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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Batman, converged

DC is determined to go the way of Marvel:
The DC Rebirth made it clear that Batman is a transgender ally, and his main comic books are keeping that support alive. Even now, it’s possible that devoted fans of Batman comics missed Bruce Wayne’s stance on the issue – which was the entire point. The company-wide relaunch brought a Rebirth to Batman’s title series, while he united the rest of the Batman Family in the pages of Detective Comics. That team ended up being led by Batwoman, one of the most visible LGBTQ comic heroes. But it also introduced a new, openly transgender scientist to the DC Universe: Dr. Victoria October.

At the time, we couldn’t help but appreciate that Batman supported Victoria’s transition, mentioned and alluded to in vocabulary that non-LGBTQ readers could completely miss. But those in the community would see the exact message being sent by writers James Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett. In the months since that issue, Detective has kept the conversation going. But as other comic titles and publishers battle the opposing forces of readers calling for diversity and those who claim it’s more marketing spin than progress, Detective is deserving of praise.
I'm not even going to pretend I'm not very pleased to see this. But not, you understand, for the same reasons as DC's media cheerleaders. Let's face it, there are few things comics readers enjoy more than witty banter about preferred pronouns.

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An American Nuremburg?

I wouldn't exactly call them "fears", myself. More like "hopes".
A new Ministry of Defense (MoD) report circulating in the Kremlin today states that based upon signals intelligence (SIGINT/ELINT) accumulated over the past year by Signal Communications Troops (SCT) conducting training missions in the Republic of Cuba—and who’ve been “aided/augmented” by the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) in their findings—General Staff Deputy Defense Minister Tatiana Shevtsova is able to confirm that a level of “high confidence” currently exists that President Donald Trump is preparing to transfer to the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp (located in Cuba) an unknown number of “high level” American citizen detainees in preparation for their trials before a US Military Tribunal—and whose nearest historical counterpart incident of were the 1945-46 Nuremberg Trials held to prosecute German Nazi war criminals—and that likewise, as seen in 1945, is now seeing hundreds of highly trained and specialized US Army Military Police being rushed to Cuba to oversee this process. 
Why does all of this sound vaguely... familiar somehow. Also, if the chans are to be believed, more than a few of these so-called citizen detainees have already been transferred to Guantanamo.

If these reports are to be believed - and it is true that the 850th Military Police Battalion has been deployed to Guantanamo Bay to support Operation Enduring Freedom - then it appears The Storm will be upon us shortly.

Happy New Year indeed!

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NFL Week 17

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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Credit where credit is due

It's always embarrassing when writers who have never worked a single day in their lives at any business that actually makes anything try to opine on matters related to management:
Conservative writer Roger Simon argues that all “remaining Never Trumpers” must apologize for being wrong about the president. He chalks up Trump’s “astoundingly successful” first year to the fact the president is a “quick study.”

But what evidence is there that Trump has actually learned the art of presidential management?

Aside from the mandatory flattery required of Republican elected officials, there’s remarkably little testimony that Trump has involved himself in the process of governing. Tax reform was carried across the finish line by the GOP congressional leadership. Net neutrality was repealed by independent Republicans at the Federal Communications Commission. Foreign policy is a more mixed bag. If the president deserves credit for the defeat of Islamic State, it’s because he let “the generals” do their thing. On the other hand, credit (or blame) for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris accord on climate change certainly goes to him.

In general, it seems to me that Trump’s success (such as it is) is less attributable to sudden mastery of the issues than to staying out of the way of rank-and-file Republican policymakers, activists, and bureaucrats.
What Goldberg fails to recognize is that staying out of the way of competent subordinates is the key to the art of all successful executive management. Donald Trump is the exact opposite of Richard Nixon Lyndon Johnson, who didn't hesitate to get on the phone with a lieutenant in the field in Vietnam in setting a ridiculous new standard for micromanagement in foreign policy.

Micromanagers like LBJ reliably fail for the obvious reason that no one can know everything, master everything, prioritize everything, and be everywhere at once. Only Reagan had similarly developed delegation skills, but he did not choose his subordinates as well as Trump has, and more importantly, Reagan did not hold his subordinates accountable the way Trump does.

None of this should be a surprise. Back in November 2016, I observed, "The God-Emperor is absolutely ruthless when it comes to taking action on underperforming team members. He doesn't care how it looks, he just shuffles the deck and draws."

That's why I expected, and continue to expect, the Trump presidency to be vastly more successful than anyone anticipated. It's why I expect him to easily win re-election in 2020. The great CEOs have always been able to master the delicate balance between staying out of their subordinates' way and stepping in to deal with matters themselves when personal intervention becomes necessary. And lacking business experience as he does, Jonah completely fails to understand Trump's demonstrated mastery of this balance, as he absurdly credits the Republican establishment for Trump's success.
To listen to Trump’s cheerleaders, the biggest obstacle to conservative victories is the party establishment, when in reality it looks more like it’s running the show.
Not only is the GOPe not running the show anymore, it has been largely broken to heel by Trump, as evidenced by the Republican Congress's sudden ability to pass tax reform after repeatedly failing to do anything. The large number of pre-2018 retirements and resignations will further demonstrate that the GOPe is no longer in control, as will the success of Trump-endorsed candidates in the Congressional and Senatorial elections.

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Why THE LAST CLOSET matters

More young women than you would probably believe were heavily influenced by the twisted psyche of Marion Zimmer Bradley.
I still cannot imagine anything more perfectly aligned with my thirteen-year-old sensibilities than Marion Zimmer Bradley’s masterpiece. Bradley opened my eyes to the idea that, when we look at the past, we are only ever seeing a small part of it — and usually, what we are seeing excludes the experiences of women. Encountering the vain, self-serving, diabolical Morgan le Fay transformed into the priestess Morgaine compelled me to question other received narratives in which women are to blame for the failures of men. The Mists of Avalon also gave me a glimpse of spiritual possibilities beyond male-dominated, male-defined religions. In retrospect, I can see that it gave me ways of seeing that helped me find the feminine even within patriarchal systems while studying religion as an undergrad. The impact of this book lingers in my feminism, certainly, but it also influenced my scholarly interest in folklore, and it still informs my personal spirituality.

