Mr.Trump on the Apertures: Stark Madness and Inmiscibility

Pop Quiz: Take out a sheet of paper. This will be fifty percent of your grade: Which of the above is the Norwegian? Which from Mr. Trump’s other category? With which would you rather have your children go to school?

Mr. Trump’s comment regarding his preference for immigrants from Norway instead of “shithole countries”  such as Haiti engendered among the commentariat a great squealing. I cannot fathom this. Are they geographic virgins, and just don’t know anything of the world? Is it  only the usual schadenfreudian gotcha pile-on?  The if-A-then-B response to stimulus of a press corps with the freedom of thought I associate with a FORTRAN statement?

Shithole countries exist. Mr. Trummp’s  Haiti is one of them. Some other expression of more acceptable weaselhood might be employed: “hygienically-impaired conceivably preliterate ” or something.

If one takes “shithole” literally, Haiti is indeed excrementially challenged, I shamelessly steal this from John Derbyshire’s column on the Unz Review:

NPR: “A rainstorm on Good Friday last year filled the streets and alleys of one Port-au-Prince neighborhood with 3 feet of raw sewage.”

If unconvinced, try here.

However, Mr. trump’s term is usually figurative, meaning something like filthy, backward, pitiable, poor, unspeakable, degraded, ignorant, and so on. This is Haiti.

I once spent a week in the slums of Cite Soleil, in Port au Prince  with the US Army.  It was godawful. Huts of corrugated iron, “streets” of packed dirt, actually paths maybe two feet wide between them, no sewerage, no electricity. No medical care or, so I was told, education.  The impression was of an occupied garbage dump.

There were no guns, so the denizens went at each other with machetes, leading to missing limbs and exposed brains. Law enforcement did not exist. Witchcraft did. Haiti is voodoo territory.

One may sympathize with the inhabitants of such  a Dantean sub-basement, and I did. One may imagine ways of helping such people, and I did, knowing that they had been tried without effect. Yet there is no point in whitewashing a disaster, in pretending that Haiti is not what it is.

One day besside one of the narrow street-side canals, ditches really, of filthy water I saw a dead man. He was of a rich mahogany color, clothed only in shorts, lying face down next to the ditch. Passers-by paid him no attention. Flies were beginning to gather.

Apparently he had been digging in the ditch–a pick lay nearby–and hit an electrical cable. The conclusion seemed to have thrown him onto the bank. There was no sign that anyone was going to do anything about him.

No chance exists of integrated such people into the United States. It iis insane to try.  If you want to improve their lives, an impulse I commend, do it in Haiti. It won’t work, but you will have the satisfaction of having tried.

Those who have traveled little sometimes think that the world outside the developed countries is like Haiti. It is not. For all the talk about “Third World Hellholes” from bottle-blondes in New York, little of the “Third World,” whatever precisely that is, fits the description. (A phrase that includes Buenos Aires and Cite Soleil needs to be stood up against a wall and shot for fraud.)

Countries afflicted by poverty are not necessarily shithols, and usually are not. If I inadvertently left my granddaughter of two years in a remote Vietnamese fishing village, I would be little concerned. Rather I would expect to find her a week later become the queen of the village and well cared for. The Vietnamese would not eat her.

It is a common pattern. Nepal is very poor. Yet in remote Himalayan village above 12,000 feet, reachable only by days of hard walking or on tough little horses, you find civilized behavior. People are courteous, everyone is cared for, homes like rude American vacation cabins are clean and maintained, hygiene observed, children raised well. On the abandoned-granddaughter test, they would score an A. The only damage done would be that you would spend years trying to tell the tyke why she couldn’t have her own yak.

Another candidate for shithole status is Somalia, only barely a country.  When I was there it had no signs of a government. Many people there lived in the wild in huts of thorn bush covered with cardboard or cloth. I once watched the absurd spectacle of State Department official  riding into the bush in a jeep, containing me, to negotiate road-building rights with puzzled nomads who didn’t own the rights but were happy to take payment. By comparison, Alice in Wonderland seems brutally realistic.

For whatever reason, the worst of the Trumpian apertures are in Africa. On racial grounds, the media ignore that cannibalism flourishes, that albinos are hunted down and killed for the magical powers attributed to their body parts. (Dead serious .LA Times: “In parts of Africa, people with albinism are hunted for their body parts. The latest victim: a 9-year-old boy.”)

Papua-New Guinea.  One may wish to bring these gentlefolk the benefits of medicine, schooling, clothes. Good. Bring them anything, except to Idaho.

Mr. Trump suggested that it would be wiser to admit migrants from Norway. He is of course exactly right. It is not clear why Norwegians would leave their ordered and civilized country for the social chaos, racial violence, and degraded culture of America, but never mind. Yet, however ill-advised, they would assimilate quickly. Norwegians speak English. They can count beyond ten. They only occasionally practice witchcraft or hunt albinos. Some authorities deny that they do these things at all.

How can anyone, unaided by the better grades of mushroom, expect people from such  Trumpian–yes, hell holes–to fit into Iowa? They have nothing in common with Americans–not language, schooling, religion, morals, familiarity with civilization, European heritage or, it would seem, intelligence. Having imported them in the throes of the current fad for multiculturalism, the country will have them for all time. Splendid. Just splendid.

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A Dubious Patriotism:: On Accommodating Reality

Methinks that, for the good of the country, it is time  that the  “Alt-Right,” those bitterly hostile to our Latin-America population, stop and think. There is a difference between opposing further immigration, a good idea, and constantly attacking American citizens.

Many good reasons existed for preventing  massive immigration from the south. But it happened. Some forty-five million legal Hispanics (whatever exactly the word means) are now in America, mostly citizens. They show no signs of leaving. They cannot be deported. Their children become citizens. It is unlikely that many of the (very vaguely) estimated twelve million illegals will be deported or chased out.

Given this reality, the question becomes, or should become, what to do to, for, with, or about these people? The future of the country very much depends on the answer

A  beginning would be not to turn them into another dysfunctional, hostile racial minority–which is exactly what the Alt-Right seems bent on doing. Blacks, thirteen percent of the population, appear irremediably angry with obvious untoward consequences. If the Alt-Right can make another seventeen percent into internal enemies, it will be the end of anything recognizable as America.

Yet from the organs of the Alt-Right–Vdare, Breitbart News, and so on–comes a drumbeat to the effect that Latin-Americans are stupid, filthy, lazy, criminal, and parasitic. Mr. Trump,  hostile to Mexico and Mexicans, has called them “rapists,” which resonates in Latin America much as Hillary’s “deplorables” speech did in Middle America. We have hysterical books painting them as the end of civilization and human decency. (Ann Coulter’s ¡Adios, America! The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole comes to mind.)

Yet from the Alt-Right comes no suggestion  of practical policy toward the permanent Latin population.  Hatred is not a policy.

What to do?

The choices available to the country, other than doing nothing, are to encourage, or to discourage, assimilation. For the good of the United States, assimilation seems much the better choice. Diversity is almost always a disaster, but, if you already have it, and it is not going to leave, the best hope is to assimilate it, to encourage the diverse to move into the middle class and stop being very diverse.

Can Latin Americans be assimilated? Maybe, maybe not.   Walking around Los Angeles, San Antonio, Houston, or  in Chicago, where relations seem entirely amicable, suggests “yes.”  The “not” arises largely from the possibility that the combined influence of the Alt-Right and black racial animosity  will drive young Latin men into the current anti-white insanity.  

