Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pulling Feminism's Claws


Vox Day once defined feminism as the use of state power by women to force men into a position of social inferiority. We should therefore expect feminism to wane as the global depression reduces the funding of Western governments and hence their power. The process is about to begin in Topeka, KS:

Cash-Strapped Topeka May Stop Prosecuting Domestic Violence

To the average reader, that headline probably conjures an image of an innocent wife repeatedly battered by a thuggish husband but unable to summon the police. To anyone who knows the reality of the American legal system, it also suggests that a treacherous wife won't be able to use VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) to maliciously dispossess her husband of his home and children.

Feminism without the threat of state violence is a cat without claws. To use a different metaphor, the collapse of the government spending bubble (defunding the divorce lawyers and "family" courts) will lead inexorably to the implosion of what The Futurist aptly calls the Misandry Bubble.


Update

Not every man is willing to wait until the cat is declawed. Vox Day cites a recent, terrible instance of an ex-husband who decided to overrule the family court judge.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Surviving Prison in America


MarkyMark at the MGTOW Survival Guide has posted an article by a convict, James D. Anderson, describing present day conditions in America's prisons and explaining how to survive them. It is not pleasant reading, but Anderson states that penitentiary life is not as spectacularly brutal as Hollywood makes it out to be. The convict's objective should be to get out with his dignity and sanity intact:

Dealing With the Unthinkable

The specific context is wrongful conviction on a sex crime charge, but Anderson's advice is broadly applicable to the entire prison experience.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Setting Up Christian Men (and Women) for a Fall


Or, how to teach your daughter to be an entitlement princess while preparing your son to become an alimony/child support serf. Advice like this gets young Christian guys slaughtered in the dating market and the divorce courts. It is a textbook example of the feminism that permeates most churches in America, though I have little doubt that it was written by someone who considers himself/herself a social conservative. My analysis:

The first line (We need to teach our DAUGHTERS) implies female headship, that women should get first consideration and that their desires and needs, not God's Word, must set the moral standard for relations between the sexes. Having laid a bad spiritual foundation, the author proceeds to build upon it a tottering structure of feminist demands and traditionalist humbug. The laughable thing is that the following points are meant to dissuade your daughter from getting herself "pumped and dumped" by a succession of Alpha male players, and motivate her to settle down with a compliant, nice guy, Delta provider.

1. "The difference between a man who flatters her and a man who compliments her."

The daughter is presented with a choice between flattery and compliments. Not only does this stroke her little ego, it leaves her wide open to the real sexual temptation she faces. Women are instinctively attracted to male dominance, not male supplication. She is more likely to chase the bad boy Alpha who ignores or rebuffs her than the sweet Delta who approaches with the proverbial candy and flowers.

2. "A man who spends money on her and a man who invests in her."

Here the budding princess is advised that men owe her money and presents, with the apparent proviso that these are given with what she deems to be the right intent. Again, any Alpha worth his salt can bed a woman without spending a dime on her. The idea that women have to be cunningly flattered (see above) or bribed into fornication is a Victorian myth. Nor does the foolishness stop there. We are sliding into a horrifying global depression where plenty of decent guys - good husband material - will be employed at pitiful wages, if they can find work at all. No one should expect a woman to wed a destitute pauper (women marry primarily for security, after all), but now is the time for parents to tell their daughters to scale down their material expectations, not keep them high.

3. "A man who views her as property and a man who views her properly."

This one is problematic at best. Girls definitely should be taught to avoid men who are jealous and domineering, for that way lies heartache and probably violence too. But in the eyes of feminists, any assertion of male headship is treating a woman as property. Given the feminist context, I believe the latter is the correct reading. Fairly bad advice for keeping a naive girl out of an Alpha's harem, because unless the Alpha is the possessive type, he'll have no problem letting her go. He has others to take her place.

4. "A man who lusts after her and a man who loves her."

Again, problematic at best. This is true if we define lust as the insistence on fornication, i.e., the guy wanting the girl to put out before marriage. This advice, if followed, is utterly wholesome and will definitely keep her off the Alpha carousel. Yet I've spent years in the evangelical subculture, and I've seen time and again how it tends to regard male sexual desire with an equal mixture of suspicion, ridicule, and disgust. Fact is, men marry primarily for regular sex (just as women marry primarily for financial security) and it's flat out ridiculous to present horniness and love as alternatives in that context. Don't believe me? Open your bible and read the Song of Solomon.

