, thus displaying malign intent. Paco has a pretty wife, two nice kids, hopes to pay off the mortgage one day, likes barbecue and a couple of beers on the weekend. A venomous enemy. 

Ah, but attack Ford or Chevy or whoever put the factory in Mexico? Oh no. These can hire more lawyers than Trump has brain cells–this would be at least three lawyers–and, again, he isn’t crazy.

Here we come to a standout, glowing, gorgeous lunacy in a field groaning under lunacy: the notion that America will, or can, deport huge numbers of people. Glance at the numbers. Call eight years a hundred months for arithmetical convenience. A President would have to deport 8,000 Dreamers a month, and Donald is already way behind. Getting rid of 12,000,000 illegals in two years as promised by Donald would mean 500,000 a month for 24 months, or 125,000 a month for 96 months. Do you seriously think  this is going to happen? Can we make a large bet? 

If you have fifty million or so Latinos who are not going to go away, might it not be a good idea to think about how to assimilate them, get along with them, get them to pay taxes to blow up Syrian children? Breitbart and related sites never say a word about assimilation but just try to stir up antagonism between white and Latino. They think this is patriotism. I have my doubts.

Why won’t much deportation happen? Because the Democrats are against it, the Republicans are against it when nobody is looking, Chicago, California, and New York are against it, a dozen large businesses are very against it, the media are against it, the Loon Left is against it, academia is against it, the Latinos are not behaving badly enough, and the Millennials don’t give a damn.

Finally,  we have The Wall. More accurately, we seem not to have it. This phantasm shows no inclination to spring into being. It is a useful gnaw-toy to keep various fringes out of mischief. Almost everybody seems, surreptitiously or otherwise, to be avoiding building it. Yes, we have Ann Coulter the Manhattan Steam Whistle howling like a  lonely train through the mountains. “The Waaalllll…We need the Waaalllll….” Yeah well. But the Republicans just can’t seem to get there somehow, and they control Congress. When they don’t, I guess the Dems will build the rascal. Don’t you?

Conclusion: Latinos in America are a done deal. Good idea, bad idea, disaster, or doesn’t much matter–it’s still done. No epic population shifts impend. Breitbart can bark from under the sofa, but the Latinos are in America to stay. If this isn’t so, tell me why it isn’t so. Get used to it. There is no other choice.

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Thoughts from Below the Rio Bravo: A Preliminary to Going into Hiding

To understand of many Mexican attitudes toward the United States and immigration, you have to go back to the Mexican-American War of 1846-48, of which most Americans have never heard. The United States attacked Mexico in a war of  territorial acquisition, occupied Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona, and drove south to conquer Mexico City. It did it because it could.

The attitude of Americans who have heard of the war is usually, “Get over it.” Mexicans have not gotten over it. People get over things they have done to others more easily than they get over things others have done to them.  Tell Americans to “get over” Nine-Eleven, or Jews to get over Germany.

There is in Guadalajara a large and prominent monument to Los Niños Heroes, the adolescent cadets who marched out to defend Chapultepec as the Americans conquered Mexico City, much as the VMI cadets tried to defend Virginia in the Civil War. Countless Mexican towns have a street called Niños Heroes. They remember.

The base of the monument to Los Niñoes Heroes in Guadalajara. It reads, “Died for their country.” You know, like Iwo Jima and all.

This does not make for a keen appreciation of the Exceptional Nation. Nor does memory of the conquest arouse sympathy about immigration–or, as Mexicans see it, emigration. It explains the occasionally heard phrase, “La Reconquista.”

Throw in the drumbeat from racialist sites to the effect that Mexicans are stupid, filthy, criminal, and parasitic, and Trump’s asserting that they are rapists and what all, which resonates in Mexico as Hillary’s Deplorables speech did in Middle America. And of course there was the bombardment of Veracruz, of which Americans have never heard, and  Pershing’s Incursion, and Washington’s history of attacks, invasion, installation of dictators in Latin America and support for others.

For Mexico, as for most of the world, the US is not the shining city on a hill that it thinks it is. Over and over it attacks other countries and invariably is surprised when they don’t like it. Note that America and its vassals in Europe kill huge numbers of people in Muslim cities,  yet express outrage when Muslims kill people in their countries.

In America, conservatives will erupt in fury on reading the foregoing. Well, bully for them. The behavior of Mexicans  is determined by their history and what they think, not by what others think they ought to think.

These days, people often want a philosophical framework to justify their aggression. Among the better educated of Mexico, emigration is sometimes intellectualized by saying that flows of population have occurred all through history, Rome and such. These flows, they say, are inevitable and perhaps favored by Divine Providence. They don’t quite say, “Get over it.”

This reasoning is self-serving. If twenty million Haitians swam ashore in Veracruz, Mexicans would not regard it as a natural and inevitable flow. Note, though, that the Mexican inevitable-flow  theory precisely parallels the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, which held that that America’s expansion across the continent was inevitable.  It was an early form of American Exceptionalism, the idea that America is special and need not follow norms of decent behavior. Now it seems that Manifest Destiny is reversible. This notion too will anger many Americans, but then, the invasion of Mexico angered many Mexicans.

American attitudes toward Latinos, chiefly contempt, do not get a rousing welcome here. Americans both north and south of the border tend to see Mexicans only as gardeners, waiters, maids and, here, a few English-speaking doctors. Typically they have no idea of the lands between the Rio Bravo and Tierra del Fuego. They have not been there, do not speak or read Spanish. Americans, increasingly losing their own intellectual tradition,  are unaware that Latin America has its own rich intellectual history going back for centuries. Fortifying this blankness is the charming view that Latinos are stupid and so, obviously, cannot have an intellectual anything. This annoys Mexicans.

Latin America has in fact produced a great many writers of the first rank, not ot mention philosophy, architecture, and music. Pick a few: Vargas Llosa, Garcia Marquez, Juan Rulfo, Pablo Neruda, Borges, Ortega y Gasset, Octavio Paz, Carlos Monsivais, Mario Benedetti, on and on. I didn’t know most of them either, but my wife Violeta, a Mexicana, does.  All of this ties in with the literature and art of Spain, the mother country, just as ours does with that of England. There is a major civilization down here, despite the views of internet louts.

While there is much discussion of immigrants in the US, it consists mostly of ideology, of impractical hostility on the Right and moral preening on the Left. Neither seems to have much interest in knowing what it is talking about.

For example, the illegals, a source of horror, are mostly not diseased, drug-dealing rapists with drooping IQs and psychopathic murderousness.  This will come as a disappointment to many. Actually, come in flavors. They are not one thing.