But my primary reaction to The Mists of Avalon, when I first read it, wasn’t intellectual; it was emotional. Like The Once and Future King, Bradley’s novel follows its protagonist from childhood into old age. I sympathized with the girl Morgaine, and her adolescent experiences hinted at frustrations I was just beginning to feel. The moment when Morgaine and Lancelet are, finally, about to become lovers — and then Gwenhwyfar, blonde and fair and lithe and helpless, stumbles into Avalon… No matter how many times I revisit this scene, it still crushes me. This isn’t a story about the pretty girl, the princess. It’s the story of the smart girl who becomes a powerful woman. Even so, Bradley brings nuance to these characters. She shows us Morgaine doing foolish, selfish things, and she shows us that Gwenhwyfar’s position is an impossible one. Doom hangs over Arthur’s glorious reign, just as fate rules many a legend and fable. There is no happy ending for anyone at Camelot — there never has been — but Bradley shows us real people struggling against their destiny, and she shows us that it’s not just impersonal fortune to blame for their inevitable downfall. Instead, it’s systems of oppression. By the time I left home for a women’s college in 1989, I’d reread The Mists of Avalon several times. I arrived ready to smash the patriarchy.
It's easy to claim that the book is not the author, because that is true. But in cases such as this, it is impossible to separate the theme, and more importantly, the message, of the book from the beliefs of the author. There are those authors who are intellectually ruthless enough to accurately represent beliefs they do not hold, but there are not very many such others and Marion Zimmer Bradley was certainly not one of them.

Her personal ideosyncracies not only informed, they dictated the nature of her works, which amounted to pure feminist propaganda. This is readily apparent in even her earliest writings. You cannot read The Mists of Avalon without realizing that it stems from the bitterness of a plain little dark-haired woman who cannot attract the handsome warriors and hates the tall pretty blonde girls who do. It's essentially a medieval female Revenge of the Nerds. No wonder it was popular in feminist and proto-feminist circles.

And it was popular despite its twisted sexuality and its infamous scene of ritualized child abuse, a scene that its fans still defend as "a description of people who have passed beyond the normal world and into the sacred time of a fertility ritual."

But the abuse of children is no more justifiable in that context than it was at Greyhaven, especially when there is absolutely no anthropological basis for it. And that is why The Last Closet is important, because it exposes the lie behind which so much evil hides itself.

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Redefining normal

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Fake dossier used for FISA warrant

I very much doubt anyone will be surprised by this confirmation, but it is one more piece of the puzzle that will eventually lock up a number of the God-Emperor's enemies:
Everyone suspected the sketchy Steele Dossier was what corrupt FBI and DOJ officials used to get the October 2016 FISA warrant against Trump. FBI and DOJ officials refuse to answer that question publicly.

Despite a hundred different ways congressional investigators have asked the question, and despite numerous on-camera questions to FBI and DOJ officials about the 2016 FISA process, no-one had definitively confirmed the Christopher Steele ‘Russian Dossier’ was the underlying evidence for the 2016 FISA application to gain wiretaps and electronic surveillance upon presidential candidate Donald Trump.   UNTIL NOW.

Senator Lindsey Graham just confirmed the sketchy Steele Dossier was used to get the wiretap and surveillance warrant from the FISA court.

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The collapse of the American nation

Selwyn Duke addresses the way in which the very concept of nation has been erased from American minds:
When hearing about invaders streaming across our border, often with a sense of entitlement, we should be filled with righteous anger motivating us to robustly defend the homeland. We’re not. Or not enough of us are. In fact, a good percentage of the country works against the common good, passionate about the wrong things and acting as traitors would. Too many of the rest are comfortably numb.

This is why invasion has been tolerated (and often encouraged), why we talk about amnesty for people who should be unceremoniously shipped south, and why there isn’t yet funding for a border wall despite a record Republican House majority.

The reason for this, sadly, is that we’re not a nation — properly understood. A nation is an extension of the tribe, which itself is an extension of the family; it’s defined by blood, faith, language and culture. For example, the Sioux Nation wasn’t a “country” or “state”; it was a very large family sharing the aforementioned elements.

This truth was once recognized and emphasized. It was mentioned among the Founding Fathers that we enjoyed the benefit of “consanguinity,” meaning, a relationship based on having the same remote ancestors. This became less of a reality after the waves of 19th-century immigration, yet emphasis was still placed on maintaining nationhood. For example, President Teddy Roosevelt said in 1907 that treating people with “equality” was not a given, but was “predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American.”

He went on to say, “Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all.” Now consider how many people will describe themselves as a/an _________-American or, worse still, will say “I’m _________” (fill in, Polish, Irish, Greek, Italian, etc.). They may not be bad people; they may mean well. But they’re unwittingly strengthening the all-too-prevalent internationalist mentality and are acting contrary to the cause of nationhood.

Nationhood was defended legislatively in 1921 with the Emergency Quota Act and in 1924 with the enactment of the National Origins Act, which used immigration quotas to maintain our country’s demographic balance. This is called “racist” today, even though some Europeans had greater quotas than other Europeans (and they’re the same race), but demographic upheaval is precisely how you destroy a nation. Ask the Tibetans, American Indians or the Ainu in Japan (if you can find any) about that.
It is the conflation of "state" with "nation", combined with the "proposition nation" nonsense that was created to sell "the melting pot" that has resulted in this state. Only aggressive and fairly ruthless nationalism has any chance of saving the American nation now, and the more time that passes, the less likely it becomes.

It's understandable why Americans embraced civic nationalism after the horrors of the Civil War. But that doesn't change the fact that they were wrong to do so, and that it has had consequences that have destroyed the Union far more thoroughly than the Confederacy ever could.

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DC overtakes Marvel

Due to SJW convergence at Marvel:
DC Finally Overtakes SJW Marvel as Top Comic Book Company of 2017

Marvel recently fired its SJW Editor in Chief, and cancelled a slew of SJW titles in what butthurt SJWs are calling an apocalypse, but they're still pumping out already-written-and-drawn SJW comics. It won't be until the 2nd quarter 2018 that we'll start to see if Marvel is still an SJW clownshow.

But as for 2017 -- the damage was done. Looking at the entire year, DC beat Marvel.

Looking at the most-ordered comic books in the North American comic market, DC Entertainment had a particularly strong year, with seven of the top 10 issues of the year being published by the home of Superman, Batman and the Justice League. The numbers illustrate how much the market has changed in the past few years -- in more ways than one.