Pushing the lust/love false dichotomy might also suggest to women, when they do marry, a rationale for withholding sex from their husbands. After all, isn't he just supposed to "love" her? Lack of marital sex is a common complaint from husbands and ex-husbands in the Internet manosphere. It leads to bitterness, adultery, and divorce.

5. "He is God's gift to women and a man who remembers a woman was God's gift to man."

In other words, arrogant self-centeredness ("I am God's gift to the opposite sex") is impermissible for men but permissible for women. The irony of invoking Eve is so terrible that I cannot find even twisted humor in this. Eve rebelled against God, so it is beyond stupid for Christians to brag about her, as it would be for them to brag about Adam.

Probably the most painful lesson that "nice" Christian men are learning today, through rejection in the dating market and through divorce, is that women don't respect or desire men who put them on pedestals. Advising men to behave this way in dating and marriage isn't just wrong, it is cruel
.

6. "And then teach our sons to be that kind of man."

If you believe points 1-5, don't bother. Your sons will get the exact same feminist indoctrination from the surrounding culture, sans the fraudulent religious trappings.
On the other hand, if you can see the foolishness of these teachings and you really want help your sons, then send them here:

Alpha Game: Breaking the Chains, Winning the Games, and Saving Western Civilization

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Last Refuge of Scoundrels

LewRockwell.com has posted an interview with Doug Casey on Wikileaks.

Excerpt:
The whole idea of "national security" has gotten completely out of control. It has about zero to do with protecting what little is left of America; it's all about protecting, and building, the U.S. government, and the people who participate in it and profit from it. People fail to understand that the USG doesn't represent them, or care about them – or at least not any more than a farmer cares about his milk cows. It's an entity unto itself at this point. It has its own interests, which have only an accidental or coincidental overlap with those of America. Government is by its very nature duplicitous and predatory; it always puts itself first. By cynically paying lip service to traditional values, and whipping up a nationalistic, patriotic fervor, they can get Boobus americanus to go along with almost anything they propose. Just like Boobus north koreansis.

"National security" and "national interests" are nebulous phrases. In practice, they have come to mean the security and interests of the most powerful (and corrupt) factions in our government. So when the crimes and lies of these elites are publicly exposed, they naturally cry treason and demand the murder of those who've blown their cover. It is in this context that Samuel Johnson's famous observation is true: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Using Stored Grains


If you are laying in a store of bulk food for lean times, here is a useful post on SuvivalBlog.com:

Using the Grain You Have Stored

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Monday, November 22, 2010

The End of Retirement

The Greater Depression is forcing elderly Americans out of retirement. From WTSP in St. Petersburg, Florida:
Doug East and his wife, Bonnie, are both 78 years old and they decided together that the time was right to end their retirement and go back to work.

"It's a trying time right now and that's for all people, particularly in the older age," said Doug East, who retired after owning a real estate business for over fifty years.

Bonnie East says that, in this economy, it's all about survival. "Surviving is the most important thing right now, and it's been a real learning curve for us all."

The couple decided to open up the Attic, an antique and consignment shop located in the Gandy Shopping Center, to help make ends meet.

"It took us about three to four months just to get started and it was an immediate success," Doug East said.

The couple retired from the real estate business and had been living on their savings for the past six years, and then they realized their money was slowly running out and they decided to do something to reinvent themselves in this economy.

"Things were getting tight and we said, 'What are we going to do? Wait until we don't have anything left or get out there and supplement the little that we do have and let's build again." [Emphasis added]

The last paragraph neatly sums up the predicament of ordinary people living under a system of central banking, fractional reserves, monetary inflation, and speculative credit bubbles. Their earnings and savings, plundered by design, either vanish or become insufficient for survival.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Time to Boycott the Airlines


National No-fly Zone

We're not traveling by air anymore until the TSA removes the porno scanners and stops the groping.

Update

On second thought, that's not going far enough. We should boycott air travel until the TSA is eliminated.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Surviving the Cold When You Cannot Heat Your Home


We may speak figuratively about the death of the American middle class, but in colder parts of the country death becomes a literal threat when families can no longer afford to heat their homes in winter. For these people, guarding against hypothermia will be a major safety concern.