At the negative end are the MS 13 types, tattooed killers. These could profitably be taken up in a helicopter and allowed to come down independently.  Then you have the kid brought over at age two and who now, at nineteen, speaks perfect California English and horrible Spanish and thinks he is an American, never having been to Mexico. You have the guys who come for two, three, four years, save money, and return to Mexico to buy a house for their families.

You have our friend Rosa, I will call her, who came over illegally after high school, worked dirt jobs, found free English lessons, went briefly on welfare, and finally worked her way up to be head of food-services at a high school. (Incidentally, it annoys her that her kids do not speak Spanish, but, she says in flawless English, this is America, what do you expect. Many immigrants favor bilingual schooling so that their children can learn Spanish.) Anyway, after a few years she went to whoever you go to, said she wanted legal residence, was told she had to pay back the welfare, did, and is now a permanent resident in in line for citizenship if Trump doesn’t stop her.

Finally you have those illegals who live permanently on welfare and never learn English. When Rosa speaks of them, she sounds like Breitbart News: “I work. I pay taxes. Who do these damned….”

Now permit me once more to infuriate conservatives. It is a service. It will keep their blood flowing briskly: Consider Eduardo and Maria, Salvadorans living in San Salvador in a dirt-floored cinderblock hut. They have little money, not because they are stupid or lazy but because there are no jobs. Their two kids cry at night because they are hungry. Their only hope, they decide, is for Eduardo to try to get to the US, a ballsy and dangerous idea, send money back, and try to figure out how to get Maria and the kids into the US.

So he and Maria scrimp and do without–more without–and lean on relatives to get the money for a pollero to get him across the US border should he get that far. Eduardo sets off hitchhiking, which he has never done, up Central America to the Mexican border where the police or los maras are likely to beat and rob him. Mexico enforces its immigration laws more vigorously than does the US.  He rides the Train of Death, well named, to the US frontier, where he doesn’t know anybody or anything and, if he is not robbed, finds himself in a country whose language he does not speak. Somehow he gets to Kentucky, picks tobacco, and sends money back.

It is not an undertaking for someone who has feathers for balls.

Yes, it is illegal. No, it is not good for the United States. Yes, immigration should be stopped. But–if you were Eduardo, which would matter more to you, your wife and children, or some law in a remote country where, in any event, a lot of people want you to come and work? What would you do? Would it not be irresponsible not to do it?

I will now go into hiding.

 

Request to readers: I would appreciate being in touch with someone familiar with industry in Mexico, especially robotics, engineering, and aerospace. I do not need to quote anyone by name, but would like the information, and do not now have press credentials, so cannot just call and ask. jetpossum-readers@yahoo.com  Please put the letters pdq anywhere in the subject line to avoid autodeletion. Thanks.

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To the Barricades! : We Will At Least Be Less Bored

Katie, bar the ever-lovin’ door. Compromise seems a forlorn hope in today’s strange version of America. Anger runs too deep. All that is left is to choose sides. We will then see whether the country sinks—continues sinking–into a Soviet future already largely upon us, or we see armed mobs battling in the streets.

Does this sound crazy? I don’t think so. The hostility is beyond anything I have seen in what has become a depressingly long life. In the media, on the web, anger seethes. Countries both civilized and not have plunged into bloodshed over as little. Think of Sunnis and Shias, Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics, Spanish and Basques.

In America, friends talk carefully to each other because they want to remain friends. Armed mobs take to the streets, blocking highways, shouting down speakers, burning cities, looting malls, playing the Knockout Game, organizing huge demonstrations. Things are far worse than in the upheavals of the Sixties. That rebellion, now receding from living memory, had a concrete and attainable goal: preventing young men from being forced to fight in a remote war in which they had no stake. When the draft ended, so did the riots.

Today’s hatreds are not about anything in particular. They are about everything in general, and thus irresolvable. The white insurrectionists seem to be adolescents of thirty-five, gripped by the strange immaturity that so many have noticed, angry at a world that they mistake for their parents. The blacks are furious because they somehow do not succeed in modern society. Their opposition, the Deplorables, feel drowned in everything they detest and fear. No peace is possible except by political coercion or conflict in the streets.

Half the country, led by New York, wants to control, and does control, everything of importance to the other half. Everything is decided remotely: what your children learn in school, what you can’t say to them because they might tell their teachers; who you have to hire, with whom you have to associate, what religious practices are permitted, whether you can have a Christmas tree in the town square or sing carols on the public streets, whether you can defend yourself and your family. New York versus the Deplorables. The city holds the high cards.

Bitter conflicts force the taking of sides, often with people one does not like. For example, I think Trump is a horse’s ass, dangerous, naive, uninformed, and a thoroughgoing damned fool. I detest the KKK (which barely exists, but never mind) and disagree with the Alt-Right on many things. Yet when I look at the other side, the armed bands, the censorship, thought control, indoctrination, the re-writing of history, their media arm, the identity politics, the push for control, control, control—I think,“I’ll take Trump—gack–and certainly the Deplorables.” And of course if violence comes, it’s one or the other. You can’t reason with a mob armed with lengths of rebar.

There is no principle in any of this. It is visceral. Animalic mobs of ill-bred semiliterates vandalize statues as eagerly as Muslims blowing up Buddhist monuments. This is war, of low intensity but still war. Culture war at first, but tending toward baseball-bat war. And the federal government sides with the vandals. So far the attacks not been answered, but a lot of the country is thinking, “Bring it on.” Conservatives are not creatures of the herd, and do not wave placards. But they too are armed.

The campaign highly orchestrated. The professional touch shows. The anger existed before Trump, and will exist after him, but he is being used by those who want to bring the Establishment, the Deep State, back into the White House.

Some time ago a fellow named Shicklgruber, a genius at marketing and cynical as Machiavelli, explained the technique for herding the public: Have a few simple ideas and repeat them over and over and over and over and over and over. Intellectuals, he said, want to make propaganda by offering complex ideas, and changing them frequently. This is because intellectuals become bored with simple ideas and want variety. Wrong, said Schick. Keep it simple and repeat it and repeat it and repeat it.

The public is stupid, he said, few think, their ignorance is profound, even the intelligent are usually ignorant and emotional. They will believe anything if told often enough. It is like training dogs. (He proved extraordinarily successful at marketing, though his reputation was later somewhat tarnished, but that is another story.)

JewsarebloodsuckersJewsarebloodsuckersJewsarebloodsuckersTrumpisKGBTrumpisKGBTrumpisKGBWhiteisevilWhiteisevilWhiteisevilWhiteisevilRacismiseverywhereRacismiseverywhereRacismiseverywhereTrumkpisaNaziTrumkpisaNaziTrumkpisaNazi….

This this was wildly successful in a forgotten time and a remote place called Weimar.