Comparing this year's most-ordered issues with the top 10 from 2014, the scale of DC's success becomes more apparent; just four years ago, not one DC title made it to the list, with nine titles coming from Marvel alone.
No worries. Brian Bendis has arrived at DC to converge Superman. And if their television shows are any guide, there is no shortage of convergence already metastasizing at DC.

The timing is perfect, as far as I'm concerned. As it happens, we'll be offering more than just Alt-Hero and Wodehouse in the first batch of 24-pagers in February. Some of you may recall this scene from a certain Castalia novel.

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Lethal Gamma rage

It is always a problem when a Gamma delusion bubble intersects with reality:
On Twitter, more than a dozen people who identified themselves as being in the gaming community told The Eagle that a feud between two Call of Duty players sparked one to initiate a “swatting.”

“I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION,” said one gamer on Twitter, who others said made the swatting call. His account was suspended overnight.

According to posts on Twitter, two gamers were arguing when one threatened to target the other with a “swatting.” The person who was the target of the swatting gave the other gamer a false address, which sent police to Finch’s home instead of his own, according to Twitter posts.

Andrew Finch leaves behind two children – ages 2 and 7. He is from Virginia and the family moved to Wichita in the mid-1990s.
I doubt the idiot gamma who swatted the false address given to him by the other gamer has any idea that his ever-so-erudite reliance upon wordplay isn't going to get him off the hook for the man's death, which was a direct consequence of his ridiculous action.

This is the problem with the run-to-mommy generation. They don't even hesitate to appeal to authority over even the smallest, most easily resolved issues.

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EXCERPT: An Equation of Almost Infinite Complexity

Dean was brilliant, handsome, exotic, and accomplished. He had come from the Wharton school of business to do a doctorate in mathematics, something that was continually interrupted by consulting engagements during which some Fortune 500 company would fly him to an office in Texas or Washington DC or Seattle or Silicon Valley and pay him $75,000 for two months while he figured out some problem that, apparently, no one else could figure out for them. When he was not studying or working, he was a good enough trumpet player to substitute in the opera company orchestra (an aunt was on the board) and sometimes played professionally in theater pit orchestras. He was also the love of Thisbe’s short life.

They had surprised each other. He was not interested in art or aesthetics or greatness, he did not seek the love of women. He was only driven to succeed in all he did. She was not interested in a new boyfriend or business or the second-tier musicians who hung about the edges of professional theater. In some ways, the attraction each held for the other was inexplicable. Yet for two years, they carried on a scorching love affair, Thisbe completely under the domination of this egoist. Dean’s friends and relations said, “A music student? He could do better.” But when they met her, they saw that she was alert and intelligent and lovely and admitted that there was nothing not to like if she was Dean’s choice. “She’s young,” they would say, “but so quick. And so charming.” For their part, Thisbe’s friends—musicians, students, bohemians—were fascinated and appalled by Dean. “Is he nothing but a success machine?” they would ask. Then they would meet him. He would turn his handsome sad-eyed intensity on them and listen carefully to everything they said, returning well-considered and interested replies, and they too found nothing to dislike.

With Dean, Thisbe felt she had found the other half of her own soul, someone who could complete her. Her life before him evaporated like a dream forgotten on waking. She had been living with Julius at the time, and she left all her things in his apartment and never went back for them. Even the friends who had warned her of Julius’s mediocrity and infidelity were surprised at how perfectly Thisbe forgot him. “He’s a nice guy,” they would say in defense of Julius, but someone used the word “irrelevant,” and that stuck too.

While everyone likes their friends to be lucky in love, Thisbe and Dean were too much. Their togetherness, their intensity, their indestructible delight in one another was hard to take. “When they invite me, I feel like they don’t really care if I say yes or no,” said Meghan Evans, and everyone knew what she meant. Abby Bruler, younger but sharper, said the same thing more precisely: “It’s as if no one else is in the world but them.” They were destined for marriage, or, if that was too old-fashioned for such an heroic couple, at least for some lifetime arrangement.

But as the first year waned and second waxed, there was a change. Where before the two had been inseparable, each seemingly made more gloriously themselves by the other, signs of a more ordinary love appeared. This was noted with approval. Thisbe and Dean might bicker; or Dean might decide not to cut his business trip short. He would spend an extra night in Seattle to avoid taking a redeye. Instead of two weeks in Bora Bora for Christmas, they stayed home so that Dean could work on his thesis. Thisbe’s friends began receiving phone calls from her again, sometimes even when Dean was in town. “It’s more realistic,” said Meghan Evans.

Because Thisbe’s friends believed that, after an initial peak, the love affair was subsiding into something more solid and steady. They had, they told each other, seen it before. The lovers lose the first overwhelming fascination and their relationship dwindles into something more regular. There was a certain satisfaction in this since no one likes to have their middling infatuations exposed to the unforgiving glare of real love. But in predicting for Thisbe and Dean the stability of an average love, they were all wrong.

Over the next months, everything crumbled away. Dean became distant and aloof with Thisbe. He refused to come out when her friends were going to be present. If he did run into her friends, he was openly contemptuous, calling chubby well-meaning Meghan Evans a “fat pinko parasite” and stylish Abby Bruler a “gold watch socialist” who “wouldn’t know a workingman if he raped her.”

Thisbe’s initial promise as a performance major evaporated, in part because the obsessive focus required for musical glory had transferred to Dean. There should have been no shame in this. As Julius had pointed out years before, practicing six or eight or ten hours a day, as violin majors are apt to do, smacks of an unbalanced mind. But as her friends realized, this was a disappointment to Thisbe, who had hoped for greater things and who, such a short time before, had shown promise of achieving them. It was therefore with a particular shivery thrill that they discovered that Dean, arguably the cause of her disappointment, mocked her in her decline. She fell out of the performance program and graduated with the commonplace cum laude in music education. At a party celebrating the end of Thisbe’s four years, Dean referred to her revised major as “the refuge of the talentless.”

Dean’s comments caused a sensation among her friends, who were delighted to think ill of the man who had aroused their suspicion all along. Their gossip, stifled by the perfect love in their midst, now burned up the phone lines. Dean was a control freak. Dean was an egoist. Dean was bipolar. Dean had deep psychological problems that manifested themselves in a desperate will to succeed and an initial charm, which later turned into bitter resentment against regular people for the normal, well-adjusted lives they led and he never could. Dean was a jerk, a goof, a nut, a screwball.