Here is an article on Hypothermia Prevention. It focuses mainly on outdoor activity but some of it will be applicable to the home as well.

A more specific home survival article: How to Stay Warm At Home Without a Heater.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why Voting in America Accomplishes So Little

As the Tea Party is about to find out, electing new politicians to the imperial legislature does little or nothing to curb the power of the government. Isabel Paterson describes the problem succinctly:

"....political power has a ratchet action; it works only one way, to augment itself. A transfer occurs by which the power cannot be retracted, once it is bestowed. In the lowest illustration of this, a candidate for office may promise the voters that he will reduce taxes, or the number of offices, or the powers of office. But once he is elected, he can use the taxes, the office holders, or the powers to ensure re-election; therefore the motive of the promise is no longer operative. By cutting down expenditure or the number of officeholders or graft, he will certainly create enemies, so the reverse motive, impelling him to evade his promise, is doubled. The voter can only vote the incumbent out; but the next officeholder will come into those augmented powers, and be still harder to get rid of in turn. The difficulty of taking back powers once granted is illustrated in the repeal of the Prohibition Amendment; although it was demanded and carried by overwhelming sentiment of the citizens, the article of repeal contained a proviso which would retain numerous Federal jobs; it was impossible to make a clean sweep of the pernicious usurped power."

Isabel Paterson, The God of the Machine (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1993 ) pp. 163-164

Karl Denninger, who believes the Tea Partiers were easily and quickly co-opted by the Republican Party, advises Americans to stop playing by the establishment's rules and begin massive, continual street protests:

You don't need a leader. You need balls. The proper question is when you will find them? If not now, when?



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Perfect Euphemism


The Fed's inflationary debt monetizing policy is officially called Quantitative Easing. Considering that in King James Bible English the verb "to ease" means to defecate, this is the perfect euphemism for what they are doing to the dollar.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What is More Important Than Physical Survival?


If you're reading this blog, and if you agree with me that the world (or at least a good part of it) is about to experience tremendous hardship and suffering, then you are probably taking measures to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during the turbulent times ahead. Considering the possibility of near-term severe inflation, it's a good idea to gather as much storable food and provisions as possible, now, before prices soar. But recognize that no matter how well supplied and securely situated you might be, that even if you manage to avoid starvation and violence, death will catch up with you one day. Make certain that you are ready for that day (click image below to enlarge) :


Friday, November 5, 2010

An Observant Briton Corrects an Ignoramus

In the comments section of Las Vegas Tunnel People (Daily Mail, November 4), Mark from London responds to a fool who thinks we Americans are being under-taxed:

Quote: "This is what happens when you have low taxes.....".
The US does not have 'low taxes'. It's a myth.
I lived in Florida for many years: $8,000/year property tax. $12,000/yr health insurance. So, the first $20K earned (....AFTER deductions) doesn't even pay for a glass of water. And before anyone states that health insurance is not a tax, you're right. At those rates (and believe me that wasn't the best cover), it's State sanctioned extortion.
While their Federal income tax may be 25-28% for most people, once FICA, State tax, (and local taxes in some instances), annual property tax and the myriad of licenses, fees, levies etc. (all 'taxes' by any other name) is deducted, the rate is anything but low. You should see their phone bills. Some even include a 'war tax' - no kidding.
I think the term is nickle and dimed to death but the 'low tax" illusion still seems to be perpetuated.

And Mark isn't even taking inflation into account, nor the horrendous costs on production and barriers to capital formation imposed by bureaucratic regulations. All that crap is what's driving the insane medical care prices he complains about.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Sign of America's Approaching Imperial Collapse


Britain, evidently recognizing that America's days as a global power are numbered, is entering into a military alliance with her old rival across the Channel:
LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – Britain and France will launch a broad defense partnership on Tuesday that includes setting up a joint force and sharing equipment and nuclear missile research centers, a French government source said.

Treaties to be signed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron at a meeting in London will pave the way for an unprecedented degree of military cooperation between the two neighbors.

Quote of the Day

Comment posted by Nate on the Vox Popoli blog:

"I suggest you all stop worrying about how to fix [America]... and start figuring out how you're going to survive it."