Anyone who has worked in politics or journalism can see how the thing is being done. There was the invention of Russian hacking, Trump’s racism, his hostility to Jews, his admiration for “White Supremacists,” who do not exist, and all the rest. Saturation by the media is of course the backbone–that, and making sure that the public never hears anything contrary. For the same reason, you see the same commercial seven times during the Superbowl, TrumpisWhiteSupremacistTrumpisWhiteSupremacistTrumpisWhiteSupremacist.

This is vintage Schicklgruber, and bears out his contempt for the public. I confess to a certain admiration for a thing well done. When New York gets serious, it works wonders. Control the media, it seems, and you control America.

What New York wants of course is Pence in the White House, a cipher in the pockets of Wall Street, the arms racket, and big corporations. I do not say this in hopes that saying it will have any effect. Writing coumns seldom affects anything. Those who know what is going on already know, and the placard-wavers won’t read it.

Will New York impose a virulent political correctness–read “submission”–on the whole country? My guess is that it will. But conceivably  not. It badly misread the anger in the country that elected Trump. Perhaps it again makes the same miscalculation. We will find out when they impeach Trump.

As always, America’s racial catastrophe intrudes. Blacks demand–they always demand–removal of Confederate statues. Most can’t spell “Confederacy,” don’t know the dates of the Civil War, can’t name the three branches of government, have never read a book, but they demand. And demand. And demand. “Whah mah free stuff?” There is no solution, and nobody believes there is, but race is a battering ram for attacking the Deplorables.

Clearly the people at the top, in the editorial suites in Manhattan, at Goldman Sachs, at Lockheed-Martin, know what they are doing. They want Trump out so they can continue looting. From their point of view,the placard-carriers and ball-bat wielders are, merely useful idiots. It is an odd and amusing alliance. The useful idiots, Leftists all, apparently do not know that they are carrying water for the arms industry and international finance. 

The country, methinks, approaches a decision point. Aux armes, citoyens. Let the games begin.

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Heah Come Cognitive Dissonance! :Run Like Hell

We ashen-souled columnists, the galley slaves of journalism, are accustomed to abuse from web louts, though it makes us see humanity as having the charm one associates with the underside of a theater seat. We bear up manfully under this, perhaps in the company of Mr. Daniels of Tennessee. To be fair, we get a modicum of civil and intelligent comment.

The third category we see is CDA: Cognitive Dissonance Avoidance. The majority of men cannot abide anything they do not already think and,  when asked questions they would rather not contemplate, probably lock themselves in the bathroom until the screen goes blank. Herewith some of the most studiously avoided q questions.

The Police:  A cop sees a man strike a woman in the head with a piece of pipe and grab her purse. He tries to arrest the perp, who resists. The criminal is 19, muscular, and  weighs 220. What should the cop do?

Web louts avoid the question because all available answers involve violence and the louts, who hate the police while knowing nothing about them,  cannot afford to concede that violence by police can ever be legitimate. If they did, then many cases of alleged brutality  would become legitimate. So they duck and dodge. Classic CDA.

Second question: The perp is big, stoked on PCP, has a length of pipe, and does not want to go to jail. He attacks the cop. What should the cop do when attacked with a deadly weapon?

Note to web louts only: Do not natter stupidly about cops are thugs, you don’t like cops, they are racists, Fred is a fascist, and all the other excretions of negligible minds. Answer the question.

Intelligent design. For those unfamiliar with thes particular circus, intelligent Design–ID among the cognoscenti–is the theory or, as many would have it, observation–that some biological structures cannot have evolved because they are irreducibly complex, and therefore must have been designed. This does not mean excessively complex, but that the structures in question have too many parts all of which would have to appear at once or the structure would not function, and that the parts by themselves would have no value in survival. This is furiously denied by the Darwin claque.

If irreducible complexity does not exist, then any organism can in principle be traced backward, evolutionary step by evolutionary step, to nonliving matter. In practice of course this is impossible with entire organisms. With simple processes it should be doable.

Consider protein synthesis. This is a comparatively simple, well understood.  Why is it not irreducibly complex? How can it be simplified to a preceding evolutionary form? Can we reduce the number of nucleotides per codon from three to two, allowing coding for at most sixteen aminos? Can the sugar be eliminated from nucleotides? The phosphate?  Surely simplifying an already simple process should be only an exercise for grad students. Otherwise it would seem irrem—No! No!

Immigration.The presence of any Latinos at all in America is strongly opposed by racialist groups such as the Alt-Right. These encourage the belief that Latinos are stupid, filthy, criminal, and parasitic, and seek to prevent immigration. There are forty million legal Latinos in the country, mostly citizens, who are not going to leave and cannot be deported. While it can certainly be argued that the country would be better off without them, they exist and will remain. Question for the Alt-Right:

What policy do you recommend toward American citizens of Latino descent?

Encourage assimilation? Discourage it? Poisoning? In any case, how?

Those opposed to immigration strenuously avoid the question because having a policy would concede the legitimacy, or at least permanence,  of Latino-Americans. This they cannot bring themselves to do. If they did, they would likewise concede the inevitability of  intermarriage. Eeeeeeek!

Personally I sympathize with white nationalists and think mass immigration should not have been permitted. But I also that that it was, and we have to deal with what is, not what we might like.

Illegal immigrants: The roughly twelve million illegals pose another problem. It is arithmetically very unlikely that a statistically important number of illegals will be deported or leave. If ten thousand a month were deported during Trump’s maximum possible reign, this would come to almost a million, eight percent of the illegals and substantially less than two percent of the Latino population. Question for white nationalists: What policy do you recommend toward those illegals who do not leave?

They duck and dodge on this question too because having a policy on remaining illegals–probably most of them–would be to admit that some will remain, which they will not. Questions consequent to the first would arise, such as do we amnesty them–the Alt-Right would rather take slit its throat–so they can get real jobs, buy houses, and so on, or keep them as a permanent underclass until their children, citizens, make the question noot?

Open borders: People in favor of mass immigration never put a number on what they want, without which they become moral poseurs and feel-good artists. There are probably 700 million Indians, at least 300 million Latin Americans, all of Haiti, 500 million Africans, and many hundreds of millions of Indonesians, Arabs, Afghans, Pakistanis, and so on who would like to come to America. Question for pro-immigrationists: Specifically, how many immigrants do you want to accept? What upper limit do you  want?

Plagiolepis alluaudi

Ants.  If you look at mammalian brains, or even reptilian ones, you see enough neurons to believe that they can manage the animal. People have about 1350 cc of brain, some whales 5400.

But consider the above ant. There is hardly any ant there. Most of what there is of the little beast consists of legs, exoskeleton, thorax and abdomen and so on. It has virtually no nervous tissue, distributed or otherwise.