The breakdown came on a stormy night in June, when Thisbe waited two hours for Dean in a restaurant, leaving numerous messages on his cellular telephone. She gave it up and went home in the rain to shower and weep in front of an old movie on television. Dean called.

“Oh my God, I was so worried. Please don’t ever do that again. Don’t let me not know where you are like that…”

He cut her off. “Please don’t call this number again. My cell phone is for work.”

“I know, I know. It’s just that you hadn’t called and I was so worried…”

“I don’t know what you were worried about. I didn’t come because I don’t want to see you anymore. I would appreciate it if you would stop bothering me.”

She could not speak, for despite the difficulties of the previous months, she had not yet admitted that she was to lose him. His words stunned her. She felt a growing panic, but fought against it. She realized that he would hang up if she did not say something, so she quickly said, “Dean, wait.” She was surprised at her tone, which was commonplace and controlled.

She succeeded, because he did not hang up. He said, “Yes, what is it?” He was impatient.

“Are you having a bad day? I don’t want to put any pressure on you, you know that.” Without thinking, she had adopted the tone of a mother speaking to a peevish child. She was pleased, realizing as she spoke that any other tack—emotional appeals, anger, sarcasm—would have ended the conversation immediately. “I just want what’s best.”

“Hm,” he said in a way he had, thoughtful and amused. She felt her words had made an impression. “You may want what’s best, and then again you may not,” he said. She realized that he was mocking her: she wanted what was best, meaning him. “The fact is that I don’t want you. I would appreciate it if you would stop phoning. In fact, I would appreciate it if you left me alone completely.”

“Dean–” and now she could not stop the emotion pouring into her voice. Though the night before she had told Abby Bruler all about Dean’s recent inattentiveness and even cruelties, she realized that she did not care, that she loved him and wanted him no matter how he behaved. “Oh Dean, I–”

Again the brutal interruption. “Please stop this emotional nonsense. That sort of thing never helps. I have no time for you now.”

“Dean!”

“Nothing about you is of any interest to me. Please respect my wishes and leave me alone. Goodbye.”

“Dean!” she fairly shrieked.

He hung up.

When Meghan Evans heard about Dean’s final break with Thisbe, she said, “That man sold his soul to the devil a long time ago.” As we shall see, gentle reader, she was absolutely right.

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Masterfully subversive

It's fascinating to see that SJWs actually believe Disney is slipping the convergence of Star Wars past anyone:
The new films are again at the vanguard of cultural concerns, but push harder and more subversively than any of the previous films. Above all else, The Last Jedi is about smashing patriarchal white supremacy– smashing it to the ground and starting over– and I am here for it.

While the earlier films were about the need to purify corrupt systems, the new ones are about smashing everything and starting over.

At every turn, the new films are about “letting the past die.” At its most broad and obvious, this means killing off the older generation and handing the narrative to the new. The Force Awakens killed off Han, which was no surprise as Harrison Ford had been badgering them to kill off Han Solo since Empire. Then The Last Jedi turned a hard corner by killing off Luke when everyone expected to lose Leia due to the loss of the great Carrie Fisher. Luke sacrifices himself in one last spectacular moment of force-wielding brilliance in order to save Leia and the Rebellion. This kind of sacrifice is something we’re used to seeing from extraordinary female characters (see every extraordinary woman from Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web to Eleven in Stranger Things). In TLJ, the central white male hero of the original films dies to save an exceptionally diverse, gender-balanced group of people who are, as Poe says, the “spark that will light the fire that will destroy the First Order.” Not “save the galaxy”; not “save the Republic.” This is not about saving something from corruption. It’s about ending the old order and creating something completely new.

As the older generation dies, the older way of doing things dies as well. Luke can’t bring himself to burn down the tree containing the sacred Jedi texts, so Yoda force ghosts in and does it for him, cackling, telling Luke that Rey already has “everything she needs,” then dropping this bit of heartaching profundity: “We are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.” Anyone who has ever been a teacher or a parent understands this most painful and exhilarating of truths, but Yoda says it as the foundational texts of the Jedi order burn (as far as Luke or the audience know at that point). “We are what they grow beyond.” Not just us, but our old ways. Specifically, the old ways of hierarchical privilege.

Luke believes the Jedi order needs to die for this very reason. “The Jedi don’t own the force,” Luke says. The force is in everyone. Leia reflects this as well. “Why are you looking at me? Follow him,” she says, handing leadership to a random pilot who came from nowhere to become central to the Resistance. And although I am the first person to sign up for Team Leia– she was more than worthy of every inch of her power in the Rebellion– the door opened for her because she was part of the royal family of Alderaan. Her mother was the Queen of Naboo. Poe Dameron’s mother was a Rebel pilot. As the Rebels follow Poe, waiting for them on the other side is Rey, whose parentage was the subject of feverish speculation. Certainly she must be someone— she must come from some kind of peerage, pedigree, or privilege to be so special. But she is nobody from nowhere, daughter of unsavory junk traders who sold her for booze and died on Jakku. The force belongs to everyone, not just the pedigreed.

Privilege is handily dismantled wherever we try to create it. Rose Tico is awed by meeting Finn, now a hero of the Resistance, only to have her hero worship dashed when she realizes Finn is trying to escape. Finn comes from nowhere– one of many nameless troopers stolen as small children. Rose, as well, comes from nowhere– daughter of miners who now works as a tech for the Resistance. Some have criticized the Finn/Rose subplot, but thematically, the meaning is critical– these young Rebels are the new generation who will build the new society on the ashes of the old. They’re played by actors of color. Rose is respected by Finn for her expertise and quick thinking as a matter of course, not as a reveal (“Oh look! The pretty girl is actually smart!” or “That competent person took off their helmet and HOLY CRAP IT’S FEMALE”). When she falls for Finn, it’s not the usual trope of Hero Wins Sexy Woman, and was therefore criticized for being “shoehorned in.” Rose wasn’t wearing a low-cut top; we never saw Finn ogling her; we never saw the camera linger over her ass. We were never given the signals “SEE HER AS A SEX OBJECT,” so her love for Finn is “shoehorned in.” But this is the stirrings of the new society. Any idiot can ogle a woman’s ass, but the man who automatically respects a woman’s expertise is well worth falling for. While Leia and Poe are trying to save the Resistance on one front, Finn and Rose represent what they’re trying to save.