Monday, November 1, 2010

Citizens Are Learning to Protect Themselves


In Detroit, a group calling itself the Detroit 300 is patrolling the streets. These people are so sick of the rampant crime in their neighborhood (including the robbery and rape of a 90 year old woman) that they've dispensed with the "no snitching" code that is common in underclass black communities and are helping police track down suspects. As local governments grow ever more feeble in the collapsing economy, and as the police fade away, I expect groups like this to evolve into outright vigilante squads.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How Widespread is the Fraud?

"Richard" poses an unsettling question (posted 10/28/10 7:03 AM) in the comments section of the Vox Day blog:

We observe here a lack of integrity of most (perhaps all) of the institutions associated with real estate transactions. Our interest in this topic stems from our desire to protect ourselves/our family from the consequences of this dishonesty and maintain that which we earned.

Given the ubiquity of dishonesty observed, it raises another disturbing question that should also be addressed: Is the same thing going on in the securities industry that is went on in the real estate industry. Do the brokerage companies really have the stocks/securities that you 'bought?' I know for a fact that stock brokers really, really, don't like to have to give you physical possession of stock certificates since then it is registered in 'your' name rather than being held in a pool by them.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Deadbeats?

Karl Denninger and Vox Day cheerfully hammer the bankster apologists, whose favorite refrain is that deadbeat borrowers are the real villains in the mortgage fraud scandal. It has come to light that employees at Ameriquest were conning borrowers into signing Adjustable Rate Mortgages when they thought they were signing for fixed rate loans.

Denninger writes:

People wonder why we can't find an original note, complete with the documentation? Why the original loan files "disappeared" - this, in a business, that historically has all been about paper, and which has studiously kept it around?

After all, you can walk into any office supply store in America and down one of the aisles you will find a product called BANKER'S BOXES. With good reason.

This is the part of the lending story that nobody wants to talk about. Wall Street securitized this paper, even though they knew they were securitizing trash. The original documents would prove the frauds - if they were ever produced in court.


And:

....how many of the so-called "deadbeats" are really beaten dead - by a financial system that rooked them and now has committed hundreds of thousands of felony counts of perjury to cover it up.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Another Snack for Moloch?


I have an acquaintance, a sister in Christ, whose 9 year-old son has been tagged "ADD" by the public schools because he has trouble paying attention in class. The bureaucrats want to dope him. Worse, the boy's father agrees with them. The mother is protecting her son, studying with him at night, encouraging him to apply himself to his school work, and always urging him to put his trust in God. Her love and faith have been rewarded with one notable academic success: the boy scored a 100 on his latest history test. I pray that she continues to stand up for him. According to her, nobody else will. But I fear she is wavering, and that she'll eventually consent to the doping if pressure from the school and her family don't let up.

It's no small measure of America's decadence that parents are willing to drug their own children to ensure their submissiveness towards an evil system.

Show Us the Note!

Good news from Kentucky, where another local government is standing up to the banks:

Kenton County, Kentucky, which has the third highest volume of foreclosures in the state, has enacted a general order impacting the filing of all foreclosure complaints in its courts.

Recent foreclosure paperwork errors at several major servicers nationwide prompted the move. Big lenders such as GMAC Mortgage, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase recently imposed suspensions to check their foreclosure case files for mistakes.

Kenton County’s order will have a wide ranging impact on mortgage servicing clients, including timelines relating to the filing of first legal action in Kenton County, with many other counties throughout the Commonwealth expected to follow suit.

The order requires all foreclosure complaints in Kenton County to be accompanied by an affidavit certifying that the plaintiff is the owner and holder of the note and mortgage and identifying the plaintiff as the original holder or an assignee, trustee, or successor in interest of the original holder.

Kenton County foreclosure complaints must also be accompanied by a copy of the note and recorded mortgage with copies of all allonges, endorsements, and assignments necessary to document the chain of title to both the note and the mortgage.

The "paperwork errors" and "mistakes" were deliberate acts of fraud, revealed when banks began foreclosing on houses they didn't legally own.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Great Trifle


In the German language there is an interesting expression, grosse Kleinigkeit, which may be translated as "a great trifle", a thing which is small and yet of tremendous importance. This phrase aptly describes the precious, formative experience of childhood play. Sadly, play is often denied to modern American children by parents who slothfully or ignorantly immerse them in electronic media or grimly enroll them in regimented group activities.