My own experience suggests that assimilation can be accomplished. In these matters I may have more experience than most of the Alt-Right. I have lived in Mexico for sixteen years. My wife is Mexican, we speak Spanish in the home, and we have toured the country from one end to the other. I have traveled extensively in all the countries of South America except Paraguay and Venezuela. Nowhere (with the exception perhaps of parts of Central America) have I seen the hellholes imagined–I might almost say “fervently desired”–by the Alt-Right. Lima, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Bogotá, Montevideo and many others are modern cities, with airlines, telecommunications, skyscrapers, and so on. Hellholes? I wonder whether Miss. Coulter has been in Latin America. 

On the site of American Renaissance, which takes a very dim view of Latin-Americans, I have seen links to a pair of studies by the Pew Research Center. The first, from 2013, found that 89% of American-born Latins are proficient in English. astonishing as sunrise. The second found that succeeding generations are losing their identification as Hispanics, also hardly a surprise, and also that intermarriage is high. Is this not assimilation?

America’s various minorities are not identical. The Latins are Christian, speak a European language, do not drive airplanes into buildings or shoot up  homosexual nightclubs, do not have Brown Lives Matter or the Knockout Game, do not mutilate their daughters or discourage them from going to university, do not  engage in honor killings.

Consider a not-very-hypothetical Rosa born of illegal parents in Los Angeles, age nineteen, speaking unaccented California English, and pecking at her cell phone. She will not be seen as very Mexican by young Anglo men. Language is a powerful marker of difference. Rosa is also likely to be pretty, which will  not hinder assimilation.

The second available policy toward Latins is to discourage assimilation. This won’t work for long (see Rosa, above). Such discouraging is the obvious if unacknowledged desire  of the Alt-Right. The Anit-Latinos tend to frame their hostility in terms of objective  traits real or imagined–Latins don’t learn English, do commit crimes, live on welfare, take American jobs. Yet one requires little reading to see that their real objection is racial.

In today’s climate of compulsory right-thought, wanting to maintain one’s race and culture is bad, very bad. Actually of course it is an age-old instinct and practiced by  Japanese, Chinese, Jews, white nationalists, Latin Americans,  and pretty much everybody else. It does not well survive assimilation.

The problem vis-a-vis the Alt-Right’s desire for racial purity is that Latins, who  are not going to go away, cannot change their race. This means that no matter what they do, how many languages they learn, how many degrees they earn, or taxes they pay, the Alt-Right will loathe them. I wonder: Should this loathing be permitted to shape the future of the country?

Assimilation and racial purity being  incompatible and diametrically opposed, we must choose. You can have one, or the other, but not both.  To discourage assimilation, one needs to maximize bad relations between Latin and Anglo. This seems exactly what the Alt-Right is determined to do.

Racial hostility explains the profound ignorance of most of the Alt-Right of South America. Read their websites, their comments. They seem to have no curiosity as to where the immigrants come from, what manner of wights they be, or what they can do or have done. This is not the place for a disquisition on Latin American culture. Still,  anyone of intellectual breadth must be aware of the rich and extensive body of music, literature, poetry, and cinema of southern lands. All of this can easily be found on the internet. One may wonder why the Alt-Right has not bothered. Ask  who Carlos Monsivais was , or Octavio Paz. You will get get a black stare.

More culpable are the leaders of the  Alt-Right, highly intelligent and educated people, most of them talking heads of the DC-Manhattan bubble. They are not of limited mind and could afford to learn what they are talking about. They do not. They are misrepresenting peoples they have never met, civilizations they have never seen. They regard this a patriotism.

Finally, though perhaps in offense to literary continuity, it is interesting to look at the logic, if that is quite the word, of much of the Alt-Right’s cultivation of hostility. They say that “Mexicans take American jobs.” How? Does Pedro put a pistol to an American worker’s head and say, “Geeve me zee shoffel or I blow your brines out”? Or do American businessmen, to make more  money,  hire countless Pedros, knowing perfectly well that they are illegal? Do  Mexicans  attach wheels to American factories by dark of night and roll them to Tampico? Or do American corporations, to make more money, build factories in Mexico? Who is taking American jobs?

The Latins are in America to stay. Love it or hate it, it is over, a done deal. How do we make the best of i–which may not be very bad?

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The Wall, the Sound and the Fury: And Not Much Else

Some of the prototypes.  Though I am not a construction engineer, it seems to me that 2,000 miles of any of these is more of a job than their proponents are telling us.

With regard to Mr. Trump’s  Border Wall, I am skeptical. Now, I freely concede that I am not an authority on Border Walls. In fact, I have never built a Border Wall. This may surprise readers. Yet it is true. So all that follows is in the nature of speculation. Be warned.

Still, though I may be horrifically wrong, and different numbers can be obtained by assuming different types of wall, I suggest that the following represent the kinds of questions that need to be answered. Further, it should be incumbent on those promoting the Wall to produce prices and times that make sense.

All right, Mr. Trump has eight prototypes, but they run to 30 feet high, made of concrete, and go six feet underground to prevent tunneling. According to rumor among the border authorities, some go considerably deeper, and some prototypes are made of other materials. Here we will assume a hypothetical concrete wall thirty feet high and six feet deep.   In other words, thirty-six feet in vertical dimension.

Let us assume a thickness of six inches. Much less would be insecure, one supposes. We will ignore rebar. Actually, a glance at the photograph shows that, of whatever they be made, they are more than six inches thick, but we will ignore this.

The volume of concrete in the entire wall would thus be 2,000 miles x 5280 ft / mile x 36 ft x .5 ft, or 190,080,000 cubic feet.

Now, the wall presumably will have to be built in prefab sections at a remote factory or factories, and trucked to the Wall site on flatbed eighteen-wheelers. Donkeys would seem inadequate, helicopters excessive. Fabricating each section in situ  with some sort of traveling factory, requiring the trucking in of phenomenal amounts of concrete (or metal or whatever the Wall was made of), would be crazy even by the standards of federal contracting.

To be carried on a standard semi rig, sections could be no more than 8.5 feet wide. Each section would measure 36 ft. x .5 ft. x 8.5 ft, or or 153 cubic feet. Since concrete weights 145 pounds per cubic foot, the section would weigh 22,185 lbs.

Given that a semi can carry only about 45,000 pounds, each truck could carry only two sections. With special permission, not unusual for outsize loads, a semi might carry a section 10 feet wide. Then a single section would weigh 36 ft  x .5 x 10 ft  x 145 or 26,100 lbs, but then only one could be carried as two would weigh 52,200 lbs, way over the max weight for a semi load. Some other sort of Wall would weigh something else, but you would need a lot of trucks.

Since I don’t know the weights of the prototypes, the foregoing  calculations may be off. Show me how, and by how much for each prototype.

A mile being 5280 feet, each mile of wall would require 5280/8.5, sections, or 621. The entire wall would need 2000 miles x 621 sections per mile, or 1, 242,000 sections. That’s 621,000 truck loads.  

Assume that the sections were manufactured exactly in the middle of the 2000 mile border. Each section would then have to be trucked an average of 500 miles to its place of installation. If built in California, an average of 1,000 miles. Buy trucking stocks. Of course more factories would mean fewer miles per section. So I figure Mr. Trump must be asking Congress for money for a bunch of factories. Otherwise I wouldn’t think he was serious.