The Resistance is impressive in its casual diversity. Women and people of color are valued for their expertise as a matter of course; nowhere does the film congratulate itself on its diversity by making a huge point of highlighting it, demonstrating white male benevolence by the generous inclusion of women and people of color, positing a white male audience nodding along, agreeing that we are so wonderful for allowing our White Male World to donate a very small corner for the Less Fortunate. The Resistance is naturally diverse, and no one even seems to notice. That is masterfully subversive.
The Last Jedi is not masterfully subversive, it is massively converged. Which is the main reason why it has underperformed expectations by 28.7 percent, or to put it in monetary terms, $187 million in two weeks. That is the cost of convergence, and it is only going to rise over time.

The future is brown, and female, and brilliant, and fierce, does not give even one single fuck about the way things used to be.

Well, she's got the fierce, brown, matriarchal society part down, anyhow. What a pity it will lack star travel, as well as indoor plumbing. To call SJWs half-savages is to give them far too much credit. They are not only uncivilized barbarians, they actively hate civilization.

PB found his viewing of the movie to be an awakening of his own:
I wanted to comment on a thought that occurred to me after reading you for some time, but due to my personal situation it is not appropriate for me to comment publicly in the comments section.

After seeing "The Force Awakens" and before regularly reading Vox Popoli, I was simply disgusted and attributed this to stifling feminism and the surreptitious goal to pacify Western white culture into becoming the next Brazil or such.  Today after listening to a podcast about the movie, it struck me that while the host and guest nibbled around the edges of the main character Rei that she was nothing more than a subliminal confirmation for affirmative action.  She has these abilities and powers because she is entitled to them, because they say so. By virtue of being the SJW's victim de jour, or, their favorite pet of the day, her inexplicable mastery of everything "Star Wars" conclusively affirms the narrative for affirmative action.  In this movie it is, perversely, the SJW version of a "Deus ex machina" moment.

Forgive me if this has been obvious to you all along and I've simply managed to overlook or miss it in your blog or in the comments section.  But this was a major epiphany to me and felt that this is as an important point of discussion in unravelling the surreptitious techniques of the left as any.
TFA is a milestone of sorts, because it has introduced the concept of convergence to the general public.

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Convergence kills

The business world is beginning to recognize that more and more corporations have a diversity problem:
Does the world of comic-book superheroes have a diversity problem?

The question matters a lot for investors. Here’s why.

Consumers pay up for good, original content. And comic books come through in spades. They spawn a colorful array of endearing superheroes, followed by profitable movie spinoffs, action figures and collectibles.

Thus superheroes play a significant role in sales trends at Time Warner TWX, +0.26%  and Walt Disney Co. DIS, +0.12% home of DC Comics and Marvel Entertainment, respectively. They also impact sales at Netflix NFLX, +0.64% which has produced two popular series based on comic-book characters, Cinemark CNK, +1.49% Regal Entertainment RGC, +0.04% AMC Entertainment AMC, +5.32% Hasbro HAS, -0.16% and Mattel MAT, -1.79%

So if the new wave of “diverse” superheroes has caused the recent slump in comic-book sales growth, that’s a trend investors need to sit up and notice.

In the past few years, Disney’s Marvel Entertainment has rolled out an Afro-Latino Spider-Man, a Muslim Ms. Marvel, a female Thor, a gay Iceman, a Korean Hulk, an African-American female lead in Iron Man, and a lesbian Latina America Chavez.

Now fans accustomed to more “traditional” characters may have come down with diversity fatigue. And they could be walking away in protest....

Already, the trends don’t look good. Last year, sales growth of comic books, graphic novels and digital offerings cooled off to 5.3% as revenue hit $1.08 billion, says ICv2. That was significantly lower than the 9.9% annual average growth during 2010-2015.

This year could be even worse. ICv2 President Milton Griepp says comic-book store sales fell 10.5% in the first nine months of this year compared with the same time in 2016. He doesn’t yet have hard numbers for digital and regular bookstore sales. But he doubts they will be strong enough to offset the steep decline at comic-book stores, which account for over half of sales.
Convergence represents a problem for some, but tremendous opportunity for others. And as for our foray into comics, we are on track to release at least two 24-pagers in both digital and print format in February, as well as a pair of full-length black-and-white graphic novels.

And the good news is that SJWs always double down, as one perspicacious and hauntingly magnetic observer has noted.
Marvel also pushes back on the theory that diversity hurts sales.... So Marvel is sticking to its guns. “We have had such a great opportunity to create new and interesting characters that are truly representative of the way the world is,” says Sana Amanat, Marvel’s content development director who helped create Kamala Kahn, the popular Muslim Ms. Marvel. “We have made great strides, and we have more to go.”
But the writer has what really promises to be a great idea:

Here’s a suggestion for Cebulski, from the cheap seats. Your company, Marvel, loves to say it reflects the world outside your window. If so, why not step up and launch a series that features alt-right characters battling it out with social justice warriors?  

That would, indeed, be intriguing, would it not? What a brilliant idea!

 

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What "democracy in Europe"?

The Neo-Napoleonists continue to ignore cause and effect:
A surge of populist political parties threatens democracy in Europe, Tony Blair's think tank warns today. A survey by the Institute for Global Change found the share of the vote taken by populist parties from both right and left has almost trebled since 2000. The surge has seen the parties support rising from 8.5 per cent to 24.1 per cent.

Over the same period, it said the number of European countries with populist parties participating in government has doubled from seven to 14 - creating an unprecedented 'populist belt' from the Baltic to the Aegean.

They are strongest in Eastern Europe and current hold power in seven countries - Bosnia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Serbia and Slovakia. Populists are the junior coalition partners in two other countries and the main opposition in three more.

The report said: 'Parties like Poland's Law and Justice party and Hungary's Fidesz tend to emphasise a nationalism based on soil, blood or culture; take a hard line against immigration; and have, especially in Poland and Hungary, quickly started to dismantle key democratic institutions like the free media and an independent judiciary.

'Working largely within the letter of the law, and drawing on widespread popular support, they have destroyed many of the institutions that are needed to safeguard democratic institutions over the long-run.'