Laura Wood at The Thinking Housewife has devoted several posts to this topic, including a contribution by Lawrence Auster (a social critic of the first water). In Why Do Children Play?, Wood disputes the typical adult view that play is nothing more than a way to fill up empty time:

In truth, a child is more than an adult-in-waiting. Child’s play forms not just the developing person, but the world at large. The child plays because he is seeking to understand and to know. He wants to create something new. When a child plays, he is an actor in the drama of existence. He chooses. He decides. He loves. He thinks. He is free. Child’s play fertilizes all of society. It awakens adults from the slumber of rationality. For children, the spiritual dimension of existence, with both its good and its evil, is always close at hand. Imagination is the apprehension of the unseen. For a child, there is no gulf between the physical and the moral, the visible and the invisible. All reality is one. Things that are just things for us are filled with meaning.

That is why elaborate toys are a mistake for children. Elaborate toys, especially mechanical toys, deaden the imagination. The world as it is elicits a response from a child. He needs the time and freedom to act upon his inner life. Boredom is a natural and necessary part of play, a phase of exhaustion, rest and preparation. Contrived play suppresses a child’s awareness and stupefies him.

Play is not play when it is regimented, when it is enacted in large groups or impersonal settings. In an institutional setting, the playing child is like a seedling in a drumming downpour. His tender shoots are battered. He is over-stimulated, too busy and distracted to hear the barely audible voices of inspiration within. He may age, but he does not grow. He is prepared for lifelong stupefication.

For a child to play well, he must be loved. There is no play without love. To enable play is an exalted task, an awesome responsibility. The adult who supervises and nurtures the playing child, disciplining and loving him, is far more powerful than the world will ever admit. With balls and dolls, blocks and swords, civilization is forged.

"Things that are just things for us [adults] are filled with meaning." Absolutely. I can remember using my boyhood imagination to transform a ballpoint pen into a space rocket, or the backyard lawn into a battlefield for toy soldiers, or the indoor balcony overlooking the family room into a precipice at the edge of a yawning abyss (to be plumbed by a brave action figure lowered into the depths on a string). Nothing this side of heaven will ever match the freedom and fervent creativity of those early years, and without them I would have grown into a duller and shallower man than I am.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Sheriff Stands Up to the Banksters

As America slides towards economic and political disintegration, county sheriffs have the unenviable duty to maintain law while the fragile social order is attacked from above and below - from above by tyrannical Federal officials and their bankster allies, and from below by common criminals. In Illinois, Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart takes a stand against the banksters:

Two of the largest U.S. mortgage servicers have said they will resume home foreclosures, but a big-city sheriff has news for them: he won't enforce their foreclosure evictions.

The sheriff for Cook County, Illinois, which includes the city of Chicago, said on Tuesday he will not enforce foreclosure evictions for Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase and Co. and GMAC Mortgage/Ally Financial until they prove those foreclosures were handled "properly and legally."

Bank of America, the largest U.S. mortgage servicer, and GMAC, on Monday both announced rollbacks from their foreclosure moratoriums.

The announcement by Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart comes after weeks of damaging accusations of shoddy paperwork that may have caused some people to be illegally evicted from their homes.

"I can't possibly be expected to evict people from their homes when the banks themselves can't say for sure everything was done properly," Dart said in the statement.

"I need some kind of assurance that we aren't evicting families based on fraudulent behavior by the banks. Until that happens, I can't in good conscience keep carrying out evictions involving these banks," he added.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lawlessness Begets Lawlessness

Once Americans get it into their heads (and more of them do so every day) that we are ruled by criminals and that property rights have effectively vanished, they will learn to repay crime with crime. Karl Denninger comments on a case in California where foreclosed homeowners have stolen their house back from Conejo Capital Partners, the bank that foreclosed on them:

Why are you surprised? More to the point, why is anyone surprised?

Look, this is what happens when you sit idly by and countenance rampant and outrageous lawbreaking: The people decide they'll do it too!

As for the police telling you that they won't get involved, cry me a river. There's a lady here in Florida who was not in foreclosure, the bank did not have a judgment of possession, and they hired a company to break into her home and change the locks - with her inside. That's breaking and entering anywhere, it's a serious felony, and in Florida at least a homeowner confronted with this is within his rights to shoot the people doing it. Yet when the Sheriff responded he refused to arrest the perpetrators.

It sounds like Conejo ran into the same problem. I'd be sympathetic, but I can't be so long as they do not demand that the same sanction attach to all the illegal bank activities in regard to these repossessions as well.