Now, a concrete sail 30 feet high would presumably require a strong foundation to resist the enormous forces created by, say, a forty knot wind. In fact, a high, heavy wall presumably needs a strong foundation just not to collapse sideways in soft earth. Simply placing it in a six-foot ditch would not work. No? 

Let us assume a foundation a foot wide on each side of the wall section  and, as noted, six feet deep to force migrants to dig a seven-foot hole. Again, just a guess from one who seldom builds international walls. The required volume of concrete will thus be about 2000 miles x 5280 feet/mile x 6 ft x 2 ft, or 126,720,000 cubic feet.

All of this would have to be trucked to its place of use from its place of mixing, and quickly enough to prevent premature hardening. If some stretches of border are too distant or the terrain not adequate, roads will have to be constructed and concrete mixed nearer to the Wall.

Adding the volume for the wall proper to the volume for the foundation, we get 126,720,000  plus 190,080,000 cubic feet, or 316, 800,000 cubic feet. This will weigh x 145, or 22,968,000 tons, all of which will have to be carried to the site of installation. Buy more truck stocks.

What will the Trump Wall cost? Dunno, but would NBC lie? I find:

” White House officials have suggested that the entire wall project could cost between $8 and $12 billion. And, internal DHS assessments suggest the cost could be higher — as much as $21 billion.

I can think of no greater authorities on heavy construction than a pack of ideological yoyos in the White House who have probably never seen a shovel. The New York Times says $70 billion, and $150 million a year to maintenance.

So, $8 to $70 billion. The government doesn’t know how much the Wall will cost within a factor of about  9, or else is lying. Both are  consistent with federal practice. Note that federal projects typically involve very large overruns. Note also that in federal contracting a common tactic, which I saw often in my years covering the Pentagon, is to low-ball your bid and then, when the project is too far along to be cancelled, to discover that the cost will actually be, heh, rather more.

Over 2,000 miles, the $71 billion figure comes to  $35,500,000 per mile, or  $57,165 per section. The $21.7 billion figure gives $10,850,000  per mile, or $17,472 per section.  At $8 billion, $4,000,000 per  mile, or about $6,441 per section. Do you really think the government can buy a 36 by 8.5 by six inch reinforced concrete wall section, truck it a long distance, and erect it for…$6,441? Do you think that even the cheapest of the prototypes would cost so little?

How long will it take to complete this cement F-35? Wall, I mean. Wall. Press reports put time for completion at three years. That’s 660 miles per year. Uh...yeah.

Putting up 621 sections a month, or one mile a month, looks ambitions—over twenty a day. These are hugely heavy concrete slabs requiring a massive crane to set them in place, after which they would have to be tied to neighboring slabs in some manner and, presumably, a foundation poured. 

Of course putting up 621 per month requires that the factories manufacture 621 per month. This is certainly not impossible, but will take rather more commitment than we see, which is almost none.

Let us be charitable and assume a mile a month for 2000 months. The Wall will take 167 years. Ten construction crews working at the optimistic rate of a mile a month would take 16.7 years. Mr. Trump has at most 84 months left in office, which would, again at a mile a month, come to 4.2% of the Wall.

Now, I do not know whether Mr. Trump could find the Pacific Ocean on a map of Hawaii. Perhaps so. I have no information on the matter. However, a developer of real estate can reasonably be expected to know something of costing construction.

If I were a cynic, which of course I am not, I might suspect the President of using the Wall to excite  his rubes while  not actually doing much about immigration, their chief focus.  Trump may be a trifle scattered, but he is one hell of a politician. Do we really expect him to send federal marshals to chase away illegals from businesses that depend on them–to shut down agribusiness in California, leave citrus crops to rot, shutter slaughter houses, and put CEOs in slam? Nah. Let’s talk the Wall, a distracting sparkle toy.


Note: I see about as well as a cave fish, so will probably have made arithmetic shiitakes which will bring howling mobs of commenters down on my head.  Hey, close enough for government work.

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Firing the Pre-Pubertal Arquebus: A Sociological Treatise

Today we will ponder America, a country, even a civilization, that existed long ago where the United States is today, but bore little resemblance to it. It will be like studying cave drawings, or Sargon of Akkad. Pay attention. The is original source material of historical importance.

I was there, in America: Athens, Alabama, at age twelve. 

Athens was small and Southern, drowsy in summer, kind of comfortable feeling, not much concerned with the outside world. It left the world alone and the world left it alone. In those days, people in a lot of places figured this was pretty workable.

Kids went barefoot. So help me. After about two weeks in spring your feet got tough and you could walk on anything, except maybe gravelly black asphalt that got hotter than the hinges. Parents let you do it. Today I guess it would be a hate crime, and you’d get an ambulance, three squad cars and Child Protective Services all honking and blowing and being important. We didn’t know we  needed protecting. Maybe we didn’t.

It wasn’t like today. When your dog wanted to go out, she did, and went where she thought was a good idea, and nobody cared, and she came back when she thought that was a good idea, and everybody was content. She probably slept on your bed, too.  Today it would  be a health crisis with the ambulance and squad cars. We just didn’t know any better. I don’t remember anybody dying of dog poisoning.

Now, BB guns. We all had one, every kid that was eleven years old. Boy kids, anyway. Mostly they were Red Ryder, for four dollars, but I had a Daisy Eagle, that had a plastic telescopic sight, and was no end uptown. I was always aristocratic. Anyway, you could go into any little corner store and get a pack of BBs for a nickel.

In downtown Athens–there was about a block of it, around the square–there was the Limestone Drugstore. It’s still there, like them pyramids at Geezer. Kids came in like hoplites or cohorts or hordes, or anyway one of those things in history and leaned their BB guns near the door, with their baseball gloves too usually.

Nobody cared. We didn’t shoot each other with the BB guns because we just didn’t. It’s how things used to be. We didn’t need the po-leese to tell us not to do it because it wasn’t something we did. Shooting another kid was like gargling fishhooks or taking poison. You could do it, but probably wouldn’t.

Anyway the man that owned the Limestone was about eighty or a hundred years old and had frizzy red hair like a bottle brush and his name was Coochie. It’s what everyone called him anyway. He liked little boys–not like those Catholic preachers always in the newspapers–we didn’t do that either–but just liked kids. There was this big rack of comic books that nobody ever bought but you just took them to a table and read them till they fell into dust and drank cherry cokes and ate nickel pecan pies.  I think Coochie used comic books as bait so he could talk to us. It was mighty fine.

We all had pocket knives, or mostly anyway. If you were rich you had a Buck knife. That was the best kind. We’d take them to school because they were in our pockets and it was hard to leave your pocket somewhere even if you thought of it. You could carve your initials on your desk when the teacher wasn’t looking.

Today if you had a knife in school you’d get the squad cars and ambulance and get handcuffed and have to listen to a psychologist lady until you wanted to kill someone. Probably her.

It was different then, back in America. We didn’t think of stabbing anybody. It would have seemed like a damn fool idea, like eating a peanut butter sandwich dipped in kerosene. It wasn’t how people were. I guess how people are is what they’re going to do, not what laws you have. You can tell a possum to sing church songs, but he won’t, because a possum just doesn’t have it in him. It’s not how he is.

When you shot a BB gun at something that needed shooting, like an insulator of a telephone pole, it was like a thing of beauty. You could see the BB sail away, all coppery and glinty against blue sky and it was like a poem or something. Maybe anyway. You could see it start to drop when the speed wore off and go sideways a little with the wind where there was any. You learned to calculate and you could hit just about anything.