Yet it effortlessly manages six legs over broken terrain (ask a robotics engineer how easy this is) operates digestive organs and such, knows how to forage for food, dig nests, care for queen and young, manage sensory organs and interact with other ants.

All of this is flat weird. Question: How can so very, very little “brain” control such complex behavior? What, as we would say in today’s digital world,is the storage mechanism? The programming language?

When I have asked this question, the response has been “Oh, Fred, ants use a different system.” That is the question, not the answer. What is the explanation, if one exists?

This question involves no web louts pr evasive politics, but there does seem to be a desire to avoid saying that there is something going on that we do not understand.

Affirmative action: This was originally sold as a temporary measure to give blacks who did not quite meet the qualifications for a job to to begin working, whereupon–so the theory went–they would study hard and catch up.  Critics argue that blacks aren’t catching up, and indeed cannot, and that affirmative action is just another entitlement giveaway to keep them from burning cities. . Proponents deny this. Question: When, specifically, should affirmative action be dropped, and how will we know when we get there?

There may be good answers to all of these questions. Specific, concrete, non-evsi have answers. I wouldlike to hear them.

 

 

 

 

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Nuclear-Powered Cars, Tesla, Al Gore, Solar Power, Elon Musk, and More: A Broad Spectrum Column

OK, I’m trying to figure out cars. Especially the electric and nuclear-powered ones. Mostly the fizzing and fuming about how great electrics are, or maybe the end of civilization, seems political. Liberals love them because they will prevent pollution, end global warming, and maybe stop hair loss. Libertarians hate them because they associate them with clean air, federal subsidies, and Al Gore. If Al Gore came out in favor of sex, libertarians would stop reproducing.

Now, according to the excellent automotive columnist, Eric Peters, nobody wants e-cars because they cost too much, don’t go far enough before the battery dies, and take to long to refill. This all seems to be true. Now, anyway. (He also says cars will be boring when they all have the same quiet, tedious electric motors. He may have something. Would you buy a Harley if it just made a gentle soughing sound?)

But all these objections come down to the battery, no? If you could make the dratted thing go, say, six hundred miles on a charge, then after a long day’s driving on a road trip, you could plug during lunch, or overnight at the hotel and have a full tank in the morning.

Maybe the batteries will never get cheap enough. Maybe they will explode like Samsung telephones or hand grenades.The longest-lived I have heard of is Tesla’s barely-over-three hundred mile version, and somehow they never say three hundred miles of what kind of driving.

Still, if I were forced to drive a Tesla (I sure as hell wouldn’t buy one for $35K, and lots more for the big battery.) I wouldn’t notice the difference ninety-five percent of the time, if at all. Few of us often drive three hundred miles in a day.

Next, China. (This column is going to jump around some. Get used to it.). The Chinese are going hard into Duracell cars, both funny little ones and normal ones, but they have a different government and different problems. One problem is pollution. In Beijing, it is said, you can cut the air into blocks and build walls with them. Since much of China is densely urban, and lots of Chinese are getting middle class and want cars, this is pretty serious. At least if you like breathing. Anyway, they have loads of e-cars, from funny little sort-of cars to real ones.

A funny little electric car. Think of the Energizer bunny. Beats a motor scooter in a rain storm. China is neck-deep in all sizes and shapes. Including trucks. 

So next year, they say, they will introduce an $8K electric car that won’t be much of a car but perfectly adequate for commuting and going to malls. To get around the charge-time problem, they are making the battery removable. In the gas station, they pull out the dead battery, shove in another, and you are refueled in ten minutes. Mostly you wouldn’t do this because you wouldn’t drain the battery in a day and at night you would plug it in at home.

Wiley rascals, those orientals.

So where does the electricity come from? From all kinds of generating plants, I guess–now. But if it came from nuclear power plants, then you would have a nuclear-powered car. See? And you would have zero pollution of the air.

You would also have much less need of any petroleum derivative, such as gasoline,  for ground transportation. Aha!

Now, I don’t know what the Chinese government has in mind. Mysteriously, Xi does not call to seek my advice. I suppose he wants to demonstrate his independence. I do know, though, that Beijing worries because it doesn’t have oil of its own.  China depends on Mideastern oil which Washington, now in the pathologically aggressive last years of its empire, could cut off.

Further, China is the world leader in small nuclear reactors (the Nimble Dragon) packaged as local power sources. This critter will be about the size of a bus, fit on a truck, and produce less than 300 MW. it will be much cheaper than big ones, and not require the overkill of a big plant in a small city. You could charge a gret passel of cars with one. I don’t know whether the Chinese have thought of this. I will take bets, though.

We have now covered nuclear-powered cars. Onward to solar energy. Again, libertarians are against it, probably because Al Gore thinks it is a good idea. For entirely un-mysterious reasons, oil companies and electric utilities are against it. Me, I am for it. It is free, and doesn’t smell bad. (This really does have something to do with cars. Sort of. Wait.)

Here in Mexico, many people, including yours truly, use solar hot-water heaters.They work fine, almost always, and provide a tremendous savings on propanel, and pay for themselves in a year or two, depending on the exchange rate. A great idea, unless you sell propane.

Others here get their electricity from photovoltaic panels. These cost more and the payback time is longer, and there are various ways you can do it–tie into the electric grid, or go off grid with batteries. But they work.

Now we arrive, again, at Elon Musk. (All roads lead to Elon, even if you need to launch a spaceship.) He is now selling photovoltaic Elon Tiles, You put them on your entire roof, which he claims is not killer expensive. Considering that three or four panels a few feet square run entire houses here, a Musk roof might power an aircraft carrier.

Of course, you may not have an aircraft carrier.

Not too surprisingly, Mr. Musk suggests that you buy one of his Tesla electric cars and charge it with an Elon Tile roof, storing the current in  one of his battery packs, which he knows about because Teslas use batteries.

How well all of this will work, or parts of it, I don’t know. Maybe car batteries have peaked out and won’t get better, and electric cars will just be look-at-me toys for the over-moneyed. Maybe Elon Tiles won’t work for some reason I can’t think of. But if I were a gasoline company, or electric utility especially, I believe I believe I would look for an anxiety-management clinic.

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Milk-Bar Clausewitzes, Bean Curd Napoleons: In the Reign of Kaiser Don

Why do those inadequate little men in Washington and New York dream of new wars? Because the empire is near a tipping point.

Washington must either either start a war in Korea, or gets faced down by the North, its carriers ignored, its bombers “sending signals” and making “shows of force” without result. For the empire this is a loss of face and credibility, and an example to others that America can be challenged.