In contrast to Eastern Europe, where most populist parties are on the right, those in Southern Europe are predominantly on the left, such as Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain. However, the report said left-wing parties from other parts of the continent - including Labour in Britain - had embraced elements of populism, underlining the impact populist politics was having on the mainstream.

The report's co-author, Yascha Mounk, said: '2016 was the year that populism went prime time, but as our data makes clear: this rise started well before 2016.

'The huge transformation we are seeing in European politics is long term, driven by issues such as economic insecurity; a rebellion against immigration and the notion of a multi-ethnic society; and the ease with which extreme voices can make themselves heard in an age of social media.

'This populist wave has not crested and unless politicians managed to identify and counteract the structural drivers, populism will keep garnering strength in the years to come.'
There is nothing - literally nothing - democratic about the European Union. The entire structure is designed to limit and thwart the national will of the European peoples. Notice that the Neo-Napoleonists defend "democratic institutions" and don't work within the letter of the law as they oppose the actual will of the genuine people who do work within the law.

As for the "structural drivers", external immigration and internal free movement are the two primary ones. Both need to be not only stopped, but reversed.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

FOUR MILLION PAGEVIEWS

The not-at-all-solipsistic John Scalzi is given cause to suspect that blogs are dead:
As I noted in early July, visitorship to Whatever — as in people actually clicking through to the front page of the site — has undergone a collapse this year. I speculated as to why at the link, so if you’re interested in that, check it out there, but the relevant bit now is that I estimated in July I would end up with about 4 million visits to the site in 2017. As of right this minute (6:18 am, 12/28/17), Whatever’s visitorship for the year is: 4,110,902. Right in line with my expectations.

Am I worried? Well, no. One, four million visits in a year to a personal site is still nothing to sneeze at.

I will note that there is a very high correlation between the most visited pieces on the site this year and my linking to it on other social media, most notably Twitter. Twitter and Facebook are also consistently the top non-search-related sites (by far) for referrals to my site. This strongly suggests something I’ve long suspected, which is that Twitter and Facebook have at this point largely consumed and digested the former blogosphere, enough so that at this point, I wonder if I should even call Whatever a “blog” anymore. The name is beginning to get a fusty smell to it.
Sure, that's possible, I suppose. On the other hand, the decline from 8 million pageviews in 2012 to 4 million in 2017 - I'm sure we're all shocked to discover Scalzi is being deceptive again, this time by substituting "visits" for "pageviews" - in addition to the 30,953,348 "visitorship for the year" that VP has as of right this minute tends to suggest that intelligent people who like to read commentary simply aren't all that interested in Whatever anymore. It appears I am far from the only person who once read Whatever back in the day who no longer does so.

But the posturing is informative, as it demonstrates a classic Gamma perspective. You see, the Gamma doesn't mind at all that he's observably in deep decline, so long as the decline is right in line with his expectations.

Secret King wins again!

UPDATE: Scalzi realizes he got caught... again.

John Scalzi@scalzi
TFW someone mewls pathetically and at ridiculous length about a terminology error you made on your site, but he has a point, so you correct the error.

If it was anyone else, I would have assumed it was simply a mistake, but in this case, we're dealing with someone who blatantly lied to both Lightspeed and The New York Times about his site traffic in the past. So, one can't reasonably give him the benefit of the doubt.

That being said, good for him for correcting his error. Let's hope this will lead him to correct his previous "errors".

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Even being a woman in tech won't help

An actual female programmer discovers that actually being a woman who genuinely works in tech doesn't protect you from Tech SJWs once you violate the Narrative:
To be clear, right from the start: I never actually did anything wrong. I didn’t egregiously violate any codes of conduct. (Quite frankly, even if I had, I have no idea how, why, or when it might have happened, since my “accusers” refuse to tell me.) My only “crime” is being an outspoken, albeit moderate, conservative who doesn’t prescribe to the radical feminist narrative of many women in STEM groups. I’ve questioned some of their talking points and, at times, I’ve vehemently disagreed with some of their views, but I nonetheless support their mission of supporting and advocating for women in technology.

By telling the story of how I got mercilessly smeared and ostracized by the leadership and members of two prominent women in tech groups, Women Who Code and Google’s Women Techmakers, my hope is to encourage other people to speak up and to fight back if they’re the victims of bullying. It’s important to recognize that women can, and do, bully each other, and in the tech industry, it is unfortunately a problem that is all too often ignored and even denied, because other factors like racial bias, sexism, and even sexual harassment are typically blamed for an unfavorable attrition rate of women in tech.
The thing is, it's all nonsense. Very few women actually want to work in tech, and even fewer will want to do so surrounded by foreign H1B Gammas and Omegas imported by the tech giants. But it is a salutary lesson in learning that no one who violates the Narrative is off limits, no matter what victim cards you can play.

If anything, SJWs crack down even harder on women and other victim classes who refuse to accept their victimhood, because no one is more threatening to the SJWs' right to speak on their behalf.

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An interview with Bono

I wish the media would do more significant interviews of this sort with artists, writers, and politicians. It's a bit of a swan song for both interviewer and interviewee, and it actually provides genuine insight into the man, who is more interesting than one would have imagined from his public posturings:
Performers are very insecure people. Gavin Friday, his line to me years and years ago was "Insecurity is your best security for a performer." A performer needs to know what is going on in the room and feel the room, and you don't feel the room if you are normal, if you're whole. If you have any great sense of self, you wouldn't be that vulnerable to either the opinions of others or the love and the applause and the approval of others.

The whole event enriched the album, though – talk about an experience.

But isn't that great? I thought Experience would be more contemplative, and it has got that side, but the heart of the album is the spunk and the punk and the drive of it. There is a sort of youthfulness about it. A lot of the tempos are up. And it has some of the funniest lines, I think. "Dinosaur wonders why he still walks the Earth." I mean, I started that line about myself.

Being a dinosaur?

Yeah, of course, but then I started to think about it in terms of what is going on around the world. And I thought, "Gosh, democracy, the thing that I have grown up with all my life . . . that's what's really facing an extinction event."

In an interview that you and I did in 2005, you said this: "Our definition of art is breaking open the breastbone, for sure. Just open-heart surgery. I wish there were an easier way, but people want blood, and I am one of them."