Lots of things was different. Water fountains on the town square said White and Colored, White folks and black people didn’t mix at all. I thought it saved trouble for everybody but people from up North said it was wrong and I guess it was. Now the black folks up north are killing each other by hundreds, the papers say, and I’m not sure why that’s a good idea, but then blacks in places like Newark and Detroit have really good schools because Northerners really care about blacks and they mostly go to Harvard, so I guess it’s a lot better.

Another thing you could do with a BB gun was to get a twelve-gauge shotgun shell which you could do in several ways. You might steal it from your dad’s gun rack if he had one, or stick it inside a roll of toilet paper in a store and buy the toilet paper. But I don’t know anything about that. Anyway you could cut the shell off just in front of the powder and put the powder and primer on the end of the barrel of the BB gun. Pow! A spray of orange sparks would shoot into the air. It was real satisfying. It may not have been real smart.

Finally, manners, morals, and language as practiced in America. As boys, which is to say small barbarians in need, when alone together, of socialization, we insulted each other. “I’ll slap the far outa you, you no-count scandal.” I will slap the fire out of you, you scoundrel of no account. Or, “You ain’t got the sense God give a crabapple.” But, barefoot and tatterdemalion though we might be, or in fact certainly were, the elements of civilization had been impressed on us. We did not cuss or talk dirty in the presence of girls or women. We didn’t curse out teachers neither. I don’t rightly know what would have happened if someone had tried it. No one did. We weren’t that kind of people. It’s the kind of people you are that counts.At least, that’swhat I reckon. Even at twelve, I had that figured out.¿

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Average Night in DC: The Cop Diaries

Merciless news weasel, with  ballistic vest, battening of human misery and degradation. Often mistaken  for Mike Hammer or Philip Marlowe, though    or Clark Kent  would be more accurate.

In the dog hours after two a.m., the empty time when the streets are dark and lifeless, a police car is an alien  bubble, a small moving world unconnected with the streets, not part of the neighborhood. Yet it has to be there. The city is dead. Blank windows, alley mouths leading into nowhere. Parked cars, grey in the wan light, like bloated ticks. There is no color. Nothing happens. Until it does.

Inside, dash lights, warmth in winter. And the redio. The radio, the soul of a cop car. Squawk, sssssss, crackle, laconic female voice, “Wreck on GW Parkway at Pentagon”  from a dispatcher sitting at her desk on Ninth Street. Laconic because she has heard it all, many times. Sometimes the radio traffic is downright weird. I have heard  “ADW weedwacker,” assault with a deadly weapon, weedwhacker. Who the hell at three a.m has a….. “Fourth and School, naked man climbing telephone pole.” Dispatchers has heard it all. Gunfire, fires, some homeless guy frozen to death under a bench in winter, or located by the smell in summer. The city late at night is an urban  coral reef. Strange life comes from who knows where. It isn’t the city normal people know. They are asleep.

The Parkway is on the other side of the river in Virginia, not DC’s problem, but I carry a scanner, a nice Bearcat, to listen to other districts.

The guy I’m riding with, I’ll call him Barnes. I have ridden with hundreds of Barneses.

The radio says there is a fire at such and such an address. It isn’t in our patrol district, but things are slow. When you see six squad cars together, two of them need to be there and the others wanted to see what was happening. We go.

Fire is already there, guys pulling hose, other cops, the engines, an ambulance, which is leaving. No one hurt.  Bar lights flashing red-blue-red-blue, reflecting from buildings and cars. A building of three floors is spitting flames. A burning insurance policy. Water runs in the street. There is a curious smell of wet ashes.

Barnes says, “Neighborhood’s going down. They’re burning them to try to get their money out.” Cops know it. They can’t prove it.

Fire departments have less and less to do. In a concrete high-rise with fire-proof steel doors, you can burn the furniture in one apartment. That’s about it. So the departments do medical calls. I once saw a fire engine sent to handle a miscarriage on a sidewalk.

The crash on the Parkway must be bad. Ambulance is there, but the paramedics are saying, “We need a chopper. Right now. This guy is bad….” Ambulance will have alerted shock-trauma, probably at MedStar but the guy has to get there alive. He probably won’t. Head injury. They don’t last well.

We chat with the fire guys a bit, shop talk. Heyjuh hear, think they’ll pass that pay raise? yeah, arson, had to be accelerant. There’s a camaraderie in the street trades. It makes the nights not so long. Then we head back to where we are supposed to be. To fill the hours we bullsht about things we have seen, about what is going on in the city.

It’s  funny. People often say to me, “I don’t see how anyone can stand to be a cop.” A cop’s response usually runs to something like,”I don’t see how anyone can spend thirty years in a goddam cubicle, shuffling papers about property taxes.” I don’t either.

Some of it is funny in an anthropological way. A black transvestite as big as  a running back in a thong bikini and size probably forty high heels. Harmless but…different. There was the guy–I swear it, I saw the security-camera photo–whose head was so narrow that he got out of his cell between the bars at Seven-D headquarters, on Alabama Avenue. The guy with those shoes with the colored lights in them that flash when you walk. He did something wrong one  night–I forget what, shoplifting maybe–and then ran into a patch of woods to hide.

Some isn’t funny. The guy killed by a loon who completely peeled his face, maybe with an Exacto knife. Kids, burned to death in a fire the color of roast ham with their bellies ruptured by expanding gases. The little girl of four years whose ghetto parents kept her, starving and tied, in a closet until she died, when they left her in a dumpster in a plastic bag. The street trades handle this stuff while the rest of us sleep or worry about the property taxes. Guess why cops get weird and cynical.

The crash on the Parkway is still unfolding. Virginia. We hear things like, “That chopper en route? He’s fading in and out.” I’m not sure why they need the whirlybird, but the paras know what they are doing. They do a lot of it.

An all-night convenience store, a blotch of light and life in the deadness. Several black guys–everybody in this part of the city is black–congregate with brown paper bags. Forties or maybe Cobra, fortified wine. Drinking in public. Not very public though, at this hour. Barnes ignormes them.  They’re not doing anything.

Race is huge in the city, not always for reasons imagined in the nice suburbs. Police tend to be lower middle class guys, black or white, blue collar, wanting to distance themselves from the lower orders. They brush their teeth, follow rules, comb their hair, wash their cars. They are intensely respectable. The black city is different. The young men dress in dumpster-chic, deliberately telling society to screw off. They don’t follow rules. They and cops wouldn’t like each other under any circumstances.

The laws make it worse. Blacks stand with a beer on the sidewalks in fron of their houses, talking to the neighbors. Some guys are shooting crps for quarters on the hod of a car. Bo0th are illega: gambling, drinking in public. The cops have to shut thise dangerous activites down. It’s part of the theory that if you crack cown on little stuff, big stuff won’t happen. It makes the people hate the cops. When a black officer is involved, people will mutter, loud enough for him to hear, “I can’t believe a black cop is doing this.” Neither can I. Any cop. Of course the laws are made  by a black government. No one thinks of this.

Two hours to quitting time. We search for coffee.


A lousy scan, but you get the idea.

Buy  Killer Kink, Fred’s novel of death and weirdness in DC, where you have to   be really weird to stand  out against the background. What the critics are saying– Psychology Today, “Fred is crazy. He deserves a category all to himself in the DSM-5.” New York Review of Books: “This is a truly great book. You can squash bugs with it. Glue several together to make a doorstop.” Fred himself says, “But twelve copies. We know where your kids go to school.”