Iran has not caved to Washington’s threats and sanctions and clearly isn’t going to. Another strategic loss, a big one, unless–the hawks seem to think–remedied by a war. Iran wants to trade with Europe and Europe likes the idea. Worse, Iran is becoming a vital part of China’s aim to integrate Europe and Asia economically. To the empire this smelñls of death. The frightened grow desperate.

China shows no signs of backing down in the South China Sea. For Washington, it is either war now, when thinks it might win, or be overshadowed as China grows.

Russia has irrevocably gotten the Crimea, is quietly absorbing part of the Ukraine, and looks as if its side is going to win in Syria. Three humiliating setbacks for the empire. Loss of control of the Mideast would be a strategic disaster for Washington.

Continued control of Europe is absolutely vital. European governments have groveled but now even they grow restless with Washington’s sanction against Russia, and European businessmen want more trade eastward. Growing trade with Asia threatens to loosen Europe’s shackles. Washington cannot allow this.

When you have militarily stupid politicians listening to pathologically confident soldiers, trouble is likely. All of these people might reflect how seldom wars turn out as those starting them expect. Wars are always going to be quick and easy. Generals not infrequently advise against a war but, once it begins, they bark in unison. They seldom know what they are getting into. Note:

The American Civil War was expected to be over in an afternoon at First Manassas. Wrong, by four years and some 650,000 dead. 

Germans thought that World War I would be be a quick war of movement, over in a few weeks. Wrong by four years and fantastic slaughter, and was an entirely unexpected trench war of attrition ending in unconditional surrender. Not in the Powerpoint presentation.

When the Japanese Army urged attacking Pearl Harbor, their war aims did not include  two cities in radioactive rubble and GIs in the bars of Tokyo. That is what they got.

When the Wehrmacht invaded Poland, having GIs and the Red Army in Berlin must have been an undocumented feature. Very undocumented.

When the French re-invaded Vietnam after WWII, they did not expect les jaunes to crush them at Dien Bien Phu, end of war. Les Jaunes did.

When the Americans invaded Vietnam, having seen what had happened to the French, the thought did not occur that it might happen to them too. It did.

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, having seen what happened to the US in a war against peasants, they did not expect to lose. They did.

When the Americans attacked Afghanistan, having seen what happened to the Soviets there, they did not expect to be fought to a slowly losing draw. They were.

When the Americans attacked Iraq, they did not expect to be bogged down in an interminable conflagration in the whole region. They are.

Is there a pattern here?

From the foregoing one might conclude that when grrr-bowwow-woofs start wars, they seldom foresee the nature of the war or its outcome. This is particularly true of military men, who seem to have little grasp of their profession. Whether anyone else could better predict does not matter. The generals do not.

Why? One reason is that war by its nature is not very predictable. Often the other side proves uncooperative, imaginative, and resourceful.  Another reason is that militaries inculcate unreasonable confidence in their own powers. Troops cannot be told that they are mediocre soldiers, and may lose, that their publics may not support the war, that the other side may prove superior. Consequently they are told, and tell themselves, that they are the best trained, best armed, most lethal force imaginable. They tell themselves that they have great fighting spirit–cran, bushido, oorah. If this is so, they think, how can they not win?

Just now, the usual damned fools in Washington and New York contemplate wars against Russia in Syria, China in the South China Sea, North Korea, Russia in the Ukraine, and Iran. All of these offer superb chances for disastrous and unexpected consequences.

An attack on North Korea will be called a “surgical strike.” “Surgical” is a PR  phrase implying that no civilians will be killed, that the war will be quick and cheap. You know, like Iraq, a cakewalk. This idea has little  relation to military reality. The assumptions will be that American intelligence actually knows where the North’s missiles and nukes are, that North Korea is too stupid to put them deep underground, that Kim Jong Un won’t respond with a massive attack on the South, that he doesn’t have aircraft that can carry a nuke for a short distance–to Seoul, say, or a carrier-battle group, or to the barracks of the 28,000 GIs in South Korea, that the North Korean infantry could not get into Seoul, thirty-five miles away, forcing the US to bomb the South Korean capital into rubble.

Them is a lot of assumptions. 

Similarly, we hear that the US military could devastate Iran. Today, “US military” means airplanes. American ground forces are small, not rapidly deployable and–if I may lapse into rural accuracy–pussified, obsessed with homosexuality, girls in combat, trans this and trans that, and racial and sexual quotas in the officer corps. The Pentagon has trouble finding recruits physically fit enough for combat arms.

Pregnant-and-girl simulator, forced on American troops by feminists. The intention obviously is to humiliate, and they have succeeded. The problem is, first, that we have troops willing to put up with this and second, and far worse, is that the generals, who know perfectly well the effects of this sort of thing, have let the military become the playground of feminists, homosexuals, transvestites, transgenders, single mothers, and so on. They value their careers over the military. 

Iranians are Muslims, not pansies and not afraid to die. They might not–I would say definitely will not–cave in to  bombing. They might close the Straits of Hormuz (“Damn, sir! I was sure we could blow up all those missiles they have on pickup trucks.”) They might launch dispersed infantry attacks into various surrounding countries. Getting them out would be a hell of  lot harder than letting them in.

In all of these contemplated wars, there is the belief in the Last Move: that is, that after the US defeats the Russian Air Force over Syria, which it could, Russia would throw up its hands, go home and do nothing–instead of, say, occupying the Caucasus, which it could. Always, always, the assumption is that the other side will behave as the bow-wow-woofs think it will.

People tend to think of countries as suprahuman entities with rational minds. We say, “Russia did this” or The US decided that….” Countries don’t decide anything. Men (usually) do. You know, McCain, Hillary, generals, delusional Neocons, and Trump, who is eerily similar to Kaiser Wilhelm, another stochastic military naif with a codpiece need. These massive egos are not well suited to backing down or conceding that they have made a mistake.

This egotism is important. Washington’s vanities could not accept being humiliated, not allow any country to show that resistance to America is possible.

Suppose that the Navy fired on a Chinese ship in the South China Sea, expecting Beijing to roll over as it would have thirty years ago–but it didn’t, instead leaving a carrier in flaming ruin. This is far from impossible. Carriers can be surprisingly fragile, and China has has focused resources specifically of defeating the American Navy in what it regards as its home waters. The American fleet has not fought a war since 1945. It doesn’t really know how well its weapons will work against their weapons.

The carrier Forrestal, 1967. A single Zuni ground-attack missile was fired accidentally, hitting a plane. A huge fire ensued, bombs cooked off, 134 men were killed, and the ship was devastated, out of service for a very long time. One five-inch missile.