Of course, Conejo didn't do that.

Two wrongs don't make a right - just more wrongs. But the lesson here isn't that a couple and their kids "re-took" possession and claim their original foreclosure was "illegal." I don't know if it was or wasn't - what I know is that the chain of lawlessness didn't start with them, and it is impossible to condemn their actions standing alone. [Emphases in original]


Vox Day recognizes a grim historical pattern:

It's not a question of the Rule of Law since it is an observable fact that there is no law as such in the United States anymore, there is nothing more than the public pretense of law and the sporadic enforcement of that pretense on parties who do not belong to the government-favored classes. The Rule of Law has been replaced by the much weaker and more delicate Rule of Force.

This is nothing new, as Cicero's letters make it clear that the latter days of the Roman Republic featured a similarly dynamic and amorphous pretense of law. America as you knew it, as you imagined it to be, is no more. It has been gone for some time now and it was laid to rest by the same cancerous forces of greed, lawlessness, and ambition that have brought every other great society in human history to its eventual end.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Carpenter's Calling

Too often this blog is a lament over tyranny. Tonight I would rather quote a beautiful passage from Giovanni Papini's Life of Christ. It may not be true on every point of doctrine, but in essence it speaks the truth about the nature of God's love and redemption towards sinful man:

Jesus [while growing up] did not go to school to the Scribes nor to the Greeks. But He did not lack for teachers. Three teachers He had, greater than all the learned: work, nature and the Book.

It must never be forgotten that Jesus was a working man and the adopted son of a working man: that He was born poor, among people who worked with their hands; before He gave out His gospel He earned his daily bread with the labor of His hands. Those hands which blest the simple-hearted, which cured the lepers, which gave light to the blind, which brought the dead to life, those hands which were pierced with nails upon the cross, were hands which had been bathed with the sweat of labor, hands which had known the numbness of work, hands which were callous with work, hands which had held the tools of work, which had driven nails into wood, the hands of a working man.

Before being a workman of the spirit, Jesus was a man who worked with material things. He was poor before He summoned the poor to His table, to the festival of His Kingdom. He was not born into a wealthy family, into the house of luxury on a bed covered with purple and fine linen. Descendant of kings, He lived in a woodworker's shop: Son of God, He was born in a stable. He did not belong to the caste of the great, to the aristocracy of warriors, to the circles of the rich, to the Sanhedrim of the priests. He was born into the lowest class of the people, the class which has below it only the vagabonds, the beggars, the fugitives, the slaves, the criminals, the prostitutes. When He became no longer a manual worker, He went down lower yet in the eyes of respectable folk, and sought His friends in the miserable huddle which is even below the common people. But until that day when Jesus, before going down into the Inferno of the dead, went down into the Inferno of the living, His position was that of a poor working man and nothing more, in the hierarchy of castes which eternally separates men.

Jesus' trade is one of the four oldest and most sacred of men's occupations. The trades of the peasant, the mason, the smith, the carpenter are, among the manual arts, those most impregnated with the life of man, the most innocent and the most religious. The warrior degenerates into a bandit, the sailor into a pirate, the merchant into an adventurer, but the peasant, the mason, the smith, the carpenter do not betray, cannot betray, do not become corrupt. They handle the most familiar materials, and their task is to transform them visibly into visible, solid, concrete creations, useful to all men. The peasant breaks the clod and takes from it the bread eaten by the saint in his grotto and the murderer in his prison. The mason squares the stone and builds up the house of the poor man, the house of the king, the house of God. The smith heats and fashions the iron to give a sword to the soldier, a plowshare to the peasant, a hammer to the carpenter. The carpenter saws and nails the wood to construct the door which protects the house from the thieves, to make the bed on which thieves and innocent people die.

These plain things, these common, ordinary, useful things, so usual, common and ordinary that they pass disregarded under our eyes used to more complicated marvels, are the simplest creations of man, but more miraculous and essential than any later inventions.

Jesus, the carpenter, lived in His youth in the midst of these things, made them with His hands, and for the first time by means of these things manufactured by Him, entered into communion with the daily life of men, with the most intimate and sacred life, home life. He made the table around which it is so sweet to sit in the evening with one's friends, even if one of them is a traitor; the bed whereon a man draws his first and last breath; the chest where the country wife keeps her poor clothes, her aprons, her handkerchiefs for festivals, and the starched white shirts for great days. He made the kneading trough where the flour is put, and the leaven raises it until it is ready for the oven; and the arm-chair where the old men sit around the fire of an evening to talk of never-returning youth.