Life and death and art . . . all of them bloody businesses.

How did your faith get you through all of this?

The person who wrote best about love in the Christian era was Paul of Tarsus, who became Saint Paul. He was a tough fucker. He is a superintellectual guy, but he is fierce and he has, of course, the Damascene experience. He goes off and lives as a tentmaker. He starts to preach, and he writes this ode to love, which everybody knows from his letter to the Corinthians: "Love is patient, love is kind. . . . Love bears all things, love believes all things" – you hear it at a lot of weddings. How do you write these things when you are at your lowest ebb? 'Cause I didn't. I didn't. I didn't deepen myself. I am looking to somebody like Paul, who was in prison and writing these love letters and thinking, "How does that happen? It is amazing."

Now, it doesn't cure him of all, of what he thinks of women or gay people or whatever else, but within his context he has an amazingly transcendent view of love. And I do believe that the darkness is where we learn to see. That is when we see ourselves clearer – when there is no light.

You asked me about my faith. I had a sense of suffocation. I am a singer, and everything I do comes from air. Stamina, it comes from air. And in this process, I felt I was suffocating. That was the most frightening thing that could happen to me because I am in pain. Ask Ali. She said I wouldn't notice if I had a knife sticking out of my back. I would be like, "Huh, what is that?" But this time last year, I felt very alone and very frightened and not able to speak and not able to even explain my fear because I was kind of . . .

When you felt like you were suffocating?

Yeah. But, you know, people have had so much worse to deal with, so that is another reason not to talk about it. You demean all the people who, you know, never made it through that or couldn't get health care!

Do you feel like you lucked out?

Lucked out? I am the fucking luckiest man on Earth. I didn't think that I had a fear of a fast exit. I thought it would be inconvenient 'cause I have a few albums to make and kids to see grow up and this beautiful woman and my friends and all of that. But I was not that guy. And then suddenly you are that guy. And you think, "I don't want to leave here. There's so much more to do." And I'm blessed. Grace and some really clever people got me through, and my faith is strong.

I read the Psalms of David all the time. They are amazing. He is the first bluesman, shouting at God, "Why did this happen to me?" But there's honesty in that too. . . . And, of course, he looked like Elvis. If you look at Michelangelo's sculpture, don't you think David looks like Elvis?
Never forget that you can always learn from those who are intelligent and successful, even when you disagree with them. In fact, you can often learn more important things from those with whom you disagree, simply because their perspective is so fundamentally different than your own.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

No worries, they've got immigrants

Surely they will be more than up to the burden of shouldering the tax load:
According to the Daily Caller, three states, in particular, saw a massive departure of Americans to the tune of 450,000, taking their wallets with them as they fled. This is leading to the problem of having no one around to pay the bills in these tax-heavy states.

The Daily Caller reported that taking the lead is New York:

The exodus of residents was most pronounced in New York, which saw about 190,000 people leave the state between July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released last week.

New York’s domestic out-migration during that time period was about the same as it was in the same time 2015 and 2016. Since 2010, the state’s outflow of just over 1 million residents has exceeded that of every other state, both in absolute terms and as a share of population, according to the free-market think tank Empire Center.

Despite the number of people leaving New York, the population did grow due to high immigration from other parts of the world, and a higher birth rate.

California is yet another deep blue state that found itself watching Americans take their money with them as they left:

California was the third deep blue state to experience significant domestic out-migration between July 2016 and July 2017, and it couldn’t blame the outflow on retirees searching for a more agreeable climate. About 138,000 residents left the state during that time period, second only to New York.

But like New York, California’s population only grew due to a heavy flow of international migration to the state:

However, because California was the top receiving state for international migrants, its net migration was actually 27,000. Add to that number a “natural increase” of 214,000 people, and California’s population grew by about just over 240,000, according to the Census Bureau.

Both New York and California’s population growth may or may not help them. The tax status of the immigrants replacing the taxpayers that flee the states may range from completely legitimate, to non-tax paying status depending on the immigrants’ level of income or legality. According to CNN, most new immigrants into the country work lower paying jobs, and with those workers paying little to no taxes, the burden on the high-tax deep blue states could get even worse.
It's amusing how people suddenly start talking very differently about the tax-paying abilities of immigrants when they realize that the state's tax revenue is actually going to depend on them.

The problem is that these so-called "blue state" idiots are going to vote for exactly the same thing they're fleeing now. No state should have ever allowed its new residents to vote on state and local matters for at least two generations, and preferably three.

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Beyond improbable

So, as you may recall, the Christmas adverts in the UK were suspiciously interethnic this year. Six of the major retailers, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Debenham's, Sainesbury and Tesco, all just happened to feature interethnic couples who, despite the fairly complex web of interethnic relations tracked by Her Majesty's Government, all just happened to be of the black man-white woman variety.

Now, I am fully accustomed to the usual excuse-mongering about how interethnicity simply reflects modern society and how anyone who finds this to be suspicious, unlikely, improbable, or indeed, anything less than inspiring is a dirty, double-dyed racist who is unfit to live in any civilized society. Nevertheless, I thought that I would run the numbers to see just how likely it would be for six major commercials to just happen to feature that particular interethnic combination.

There are nine recognized interethnic combinations that are capable of describing the full range of couples shown in the commercials. They are:
  • White and Black Caribbean with White British
  • White and Black Caribbean with Other White
  • White and Black African with White British
  • White and Black African with Other White
  •  African with White British
  • African with Other White
  • Caribbean with White British
  • Caribbean with White Other
  • Other Black with White British
The grand total of individuals on the right column involved in such relationships in the United Kingdom is 156,000. Since the statistics are not divided by sex, but the actors in the commercials are, we must divide that number by two; observe we're keeping the number of sexes to two rather than, say, 37, in order to keep this reasonably simple. That gives us 78,000.

However, the total number of UK individuals involved in relationships is 25,555,555. Dividing 78k by 25.6M gives us 0.3 percent. So, there is a one in 327 chance that such a BM/WW couple would randomly appear in an advert. However, we are dealing with not one, not two, but SIX commercials.

Multiplied out, my calculator does not display that many zeroes, but to put it another way, there is a one in 1,237,350,745,449,354 chance that these particular adverts just happened to reflect reality. That is one in 1.2 quadrillion.