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Absolute, Obvious, Unacknowledged Disaster: A Racial Snapshot of America

Let us look into the abyss. It will do no good.

First, another page in the sordid comic book of American race relations. In Beijing, three black basketball players from UCLA were arrested for shoplifting.  They faced jail time. Ten years, actually.

The theft was so stupid that it demands explanation. It was too stupid for stupidity to be responsible  They did not need to steal. They were  pampered babies of semi-pro basketball, infinitely privileged. They are not expected to meet academic standards, to study, or be able to read.  Something other than conventional stupidity must be involved. Is it that blacks, as various psychologists have said, lack impulse control, cannot readily envision the future?  I don’t know. It fits, though.

There is a curious pattern here. Scoreboard Baby is a book tracking the careers of black football players at the University of Washington. UW is a big-time football school and these players were on track  to be millionaires in the NFL. Yet their record in the university is one of rape, armed robbery, assault, wife-beating, endlessly repeated drunk driving, drug use, and parole violation.  Criminality is understandable: You want those tennis shoes, or your life is so screwed up that you just don’t give a damn. These guys, with everything going for them, apparently could not control themselves even in their own interest.

But, back to the basketball players: As they awaited a decade in a Chinese slam, Donald Trump–drum roll, trumpets—drops from the sky like a thunderbolt, weaning a red, white, and blue cape. He  intervenes to save three two-bit semi-literate boosters.  The President of the United States acting like a starveling PD, public defender, the bottom-rung lawyers who hang around court houses in cheap suits to keep bottom-feeding crooks on the street.

Possibly  I was wrong about the manner of Mr. Trump’s arrival. Anyway, I am thinking that when he leaves office, he could start a firm, Shoplifters Redemption International and get federal outreach money.

OK, next. Baltimore has passed three hundred murders for the year. The figure is so astonishing that one almost begins to see it as like a batting average: Can they make it to four hundred? Are we doing better than last year?

You will probably have assumed hat the killers were Chinese math majors from Johns Hopkins. Right? You racist dog.

In response to its Bizarro world chaos, the black government of Ballmer tears down Confederate statues. Yes. These cause crime. The correlation is undeniable: Japan has no Confederate statues, and no crime. See?

These offensive sculptures commemorate a war that Baltimore’s cadavers,  strewn  about like flower  petals in autumn,  couldn’t spell. Do you doubt this? Go into the schools of Baltimore and see how many can spell “Confederate.” Which brings us to:

Next: Another Baltimorean triumph:. Fox News:“Project Baltimore  analyzed 2017 state testing data and found one-third of High Schools in Baltimore, last year, had zero students proficient in math.”  In six other high schools, only 1 percent tested proficient in math.  Only 15 percent of Baltimore students passed the state’s English test.. 

Bear in mind that the  schools, and their policies, are entirely under control of a black government. 

It is hard to decide whether these revelations are astonishing or boring. Accustomed to such numbers by long exposure, we forget that  scholastic catastrophe of this magnitude would be unthinkable in any other civilized society. Can you imagine a Baltimore in Japan? Finland? South Korea? Germany before African immigration? Ah, but Baltimore is getting rid of those oppressive statues. That will fix things.

Absolute, obvious, unacknowledged disaster.

Next: More advances in the homicide competition: Chicago, the City that Works, has hit six hundred dead! Zingo! Those pikers in Ballmer don’t have a chance. There is good news, of a sort. There have been 2045 shootings in Chicago to the end of October. This comes 3.41  attempts per murder. Oh blessed inaccuracy. In poor marksmanship lies our hope. 

Chicago’s educational statistics do not differ markedly from those of Baltimore, Detroit, Newark, or New Orleans. All of these cities turn out young blacks who will have no chance at all in a techno-industrial society. Reckon this happens in Beijing?

Absolute, obvious, unacknowledged disaster.

And hopeless. Even if we believed that better schools would help, a proposition for winch there is no evidence, or earlier intervention, perhaps in the womb, or special tutoring, or tweaks to self-esteem, even free Air Jordans, it would take twelve years to have effect—the length of a high-school education. Politicians do not look beyond the next election.

Anyway, there is no point in talking about education. Blacks lack interest. Have you ever heard of a black school telling mothers—there apparently are no fathers in what seems to have become a sprawling parthenogenetic ecosystem—to help their kids with their homework? Of black Boards of Education asking for thicker textbooks with bigger words and smaller pictures? It is  semi-illiteracy by choice. We are doomed.

Absolute, obvious, unacknowledged disaster.

Next. The war goes on. We have black football players refusing to stand for the national anthem.  They think that young black males are being hunted down by cops. Actually of  course black males are hunting each other down in droves but black football players apparently have no objection to this. They do not themselves convincingly suffer discrimination. Where else can you get paid six million green ones a year for grabbing something and running? Maybe in a district of jewelers.

The non-standing is racial hostility to whites. The large drop in attendance of games, of television viewership, is racial blowback by whites. Millions of whites are thinking, that, if America doesn’t suit them, football players can afford a ticket to Kenya. While this line of reasoning is tempting, it doesn’t really address the problem and so would be a waste of time.

But what, really, is the problem?

It is one that dare not raise its head: that blacks cannot compete with whites, Asians, or Latin-Americans. Is there counter-evidence? This leaves them in an incurable state of resentment and thus hostility. I think we all know this: Blacks know it, whites know it, liberals know it, and conservatives know it. If any doubt this, the truth would be easy enough to determine with carefully done tests. The furious resistance to the very idea of measuring intelligence suggests awareness of the likely outcome. You don’t avoid a test if you expect good results.

So we do nothing while things worsen and the world looks on astounded. We have mob attacks by Black Lives Matter, the never-ending Knockout Game, flash mobs looting stores and subway trains, occasional burning cities, and we do nothing. Which makes sense, because there is nothing to be done short of restructuring the country. 

Absolute, obvious, unacknowledged disaster.

Regarding which: Do we really want, any of us, what we are doing? In particular, has anyone asked ordinary blacks, not black pols and race hustlers. “Do you really want to live among whites, or would you prefer a safe middle-class black neighborhood? Do your kids want to go to school with whites? If so, why? Do you want them to? Why? Would you prefer black schools to decide what and how to teach your children? Keeping whites out of it? Would you prefer having only black police in your neighborhood?”

And the big one: “Do you, and the people you actually know in your neighborhood, really want integration? Or is it something imposed on you by oreo pols and white ideologues?”

But these are things we must never think, never ask.

It isn’t working. Absolute, obvious, unacknowledged disaster.

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Fun with IQ: Deep Thought

Once upon a time in America the ruling  dwarves, mostly psychologists, sociologists, academics, and suchlike riffraff,  held that all people were equal in everything, that men and women were identical, as were all races, ethnic groups, and cultures. Criticizing any of this could, and did, lead to firing, ostracism, and having to suffer crowds of mental defectives waving placards.

Resistance arose, the resisters calling themselves Race Realists or adherents of the Human-Biodiversity movement, HBD. These were brave people who tried to deal in observation, measurement, and reality–at first. They noticed that groups who were supposed to be equal weren’t.  Actually, most people had probably noticed the same things, these being obvious, but the Race Realists actually said so. A great wrath fell upon them.