Often while the thin, light shavings curled up under the steel of His plane and the sawdust rained down on the ground, Jesus must have thought of the promises of His Father, of the prophecies of old time, of what He was to create, not with boards and rules, but with spirit and truth.

His trade taught Him that to live means to transform dead and useless things into living and useful things: that the meanest material fashioned and shaped can become precious, friendly, useful to men: that the only way to bring salvation is to transform; and that just as a child's crib or a wife's bed can be made out of a log of olive wood, gnarled, knotty and earthy, so the filthy money-changer and the wretched prostitute can be transformed into true citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. *

Caveat: Papini's book contains grave theological errors (e.g., works salvation and, in some passages, a gnostic disdain for matter).

* Giovanni Papini, Life of Christ (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1923), pp. 34-37.

Will the "Internet Kill Switch" Work?

Paul Rosenberg, in The State Versus the Internet, says yes:

We often say that the Internet is decentralized, which is more or less true, but it is not atomized. There are perhaps a few thousand large units called Autonomous Systems (AS) that make-up the Internet, and they relate to each other with Border Gateway Protocols.

BGP is, essentially, a type of "handshake" protocol: I acknowledge you, do you acknowledge me? Who is connected beyond you? The problem with BGP is that it is not verifiable. This isn’t a big problem – as we know, the Internet works just fine nearly every day – but on rare occasion something does go wrong. From a controller’s standpoint, however, BGP is a huge problem, because it cannot be grasped at a single point.

Enter SecureBGP (BGPSEC) Under this scheme, key exchanges between border gateway routers are involved, to verify that the other router is who it says it is. The problem here is that someone will want to be the official key creator and holder… which means the state. And the US government is working very hard to build this. (They already have a domain name version called DNSSec.)

If the key certificate authority for BGPSEC is anything like SSL certificate authorizers, then each layer of key provider will control the keys below it. That means that specific servers or groups of servers can be disconnected from the Internet within minutes. But even if that type of hierarchy is not part of the code, it is close to certain that AS groups will comply with orders, especially if disobedience means they will be shut down entirely. [Emphasis added]

So, yes, the Internet Kill Switch will work, sorry to say.


It seems to me that the Internet is too large and complex for the U.S. Government to control absolutely. Programmers and hackers, unencumbered by bureaucratic restraints, will easily stay ahead of the spooks both on defensive and offensive terms (e.g., encryption and viruses).

And the problem is not merely technical but cultural. Two generations of Americans are now accustomed to a free flow of electronic information. They are habituated to spotting and avoiding censorship - even private censorship for copyright or ideological reasons - wherever it occurs. Block one avenue of knowledge and they actively, almost instinctively, seek or create another avenue, in an independent and decentralized manner. The ruling class, thinking in the old terms of mass culture and mass obedience, doesn't grasp this critical point. Nor does it comprehend the depth and breadth of popular resentment and suspicion it has provoked by years of lying and plundering. Cyber-censorship imposed for the "public good" will be seen exactly for what it is: a power grab by a pack of sanctimonious crooks. The desire to resist and foil it will be almost obsessive. Think of Prohibition, but this time with nearly everyone below the age of 50 a regular heavy drinker.

None of this means that our rulers won't be stupid enough to try. I presume they will hit the "kill switch" before, during, or after the first massacre of street protesters. They will make high profile busts of people engaged in "cyber-terrorism". They will accomplish or attempt still more evil things. But it will not save the system.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Emerging Pockets of Anarchy

From Oregon and California comes news that cash-strapped city and county governments have begun to ignore petty crimes committed against citizens (trespassing, disorderly conduct, even shoplifting). It's the same process that has reached a more advanced stage in Cairo, Illinois: the ebbing of local law enforcement due to a withering economy. If the downward slide continues, we will see large pockets of genuine anarchy emerge in America, where inhabitants will either learn to cooperate for mutual protection or cower in their homes from the barbarians prowling all around.