Times have changed. Carriers today are useful only for bombing defenseless countries. Against serious opposition–Russia and China for example–they serve only as trip wires. The carrier itself does not amount to much, but if you cripple one, you are at war with the US. This is less scary than it used to be, which is dangerous in itself, but still not something one undertakes casually.

The following news story is worth reflection:

Surprise! Boo!  “The uninvited guest: Chinese sub pops up in middle of U.S. Navy exercise, leaving military chiefs red-faced”

“American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk – a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.

“By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier.

According to senior Nato officials the incident caused consternation in the U.S. Navy.

The story clearly was not written by a student of submarines or carriers, but the incident occurred, ten years ago–and Chinese submarines are getting rapidly better.

Emotionally unable to walk away from a local defeat, Washington would have to double down, likely by bombing China. The consequences would be disastrous, unpredictable, perhaps nuclear. Things soldiers do not think about: revolution when the United States, already deeply divided with the middle and lower classes pushed to the wall financially, suffer the depression that would follow on ending commerce with America’s largest trading partner–China. The lower middle class, already pushed to the wall, having no savings, finds prices going way up at Walmart. Apple stores have no iPhones. Boeing loses Chinese orders, laying off thousands. This list could go on for many pages. The elderly will remember the civil unrest during Vietnam.

If the war remained conventional, the outcome might boil down to which population could best survive privation–the Chinese, only a generation or so removed from living hard, or America’s squealing millennials, looking for safe spaces. If the Pentagon destroyed the Three Gorges Dam, and killed several million people, China might go nuclear. Note that if a few well-placed nuclear bombs shut down food distribution in the US for even a month, people in the cities would be fighting for food on the third day, and eating each other on the fifth.

This, those absurd vanities and overgrown children in New York are playing with.

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Iron Horse Nights: An American Residuum

You gotta understand about biker bars. Well, maybe you don’t, but you ought to want to at least. They are the last redoubt of American civilization in an age of Snowflakes, Cupcakes, milquetoasts, mollycoddles, and  fizzing herds of witless mall rats.

My biker bar is the Iron Horse, just across the carretera from our house. If popular wisdom holds, it was started by a guy in the nuclear-construction business who, I suppose, wanted a biker bar. Vi and I often wander over of a weekend when forty or so big-bore bikes show up and you hear Harleys starting with that explosive cough, WapAhappotatopotatopotatopotato, a sound the which there ain’t no other like. Nor better.

Usually there’s a good crowd. The Mexican bikers come in from Guad, and the gringo club, Los Gueros, appears along with wives and girlfriends. The bands are hard rock, La Maquina del Tiempo for ample, and by dark the joint thumps and roars  and and nobody can hear anybody else but they’re dancing like maniacs and don’t care. The dance floor is a concrete slab because the place used to be a warehouse I think until Chris decided it needed to be a biker bar.

Biker bars are not always well understood. Some are in truth dens of psychopaths with several teeth and witless grins auguring bodily damage. One such was the Sons of Silence, headquartered in the Berkeley Bar in Denver when I was working at Soldier of Fortune in Boulder. The Berk was not where you wanted to take your mother on her birthday. I spent time there with Craig Nunn, SOF‘s artist who later died when, drunk one night, he drove his motorcycle into a tree. The SOF staff agreed that he died as he would have wished: horribly. Working as we did for a mercenary magazine, Craig and I were thought acceptably sordid. There were some memorable nights, but I don’t recommend it.

The Iron Horse is altogether different. These guys like to ride and they wear colors but if you accidentally left your three-year-old daughter there  all Saturday night, on your return you would find her in working order and well cared for by the wives and girlfriends. They bikers of the Horse are a mixed bag but you find for example a guy who invented something about ATMs, made a bundle, and didn’t want to dress up in office drag like some sorry metrosexual. So he moved to Mexico, got a monster Harley, and actually enjoys living.

The local expat club is Los Gueros, gringos and Canadians. The name translates loosely as The Pale Ones. In the US this would have priss spigots wetting themselves about racism and inclusiveness, but Mexico doesn’t do that racial gotcha routine so they’re just the Gueros and everybody’s happy.

A degenerate in the Iron Horse. A shocking display of grotesque machismo, toxic masculinity, Jack on the rocks–self-medication, likely for feelings of inadequacy–and intransigent deplorability. Hell, he probably even like girls, though that’s pushing it.

Probably you either like bikes or you don’t. I have never had a power bike but once rode a Honda 350, which I think was the old 305 Dream bored out. It was geared low and actually pretty quick, certainly enough bike to provide a Motorcycle Experience. At night on the winding forested roads of rural Virginia the wind was chill and traffic nonexistent and you could lean through the curves and there came a wild sense of freedom and being part of the night, as if you belonged there. To stop in the darkness and just sit there astride, motor ticking over, bugs keening in the trees and trying to get laid–it was a trip.

Which I think is why guys like bikes. It is a guy thing. If a gal showed up on a bike, she would be welcome but it doesn’t much happen.  A lot of  people who are not bikers show up at the Horse and, as  mentioned, wives and girlfriends and the guys behave as gentlemen, or at least not as jerks, but it remains masculine at heart, very much so. This is refreshing in an age in which Bruce Jenner would be regarded as dangerously masculine.

Oh my god. Oh my god. Hide the children.

Bikers are a certain kind of men, as evidenced by their still being alive. Motorcycles are not for the dreamy. Bad things develop too quickly. Some psychologist did a study that divided athletes into two categories, Thinkers and Reactors. Intelligence had nothing to do with it. A baseball pitcher is a Thinker. He sizes the batter up, consults with the catcher on the type of pitch, thinks about  it and, when he is ready, pitches. By contrast, a shortstop just reacts.

This very much applies to bikers. If an eighteen-wheeler suddenly pulls across the road in front of him, a Thinker will, well, think, “Hmmm. Eighteen wheeler. Not good. I probably ought to BLAP!” A Reactor might lay the bike down and try to slide under the truck. Might work, might not, but BLAP definitely will not work. Potholes, cars that don’t see the bike, hunks of truck tire in the road–these require instant reflexes that some, including me, don’t have.

Odd things happen on bikes. A buddy of mine who later killed himself by swimming out into the Rappahannock River at night in mid-winter told me of riding–he had a 450 something-or-other–along a desert highway in maybe it was New Mexico. A terrific steady tailwind came up at the speed he was making, maybe sixty. There was thus no relative wind.  Weird. The engine started to overheat.

You gotta wonder what is happening in America. In any country there are the adventurous and the less so, the rock climbers and cavers and divers, and those who would rather spend their time in the library. Fine. I t takes all kinds. But today a guy who goes to a gym is held by much of society to be in need of counseling, or maybe estrogen supplements. If this isn’t your style, drop by the Horse some night. Bring party paraphernalia, such as a date. If you can, arrive on two wheels. Better than four.