Two things happened. First, the intellectual equivalent of gas-station louts merged online with Race Realists. The louts had no interest in human biodiversity except insofar as it could be used to establish the inferiority of groups they didn’t like. These included all non-whites. When various Asian peoples proved awkwardly to be smarter than whites, the louts said, well, OK, but they can’t innovate.

Overlapping the louts and Race Realists in a complex Venn diagrams were ideological, and therefore slightly pathological, conservatives with their characteristic tribal hostility toward anyone different and nearby.

Second, the respectable Race Realists, under constant criticism as racists, frauds, and pseudoscientists–which they were not–became as rigidly ideological as their opponents. Herd-think settled in. Surprisingly, scientists proved as susceptible to herd-think as everyone else, and equally unaware of it. The whole cluster could no longer examine its ideas or tolerate questions.

Their chief beliefs are that everything came about through Darwinian evolution, probably to include sunspots, that everything is genetic in origin (presumably including their politics, a thought they overlook), and that IQ tests provide an infallible measure of intelligence.

These views came to constitute as hermetic a bubble as anything the Catholic Church or Communist Party ever came up with. And so, like their enemies the mental defectives with the placards, they fell into simply shouting down doubters as a form of CDA (Cognitive Dissonance Avoidance).

They became wonderfully like their enemies. In 1925, in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, fundamentalist Christians tried to prevent the mention of evolution in the public schools. Recently in in court in Philadelphia, the evolutionists successfully outlawed the mention of Christian doctrine in the public schools. The psychologies were identical. Curiously, both faiths were tripartite. The Christians had Father, Son, and Holy, Ghost, and the opposition had Darwin,  IQ, and Genetics.

Their thinking, well, wasn’t. If you argued to a physicist that the acceleration of gravity changed with the seasons, he would either ignore you or ask for evidence. He would not endeavor to have you fired or hounded in the literature. These things have happened to those doubting the sanctity of Darwin.

Permit me to give a few examples of Cognitive Dissonance Avoidance in the IQ racket . I will try to maintain the somber pretentiousness expected in such matters, but I apologize in advance in case I fall off the wagon.

Let us start here:

IQ 83. Meso-American Indians, more specifically purebred Mexican Indians, are said to have a mean IQ of 83. This is observationally plausible. Today they seem intellectually dormant. 

IQ 84. Colombia, mean  IQ 84, runs modern cities, airlines, telecommunications, and other trappings of modernity.

IQ 85. American blacks. They are thought in the hbd world to be unable to do things that Colombians do routinely, yet they have a higher IQ than Colombians..

IQ 86. Ireland was long said by IQists to have this intelligence, odd in a white European nation, but was later promoted to 100, with some authorities averaging the two to get 93.

It seems curious that such similar IQs would produce such disparate results.

Then we have this datum on the Meso-American Indians:

By around 300 BCE, these Indians had invented both writing and a positional-exponential number system complete with zero, probably the best in the world at the time. As linguists universally acknowledge, their writing  was  real writing, not proto-writing or funny scratches on bark. Writing has been invented perhaps three times in human history. Further, they did this with a quite small population.

Anybody but an IQist would think this remarkable and worthy of thought. Smart then, dumb now.Why and how did this happen? What mechanism can account for it? Is something wrong with the paradigm?

From the foregoing observations we conclude:

(1) A mean IQ of 83 is sufficient to invent writing and exponential-positional number systems.

This is not a theorem but an observation. They did it, so they must have been able to do it. The only ways to avoid this conclusion are either to accept that something is wrong with the numbers–an IQist would rather submit to bastinado–or to to posit powerful evolutionary pressures favoring stupidity following 1521, the last year when these two systems were widely used.

The latter expedient carries a whiff of desperation. Perhaps someone will explain this rush toward enstupidation. (Preferably without appealing to presumed evolutionary pressures not subject to measurement or even detection acting upon genes of presumed but unestablished existence to produce presumed results not correlatable with the selective pressures. This is science?)

Now, if a particular mean IQ is sufficient to do certain things, then a higher mean IQ must perforce be sufficient to do those same things. Thus we have:

(2) American blacks, mean IQ 85, are intelligent enough to invent writing and exponential-positional number systems.

The IQist position, that the Indians are stupid (as perhaps they are) leads to fascination conclusions.  We have:

Either (a) inventing sophisticated number systems does not require mathematical talent, or (b) mathematical talent does not require much intelligence.


Since, as established above, American blacks are capable of epochal mathematical leaps forward, their failure to make such leaps in the United States must be due to something other than low intelligence. Among the possibilities are culture, discrimination, racism, white privilege, transphobia, fat shaming, institutional racism, Islamophobia, low expectations, poverty. and something about LGBT.

Thus we see that IQ theory confirms the claims of Social Justice Warriors, a surprising but scientifically derived result.

But at this point I must retract my suggestion that the genetically determined Meso-American IQ cannot have fallen sharply. Observation demonstrates the contrary. Here we have a side-by-side comparison of mean IQs of nations, the first measured in taken in 2002 and and the second in 2006. One sees rapid changes in IQ over these four years. (The cognoscenti of IQ will attribute sudden rises of BMFE, Burst Mode Flynn Effect, but this is a very technical matter.) 

For example, Peru has fallen from 90 to 85, and Mexico has risen from 87 to 90. I find the case of Mexico particularly of note since I live there–here. With its genetically determined IQ rising at three points every four years, it follows that in the next century it may rise by 75 points unless something is done to halt this ominous trend.

We conclude:

A nation’s mean IQ can rise or fall by at least five points in four years.

This seems peculiar behavior for a genetically determined quantity. The most probable explanation is very rapid Punctuated Equilibrium, which we in psychometry refer to as an FGL (Frantic Genetic Lunge). Another explanation, which we will carefully avoid, is that IQ varies semi-independently of intelligence, and thus is an unreliable measure.

Perish forfend.

Next: There is said to be a positive correlation between a country’s mean IQ and its degree of economic prosperity. This is plausible and we will here accept it as true. Confirmatory examples abound: The Japanese are highly intelligent and highly prosperous; Equatorial Guineans are highly not intelligent and highly not prosperous. QED.


Since IQ correlates positively with national prosperity, then, as prosperity rises, so must IQ.

Because genetic IQ cannot increase so rapidly in even the most lubricious of nations, we would almost have to suspect that prosperity raises IQ, not the other way around. Or else that IQ is only sometimes and unpredictably linked to intelligence. Both of these being unacceptable results, we will ignore them. CDA.

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Mexico, as It Is and Wasn’t:: Some Stuff Wroth Knowing

For Americans concerned about  Mexico and Mexicans, and what sort of wights they be, a little history may help. We seem to know almost nothing  about a bordering nation of 130 million. It is not what most of us think it is. It is certainly not what the Loon Right would have us believe.

For many years, until 1910, Mexico was run by Europeans, lastly under Porfirio Diaz, for the benefit of Europeans. Literacy was extremely low with economic conditions to match. The country was indeed, to borrow a favorite phrase of those hostile to Latin Americans, a Third-World hellhole. Many nations then were, to include China.

In 1910 the Revolution broke out. It was godawful, as civil wars usually are. It ended in 1921, followed shortly by the Cristero religious war until 1929. This had the usual hideousness favored by religious wars.

It left the country devastated. It hadn’t been much to start with, but now it was a wreck. Aldous Huxley, writing in 1934, saw no improvement. (Beyond the Mexique Bay) At least until 1940 much of Mexico was barely civilized, unlettered, lawless, and poor. Things were not all that swell in 1970.