First Experience with Heirloom Vegetable Seeds

Last year I blogged on the advantage of using heirloom garden seeds instead of hybrids: the second generation of plants will breed true from saved seed, so you won't need to keep buying new hybrid seeds every year. It's equally true that hybrids can more disease-resistant and productive than heirlooms. Experimentation is the only way to find out what works best in your garden.

My first heirloom spring garden wasn't a great success. The bell peppers produced few fruits. The tomatoes yielded a better crop than the peppers did, but still far less than most hybrid tomatoes I've grown. The lettuce and bok choy should have been planted last fall, but the bok choy at least produced plenty of seed for a second try. The sugar snap peas and yardlong beans were stellar performers, and I'm now growing a second generation of beans from saved seed. The Suyo Long cucumbers also did well.

Stagflation on Steroids

During the 1970s recession, economists coined the term stagflation to describe the combination of high unemployment and steep inflation. I was only a boy at the time, unaware of conditions in the job market, but I do remember the skyrocketing prices on the small items I could buy with my allowance. Candy bars, for instance, suddenly doubled in price and shrank in size.

Courtesy of the master class looters, Americans in 2010 are experiencing the early stages of a much more severe stagflation, as reported in The Economic Collapse blog:

American families better get ready to tighten their belts again. There is every indication that we are all going to really start feeling the squeeze in the months ahead. The price of gas is starting to spike again. The price of food is moving north. Health insurance premium increases are being announced coast to coast and a whole slate of tax increases is scheduled to go into effect in 2011. Meanwhile, household incomes are down substantially all over the nation and the U.S. government is indicating that there will not be an increase in Social Security benefits for the upcoming year once again. So if the cost of most of the basic things in our monthly budgets is going up and our incomes are going down what does that mean? It means that average American families are about to be squeezed like nothing we have seen in decades.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

The Economy in Extremis

In his column on Foreclosuregate, Vox Day writes:

The present economic situation is far more dire than is being reported by the media, the official declaration by the NBER's Business Cycle Dating Committee that the recession ended in June 2009 notwithstanding. Consider the way in which commercial bank credit has plunged an unprecedented 13.6 percent since its peak in December 2008; the previous two-year record was the 0.8 percent decline during 1974 and 1975. Since bank credit has historically grown by 8.4 percent each year, this means that the credit supply of the U.S. economy is presently $2.1 trillion below where it would have been if the economy had continued to grow normally in 2009 and 2010.

The recent confirmation that the entire U.S. financial system is presently resting upon a foundation of fraudulent securities backed by defaulting mortgages to which no one holds a valid title is unlikely to materially improve this situation. The problem is that for the last 20 years, under political pressure from the banks, both political parties have colluded in eviscerating the legal system of property rights that economist Hernando de Soto has demonstrated is required for a capitalist system to generate wealth. This short-sighted financial rapine has not only ruined the economy, but may have even managed to permanently damage the wealth-producing infrastructure of American society. [Emphasis added]

Karl Denninger believes that the banks' deliberate subversion of the land title system, which enabled them to package vast numbers of mortgages into fraudulent securities, has:

...massively corrupted the chain of title for perhaps as much as one third to one half of all residential housing units in this country and if not corrected will render these homes unmarketable in the future.

Now we hear that Senate Democrats are holding hearings on a proposal for government seizure of private 401(k) accounts.

The government and financial sectors have degenerated into a mere partnership of looters, turning America into a gargantuan banana republic where productive labor (outside the black market) is virtually a sucker's bet and traditional patriotism - the kind that takes pride in civic institutions - is reduced to a morbid joke.

Update

Vox Day, in a dialogue with Ilana Mercer, explains the essence of Foreclosuregate:

What happened was that the banks wanted to create mortgage-backed securities, but selling the securities legally required transferring the notes and titles as per the land title system. But that would have cost a lot in filing fees and all but eliminated their profits, so they simply ignored the law, created an electronic registry called MERS, and thereby ripped off large financial investors by selling worthless paper. The foreclosure-based fraud about which you have such doubts is merely the cover-up that resulted from the way in which a need to foreclose exposed the initial fraud.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Turning Our Coins Into Play Money


When I lived in Indonesia, where inflation was rampant, the smallest denominations of the rupiah (the national currency) were coins that seemed to be made of plastic. They looked and felt like play money. I was convinced they would float on water until experimentation proved otherwise.

It won't be long before American coins have the same heft.