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Working Toward Tripartite Racial Disunity: Maybe Not a Really Great Idea

Regarding Latinos not as citizens but as internal enemies of America is an idea pushed not just by many racialist websites (e.g., Vdare).but also by Donald Trump. The outlook is particularly characteristic of something called the Alt-Right, a substantial if loosely defined group who are horrified at the thought of racial amalgamation. Hostility intensifies as one moves farther along the right wing to where the feathers end and giddy space begins.

It is perhaps worth noting that the accounts of Mexico in the anti-immigrationist literature bear little or no resemblance to the Mexico I have lived in for fifteen years. The streets are not strewn with garbage, it is not legal to screw little girls of twelve years, guns for home defense are not illegal, and Mexican school children behave like everybody else’s. The racialist sites often do not check facts, do not correct false claims when notified of them, and not infrequently simply lie. Many of the leaders seem never to have been to Mexico, speak Spanish, or have the foggiest notions of the world below the Rio Bravo.

The President agrees with them. He is openly hostile to some 43 million American citizens. He has placed Mexico itself among “our enemies,” His “Mexicans are rapists” assertion resonated among Latinos much as Hillary’s Deplorables among Americans. How smart is this? 

Not very. In fact it is wrong, dangerous, stupid, and threatens disastrous consequences.

Let’s take a quick look at some numbers. Census figures show 57 million Latinos in the US,. Perhaps 12 millions of them being illegal. Trump promised to get rid of the illegals in two years, which would require deporting 500,000 a month for 24 months. He is way behind. He could also deport 125,000 a month for eight years. Do you see anything resembling this? If he deports 10,000 a month for eight years, it will come to a bit under a million–less than two percent of the Latino population,

In short, the number of Latinos is not going to change much whatever Trump does. There will be at least fifty million in the country regardless of anyone’s politics. Trump will deport enough to keep tension high but not enough to make a statistically noticeable difference. Most of the Latinos are, and more will be, American citizens. Treat them as internal enemies and they will likely become such–wouldn’t you?–with grievous results lasting for generations. This would suit the Alt-Right fine, but be ruinous for America.

There arise hard questions and curious situations. For example, the Left and businessmen do not want illegals expelled, businessmen because they like cheap labor that cannot organize, and the Left for the votes and because many think deportation cruel. The anti-immigrant people do not want to grant amnesty. This makes the illegals an underclass of twelve million unable to start businesses, go to college, or get good jobs. Brilliant. Exactly what the country needs. Further, the people who complain that the illegals are badly schooled want to deny education to undocumented children. This would produce a large number of irremediably unemployable illiterates. What a swell idea. 

Add Trump. He too quite obviously loathes Mexico and Mexicans, probably because he failed in a couple of crooked real-estate deals here. He is supposed to be the President of all Americans. He is not. When he plays to his base by attacking something like seventeen percent of the citizenry, he is doing the country no favor.

Permitting mass immigration, like importing slaves, was a bad idea, but it was done. The time to stop immigration is when it begins. When numbers reach a vague tipping point, it becomes irreversible. This has long since happened. Note that it was an inside job. Patriotic American businessmen have encouraged immigration, Congress has condoned it as have both political parties and Presidents–except Obama, who did everything he could to encourage it. The problem is home-grown and self-inflicted.

The future? Many fear that Latinos won’t assimilate, the Alt-Right that they will. The desire of the latter, often explicitly stated, is for racial purity of European stock, and Mexican girls are alarmingly attractive. While racial purity is in bad odor currently, it is actually a very good idea–if you can get it. No diversity, no racial strife, riots, burning cities, or endless anger over immigration. The white race has been by far the most successful and creative the planet has known. A desire to keep it around makes great sense. Well and good. Fine.

Unfortunately you cannot have both assimilation and racial purity. It is one or the other. If you concern is the well being of America, you want good relations with the newcomers, inevitably leading to intermarriage. If purity is your goal, you want bad relations, and the worse the better. To all appearances, the racialist websites are working toward the latter end. Trump, however intentionally, aids and abets.

A degree of friction between the races cannot be avoided. A small town in Tennessee does not like being descended upon by people of an unfamiliar culture. But the descenders have descended, with the explicit help of the federal government. They will not undescend. When a situation cannot be changed, it must be dealt with. The practical question, for anyone who gives a damn about the country, for anyone who has to live in it or has kids who will, is how to make the best of things as they exist. 

Many would say, “Stop the influx and assimilate the ones we have.” It is probably the best approach available. Yet to accept it is to concede the legitimacy of the citizenship of a minimum of  forty-some million Latinos. Racial and ethnic purists cannot bring themselves to do this, so they vituperate and vituperate. The constructive value is not clear. What do they expect to achieve?

How to assimilate Latinos? A good question, grist for another column. Everywhere I have been–LA, San Fran, Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, New York City, and Washington, DC–the problem has seemed to be solving itself. Mexicans worked as cashiers, bus drivers, waiters, and secretaries, and spoke English. But LA is not Wheeling, and California is not Arizona.

A statistic that will hearten assimilationists and revolt genetic purists is that (if Pew is to be believed) the rate of intermarriage between white and brown is twenty-six percent, higher among the second generation than the first, and higher between the well educated than the less so. For what it’s worth, Latinos who speak unaccented American English cease to seem very Latino.

Working against assimilation is that different cultures inevitably experience friction, that most of the immigrants are poor, poorly educated, young, and male, that assimilation works less well with populations large and dense enough be self-isolating, such as we see in black ghettos, and that the white-nationalists do all they can to cause antagonism.

Working toward successful assimilation is that Mexicans are Christian, heavily European in their roots, live in amity with a million American expats in Mexico, and as a race are demonstrably able to run modern cities universities, and such. Unlike blacks and Muslims, they do not see whites and Christians as mortal enemies. Much depends on keeping things this way.

But one thing I believe to be sure: Constantly attacking forty million American citizens as stupid, dirty, disease-ridden, criminal, given to rape and all the rest, will not make for domestic tranquility.