Today, seventy-six years later (says the CIA Factbook), literacy is at 95%; the economy at $2.2 trillion, 12th  in the world in PPP; median age, 28; population growth rate, 1.12%; mother’s mean age at first birth, 21.3; total fertility, 2.24 children per woman; life expectancy at birth, 76 years.

Mexico today has a large number of universities (the Technológico of Monterrey, a premier engineering school, has some thirty campuses in as many cities: Is that one university or thirty?) Mexico graduates  well over 100,000 engineers a year, including 13,000 in software, and has a rapidly growing high-tech industry  with centers in Guadalajara and Mexico City. Major American firms, to include IBM, Oracle, and Intel, come here to hire them.

And of course there are internet, airlines, computerized everything, and teenagers pecking at smartphones.

This is a lot of change in less than a man’s lifetime. Those hostile to Latin Americans do not want to know this, and usually manage not to.

In many ways Mexico remains a mess, mostly because of organized crime and corruption. Distribution of wealth is badly unequal, being now what the US is becoming. Books could be written about what is wrong with the country. Finland it isn’t. But neither is ti remotely a “Third-World hell hole” despite the squalling of such authorities as Ann Coulter, Manhattan’s premier she-ass.

It would be a good idea to retire the phrase, “Third World.”  Any designation that includes both Buenos Aires and Haiti (I have spent time in the slums of Cite Soleil with the US Army) is so broad as to be without meaning. In 1930, China, Mexico, Thailand and so on could reasonably have been called hellholes. None of these even comes close today. The slums of India do, as does much of Africa, yes.

To grasp the degree of educational advance between the Mexico as it was as  of 1940 and today, look at what is visible on the ground:

Go into an ordinary bank, with which Mexico is littered. The clerks have to understand exchange rates, intermediate banks, SWIFT codes. They sit at computers, which are networked within the bank and with national headquarters, requiring network engineers and software weenies. Multitudinous ATMs require network people and maintainers. Telmex, the quite good telephone monopoly, needs people to program and maintain  switches and associated software. So do TelCel and ATT, cell-phone providers. Airlines need pilots and trainers of pilots, people to run and maintain high-bypass turbofans and avionics, the instrument-landing systems (ILS). The internet needs software people, router techs, help-line techs when someone’s modem fails (the techs are good). Also doctors and dentists, universities to train them, people who understand and maintain MRI gear, the usual elaborate diagnostic instrumentation, mechanics to run the diagnostic computers at car dealerships and understand what lurks under the hoods of today’s cars (which would baffle Stephen Hawking). And so on at great length. Similar observations could be made of many Latin American and Asian countries. Mexico managed this, starting from roughly zero a few decades ago.

Anyone who actually lives here can see that the country continues to change at a high rate. The middle class grows. Internet speeds keep going up. Despite the ardent hopes of many web sites of the Loon Right, you do not come down with exotic diseases, or any diseases, by eating in restaurants. Schooling increases. Common is a mother, age forty with ten siblings, who has two children, both in university or tech schools. None of this is universal, but increasingly common. This in not up there with, say, a manned landing on Mars, but it is hardly consistent with stone-age hell-holedom.

What Mexican are not, yet anyway, is driven in the sense that Americans often are. Young Mexican engineers are more so , but not the general population. A Mexican girl–to use an example I know–will go to dental school and then stay in her home town, however small, marry, fix teeth, and raise children. Mexicans seem less entrepreneurial than Americans. They tend to regard a job as a way of supporting a family instead of the other way around.

There is considerable social mobility, at least around the cities. Women start businesses here, often restaurants , stores, bars, or maybe assisted-care homes in regions favored by retired Americans (e.g., Lakeside Care, down the street), but seem content with enough. “Enough” means something to them that it often does not to Americans. Whether this is good or bad can be debated. It makes for contentedness but not commercial empires.

How will the new Mexican -American population adapt to the United States? I don’t know. Neither does anyone else, though many who know nothing about it have firm opinions. Will the government turn them into a sprawling class of welfare dependents? Doubtless if it can. Will furiously hostile anti-immigrant lobbies make them into internal enemies? They want to, and it would be the end of the US.

Or will they clamber, rapidly or otherwise, into the middle class and cease to be of much interest? The latter, I think. An intelligent policy would be to encourage them, but we can do it anyway. They are pretty good people, not given to terrorism or mutilating their daughters or the knockout game,  and they burn a minimum of cities. Everywhere I have been–LA, San Fran, DC, Huston, San Antonio, Pilsen and Berwyn in Chicago–they have seemed to be settling peacefully in. They have the potential to make it. We had better hope they get there.

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Kidporn, and a Suggestion: For Which I Will Probably Be Lynched

The other night we watched a documenatary ,The Dark Net ,on Netflix on child pornography. Dim as I am, I  didn’t realize that there was such a huge amount of it, mostly on the Darknet. This refers to transmission of material by layered encryption and quickly becomes technical: TOR, asymmetric encryption, IP packets, session keys, and so on. The upshot is that a staggering swamp of kid porn is out there, and it is almost impossible to eliminate.

The stuff is nasty. Children of eight or nine, mostly girls, forced to do naked live-cam chat with strange men on other continents, to engage in all the sexual behavior you can think of. No equipment is needed beyond a laptop and a webcam. In interviews, pedophiles say that they know it is wrong, but cannot keep themselves from consuming the stuff. Whether you buy this or not, they obviously will watch  when they know there is no danger of being caught. Which means that children will continue being forced to make it.

It tends to come from poor countries where children are easily exploited. In the bush world, corruption, official inattention, and lack of resources mean that nothing much will be done, no matter the level of Western indignation.

And it becomes morally tricky. What to do if you catch those making child porn? Simply drowning them, despite its appeal, doesn’t always work. Lawyers,  trials, appeals, delays, bribes. According to the documentary, in poor countries like the Philippines, the child’s parents are often the ones putting the kid in front of the camera, and they do it because the family has to eat. However one might regard this, putting mommy and daddy in slam doesn’t do much for the kid and, since in much of the world there are many hungry families, the jailed would just be replaced by others.

So what to do?

A supply-side solution seems impossible in the face of  an untraceable Dark Web containing lots of kid porn from many poor countries that can’t or won’t do much about it. That leaves demand side.

Some law-enforcement outfit came up with a convincing digital child, a brown little girl  Philippine or Thai. She moved and talked realistically   on a bogus porn site used as bait for pedophiles. If memory serves she got something like 25,000 responses in a day or two. In a big world, there are a lot of pedophiles. Pretty clearly, that many  are not going to be prosecuted, especially since their identities and locations cannot be determined.

Now what?

An interesting question. If the objection to child pornagraphy is that it involves abuse of children, why should it be illegal to look at a digital, nonexistent child? Who is harmed?

If on the other hand the intention is to prevent viewing by the public of things many find abhorrent, would this not also justify banning, say, movies in which nonexistent people are shot, garroted, blown up, and tortured? In which evil-doers engage in terrorism, in the bombing of city streets? 

The argument will be maide that kid porn encourages  the molestation of genuine children. Does it? Or does it allow those with pedophile inclinations to satisfy their urges through fantasy? This is the crucial question.

The answer is not obvious. When a captured molester is found to have pedophilic pornography in his home, a causal link is often assumed.  But of course a pedophile would be likely to own such material. This hardly establishes that he was made a pedophile by its possession. Adolescent boys of my generation once read Playboy. Did the magazine cause our interest in girls, or did we get the magazine because we were already interested?

It may be that legal kid porn would absorb molestational energies and thus protect real children. Might it be worth while to find out?

We swim today in sexually uncharted waters. One may read of virtual-reality goggles that provide increasingly realistic sexual video. On this I am  no authority but clearly this can provide  an intriguing variety of partners of every color, shape, race,  body style, and age (how do you check the age of a digital girl?) as well as personality and kink. Streaming concubines, digital Turkish harems, Asian fleshpots on demand, magically compliant and available to boys of fifteen and oldsters of ninety. This may have a future.

And of course a great many more women that will admit it go to porn sites on the web.  

The complaint is .made that men sometimes become so used to the variety and accessibility of such cyberseraglios that that they lose interest in real women. This is usually presented as symptomatic of some psychic inadequacy, but is it?

Dating is expensive in both time and money, involves serial break-ups and relationship talk. Careerists may not have time for dating. It can lead to marriage that,  in an age of feminism and feminist judges, is not a bright idea. As men ask each other, Do you want to eat at the same restaurant every day?

(Parenthetically, there seems to be a substantial desire among men to circumvent the monopoly economy in sex now held, falteringly, by real women. Brothels report that growing numbers of men pop for sex robots, which improve rapidly. I think this is nuts, but I am just me. You can download different personalities. Realistic sex dolls enjoy brisk sales, or so I read.)

If digiporn causes at least some heterosexual men to avoid the disadvantages of the real thing, might not digital kid porn have an identical effect  on pedophiles?

The question is worth asking. The costs to men of dating real women are relatively minor (unless they marry in which case child support, divorce, and so on can be burdensome). For the pedophile the costs of being caught are serious: many years in prison, loss of job, being put on watch lists. If penalties for possession of porn involving real children were extremely severe, and realistic digiporn both legal and available, the market for the real stuff might dry up considerably up. Perhaps a pedophile cannot control his interests, but he can control how he satisfies them.

And yet whether the approach would work probably doesn’t matter. Legalizing kid porn is not a winning political platform. Sexual exploitation of children is nauseating, and most people would probably see legalization as pandering to people they would rather throw from helicopters. But leaving things as they are will, well, leave things as they are, with wretchedly bad treatment of a lot of children. Anyone have a better idea?

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Diving Days: No vast political importance

The  Atlantic waters off Snead’s Ferry in North Carolina are shallow, maybe 125 feet to the continental shelf. Several  wrecks lie on the bottom, mostly in advanced stages of disintegration, sunk by U-boats in the early years of the war. I know them well as for years I was a member of Capital Divers, out of DC, of which there is now no trace on the web. We often rented boats and dived the remains.

Cap Divers was a cowboy outfit. The members were engineers, bureaucrats from State, employees of Beltway Bandit operations like CACI, maybe a third women, but all were experienced divers and possessed of what might be called strong personalities. They didn’t follow rules, such as never dive in waves over two feet high. Yo  pays yo money and takes yo chances. But it was a hoot.

With five-foot waves many miles out out sea we would find ourselves going back aboard in bright blue water with the dive ladder on the stern of the boat rising high and then slicing back down like a guillotine. The trick was to wait until it was at its low, grab the highest rung you could, put your fins quickly below, and hold on as the stern rose. When it halter at its highest point, you grabbed a higher run and moved up, to hold on for dear life as it came down.

Sometimes we rented a live-aboard for a week–see below–and there would be uproarious merriment in the bar after chow. The women were hardy types, delicate flowers not being much for night diving on deep canyons. There was not a single infuriated sociology major among them airing her grievances. The guys accepted them completely because they were completely good divers. You could kid around with them. After most of Washington, it was a whole different take on the fair sex.

The leader was Dale Fox, a big former Navy diver who liked practical jokes. Such as: About once a year we rented one of those nice specialized dive boats, as for exam the Belize Aggressor, for a week. On one such trip Dale, a NAUI instructor, gave everybody a PADI Basic temporary card, the kind new divers get before the plastic card arrives. It means your total experience is diving in a swimming pool at a dive shop.

Belize Aggressor. A serviceable substitute for heaven. This may be a later version than the one I knew, which I heard sank. The crew filled tanks with the on-board fast compressor, you jumped in, came back ate, geared up….

As the boat put out to sea the crew checked out everyone’s diving credentials, as required by law. Their faces turned pale green. You could hear their thoughts: “Oh God. These loons don’t remotely belong on an open-ocean dive boat. They’ll drown. Law suits. Poverty. Maybe jail time. Oh god, oh God.” Then they noticed that the piled dive gear had the marks of use since the Crimean War. They were so releaved that they didn’t kill us.

It is a curious fact, or was with Cap Divers, that you get bored near the surface. The fish are pretty but after a couple of days the deep walls and dark water below begin to pull. I  forget where we were but it was one of those below-100 walls probably in the Caribbean, dark, the light purple-blue and below, black for maybe thousands of feet. We were buddied up and in a line, two by two, in the funny privacy of a dive. No sound but sssssssss-wubbawubbawubba of air flowing in and out of your reg, maybe that explosive high-pitched clicking of shrimp that you couldn’t localize because sound travels too  fast under water.

The wall was a nightmare of grey twisted cords, branched growths, cups of barrel sponges, ugly. This because deep water filters out everything but blue light. But where our dive lights hit them they burst into wild reds and oranges and greens, lovely, garish, otherworldly.

And then, I will never forget, three big eagle rays, flying in formation, flapped past us and disappeared into the murk. What they thought we wre, I do not know, but they belonged where they were, and we didn’t, and they had more important things in mind than bubbly intruders.

It was aboard the Aggressor that one year we went to the Blue Hole of Belize, famous among divers. The ocean there was land in geologically remote time, a cave system formed, then caved in leaving the hole, and the entire thing sank beneath the waves. When you dive it you go down and down and down along sheer rock walls until at about 130 until the walls open out into the ancient cave system and you see stalactites that it would take five people to encircle

I went a bit further down in the  murk to look but stopped at 140 because below that on air things get iffy and your dive computer squeaks in alarm and you can get bent. It was strange to see maybe twenty people from inside the DC Beltway ssss-wubbling around  in what may have been the last place short of Alpha Centaurs where they–we–had any business being. I think we all felt it.

The U352, a German submarine, early Forties. These men, or parts of them, are probably still aboard.

The U352 made the mistake in 1942 of being caught by the Coast Guard cutter Icarus, not a good plan if you are a U-boat. She went down with over thirty of her crew aboard. They could have made an easy ascent with scuba gear, but it hadn’t been invented, so they drowned in darkness and lay undisturbed for decades.

The U-352. She crumbles now.

On my first dive on her it was a sunny day and your eyes adjust on the way down so it isn’t as dark as the photos make it seem. The water was clear and blue and the hull was visible from considerably above. The water is  cool at depth and there was no sound but one’s breathing. It was eerey to float slowly down onto the conning tower and sit, three-foot amberjacks circling curiously.

I floated off and exhaled to drift down and lie on my back in the sand and watch my bubbles rising, wobbling, breaking into new bubbles as they expanded in decreasing pressure. If memory serves, my depth gauge said 115 feet. The last time I saw her she was considerably more decayed. Soon she will be gone. Sic transit….

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