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Fun with Slavery: Dark Spots in a Shining Sea of Twaddle

Much is written about slavery and its aftermaths. A large part of this is frenetically modified history issuing from people both excited and poorly read, a comic-book version apparently intended to support agendas of the impenetrably adolescent Left. A few points:

First, slavery was always bad, frequently hideous, much worse in the Deep South than in Tidewater  or New York, and consequent to the same desire for cheap labor that now results in importing Mexicans and exporting jobs to China. Any notion that abuses were rare or exaggerated is twaddle.  A vast amount of contemporary writing documents this. The best-known account  of slavery in the South is is Journal of a Residence on a Georgia  Plantation by Fanny Kemble, a British actress actress who married a planter in, as the title suggests, Georgia. Also contemporary, and little known, Slavery as it is in America: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses. An  account of the horrific  Northern variety is  

Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery

Second, the slave trade being phenomenally  profitable, much like the drug trade today, many were involved who today choose to forget this: Yankees, Arabs, Jews, Quakers, and Southerners. It was strongly defended by many Christians in the South, and attacked by Christians in the North, who had no financial stake in it. Yankees owned slaves and, in the draft riots in New York in 1863, lynched and burned them alive. In this world angels are few on the ground.  The North now simply lies about it.

Not well known, by design: Wikipedia: “In 1741 Manhattan had the second-largest slave population of any city in the Thirteen Colonies after Charleston, South Carolina.”  In the revolt of that year, blacks were hanged and burned alive. In New York. Many similar things happened, now artfully forgotten.

Third, among the historically illiterate a notion exists that the South consisted of rich aristocrats living in mansions. A few, yes. Most, not even close. Poverty among whites in the South and the associated Appalachia was often extreme.

Fourth, freeing the slaves was an easy solution if you didn’t have the problem. If you were a planter with a wife and three little girls, would you give up your house and subject your family to poverty, rape, robbery, and revenge from blacks? I am not asking whether you think they should have done it, but whether in the circumstances you would do it. Another way of putting it: For what moral cause would you, today, give up your job, house, and investments, and step on the sidewalk with your family?

You might have done what many slaveowners did, what George Washington did: free your slaves in your will. (This reminds me of Saint Augustine’s cry, “Oh Lord, grant me chastity, but not just yet.”) You could thus express your opposition to slavery while enjoying its benefits.

Fifth, many today would say that Southerners deserved their problems, having brought them on themselves by enslaving blacks. But of course they did not. By 1861 most were born into a slaveholding society. Most were not enthusiastic about it, but had little idea what to do.

Anyone interested in just how divided whites were about slavery might the debates in 1831-2 in the Virginia House of Delegates. There was heated argument favoring no emancipation, gradual emancipation, immediate and total emancipation, and Lincoln’s solution of sending blacks back to Africa.

They ended by doing nothing. Part of the sentiment favoring keeping slavery came from Tidewater, where large landholders depended on slavery, and partly from the sense of having the tiger by the tail: “Dear God, what now?”

Sixth–and important–was the Haitian slave revolt of 1791-1804, of which few Americans have heard. Black Haitians butchered and tortured the whites in an unspeakable bloodbath. Southerners, well aware of this, decided that freeing the slaves would be mass suicide. As it happened when the slaves were emancipated after the Civil War, no bloodbath came. Events in Haiti provided ample reason for not taking the chance.

The sentiment was reinforced in 1831 by Nat Turner’s revolt in which slaves in Virginia revolted and butchered some sixty whites, families included. I cannot see why this was regarded as a crime. Certainly slaves have a moral right to kill their owners. If someone tried to enslave you and your family, would you kill him? I would. The slaughter did not reassure surrounding Virginians.  Again, slavery was an easy problem to solve if you didn’t have it.

Seventh, Southerners believed that they knew the Negroes and that they could not function as equals of whites and thus would destroy society. Except for ardent abolitionists–perhaps for ardent abolitionists–so did Northerners, but by then these latter didn’t have many Negroes and never expected to. Today, a century and a half after the Civil War, the Southerners seem to have been right. 

Eighth, controversy, usually witless,  persists over whether the South fought to preserve slavery. The usual approach is to quote Southern planters, politicians,  and newspapers as to the sacred quality of the peculiar institution and how God liked it. QED.

But of course these were the slave-owners, the rich, and their hangers on. They favored slavery for the same reason American businesses favor remote wars in Afghanistan: they make money at it. People do not fight bloody wars over years for the benefit of people that, after the war, they will have no desire to associate with. If you had asked a thousand Confederate infantrymen why they were fighting, do you think they would have said, “I’m fighting and dying and seeing my friends screaming gutshot so that rich bastards can own slaves while I live in a shack?”

You, the reader, probably do not favor mistreatment of women and girls. Would you favor fighting a war in Afghanistan in which America would lose over six and a half million dead–proportionately to population, what the country lost in the Civil War–to impose civil rights for women  in Afghanistan?

Ninth, hypocrisy. You, the reader, probably live (as I long did) in a society in which millions of blacks live pointless lives, shooting each other  in decaying cities with horrible schools. If you are a Yankee of the usual intolerable virtue, as so many are, note that blacks suffer these awful conditions  chiefly in Southern cities such as Trenton, Newark, Camden, Philadelphia, New York, Detroit, Chicago, Flint, Gary, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Washington DC. What have you done about it–other than, perhaps, talk? And you are in no danger of the consequences of whatever you might propose. Southerners were.

Tenth, it is worth noting that the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, now also sold as a moral measure by the sainted Lincoln, in fact freed not a single  slave. It applied only in the Southern states, where it was intended to ignite a revolt. Slaves in the North remained in slavery. Lincoln himself said, in letter after letter after document after speech and before Congress, over and over and over, that he  would not oppose slavery in the South if only it would come back to the Union, and–yes, boys and girls–he wanted to send blacks back to Africa.

But the textbooks come from New York.

Contemporary drawing of the 1863 draft riots in New York. Hangings and burnings alive occurred in this racially righteous city.

IN fact, the North wanted no blacks of any kind, having discovered that sweating European immigrants was more profitable. If you own slaves, you have to feed them and care for them no matter the business climate. This was suited to an agricultural economy. But the North was industrial. It made more sense to pay helpless immigrants almost nothing while they lived in tubercular filth with their children working twelve hours a day and dying of preventable diseases. After all, the next ship in would bring more. In short, it was the moral equivalent of slavery but more cost-effective and without the stigma.

More from New York. Kum Ba Ya.

Eleventh, edited out of history for an American public with a bumper-sticker mind is that slavery was a product of the North. Slave ships in hundreds left from New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut for Africa. When the slave trade was outlawed in 1808, Northern slavers sold contraband slaves to the South or to the godawful sugar-raising West Indies or to South America. The North grew rich from the cotton of the South,  financed its plantations, and provided the slaves. Further huge profits came from trading in the products of the sugar plantations, which it turned into rum.

The North had tens of thousands of slaves itself. It not infrequently burned blacks alive, connived at the kidnapping of free blacks to sell to the South, returned runaway slaves. When abolition-minded whites set up schools for blacks, Northern mobs attacked them and Northern courts refused to do anything about it.   Again, Complicity is a good account.

We drift in a sea of historical fraud.

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