Which is the mathematical way of saying, "why yes, that is indeed SJW convergence I espy."

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The US model is not inevitable

The Chinese model is looking increasingly desirable to third parties as the USA disappears beneath a tide of debt, immigration, and moral degradation:
Anthony Kpandu took a delegation from his party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), to China last year to train with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Kpandu is in charge of special working groups at the general secretariat for the SPLM, the liberation movement turned government party that helped South Sudan gain independence from Sudan in 2011. Wearing a button that says, “I love SPLM,” a paisley tie, and a loose tan jacket, he reminisces about his trip to China in detail, down to every day’s itinerary.

They visited the Central Party school in Beijing, toured industrial zones, drank various types of green tea, and walked part of the Great Wall. Kpandu’s favorite part was Shanghai, with its glittery commercial district, Pudong, high-speed Maglev train, and sprawling airport. “It was magnificent. You can’t believe it, but it’s there. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he says from his office in Juba.

In the 1970s, China actively tried to export its communist revolution to Africa, one of Beijing’s few diplomatic engagements at the time. Now, Beijing is promoting a more subtle movement: support for China and and its model of development. Instead of relying on Chinese emissaries in African countries, Beijing is bringing thousands of African leaders, bureaucrats, students, and business people to China.

It’s a campaign that achieves several goals at once. The trips help solidify political and business ties between China and its partners on the continent. Like other development partners, China gets to help build capacity in African countries. Most importantly these exchanges cultivate partners on the continent who are more likely to be sympathetic to China and its way of doing things.

China has been hosting these trainings and exchanges in Africa since as far back as the 1950s when it first established diplomatic ties with Egypt. Over the past decade, the trainings have grown in both volume and profile. Kenya’s Jubilee party, created before the country’s contentious election this year, received trainings from the Chinese Communist Party in China. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front also takes inspiration from the the CCP while South Africa’s African National Congress regularly attends workshops in China and has modeled some of its party trainings on the CCP.

China is particularly interested in the next generation of African elites. Last year, Beijing announced it would invite 1,000 young African politicians for trainings in China, after hosting more than 200 between 2011 and 2015. Thousands of African students are pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in China on scholarship programs funded by Beijing. As of this year, more Anglophone African students study in China than the United States or the United Kingdom, their traditional destinations of choice.
I have to admit, if I was a young African nationalist looking for a successful model to imitate, it certainly wouldn't be either the EU or the USA. Like most empires in decline, Americans don't understand that they are already living in a polity that is well past its peak. They will be lucky if they manage to salvage an American rump state out of it before the 21st century ends.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Imagine that

Elite media figure commits suicide:
The heir to the Washington Post fortune, William W. Graham, committed suicide last week, echoing his publisher father's death in 1963. Graham, a 69-year-old lawyer, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound last Wednesday, according to an obituary published in the Post. 
Are the hunters closing in? This reminds me of something I wrote back in February:

Anyhow, those who complain that Pizzagate has led to nothing concrete simply haven't been paying attention. Over one thousand pedophiles have been arrested around the world since November, and you can be certain that most of them are singing like canaries. We'll know the next stage has begun when the media begins reporting a sudden epidemic of suicides among Congressional staffers. 

Or the media and corporate elite. Of course, it could be that Mr. Graham was simply suffering from a terminal illness or depression, but after the mysterious deaths of the rich Canadian couple last week, well, we have been told there are no coincidences. And for a whole lot of nothing, there are certainly no shortage of Democratic politicians who are deeply concerned about the God-Emperor's recent actions.
I am concerned that the president of the United States is systematically trying to shut down every possible branch of government but the presidency. So you got him attacking the judiciary, you have him attacking the CIA, you have him attacking the Department of Justice, the FBI. I mean this is the conduct of someone who could become a tyrant if we don’t step in and speak out against him.
But if we go only by the mainstream news reports, President Trump hasn't really done anything at all. So what are they complaining about?

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The sex criminals of Seattle

High-level employees at Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are busted for prostitution- and sex trafficking-related crimes:
Several Seattle employees of both Google and Amazon were busted after using their corporate accounts to send emails to local brothels and pimps looking to purchase services from sex workers trafficked from Asia, according to emails obtained by Newsweek.

"[E]mails obtained by Newsweek reveal another sordid corner of the tech sector’s treatment of women: a horny nest of prostitution “hobbyists” at tech giants Microsoft, Amazon and other firms in Seattle’s high tech alley."

Many of the emails were swept up in a 2015 sting operation which targeted online chat rooms and message boards in which customers rate sex workers - resulting in the arrest of 18 of these "prostitution hobbyists," including several high level Amazon and Microsoft directors - two of which are currently scheduled for trial in March.

Seattle brothels had been catering to Microsoft employees through several "backpage.com" ads located nearby the company's Redmond, WA headquarters, in what is becoming a booming business.
No names were mentioned. What do you want to bet that most of them are reflective of New/Not American heritage?

Of course, you have to wonder what the poor employees of these SJW-converged companies are supposed to do. They certainly don't dare express any interest in their female colleagues or they'll be denounced and disemployed.

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The Christmas wines

I know the oenophiles here enjoy the occasional recommendation even though we stick to the affordable, so allow me to recommend the following wines, both from Torres in Catalunya:
  • White: Habitat Vino Ecologico 
  • Red: Celeste Crianza
We went with the usual proseccos from Treviso and cavas from Freixenet, so nothing unusual there. The Celeste is a particularly good wine from Ribera del Duero.

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The five stages of corporate convergence

An excerpt from my most recent little project. Hey, sometimes you have to go where the inspiration takes you.

Convergence describes the degree to which an organization prioritizes social justice. There are five stages of corporate convergence:
  1. Infiltrated. The corporation has been entered by people devoted to social justice, but they do not have any significant influence or authority within the company. Employees are hired, fired, and promoted on the basis of either merit or connections. The marketing tends to reflect the company's products and services.
  2. Lightly Converged. The social justice infiltrators have begun to move into their preferred areas, such as Human Resources and Marketing, but they don't have any real influence over the corporation's policies or corporate strategies. The company starts to make occasional noises about "outreach" and "diversity", but doesn't actually change its employment practices. The marketing is still mostly about the company's products, but now features improbably diverse scenarios.
  3. Moderately Converged. Social justice advocates now control Human Resources, which is used as a corporate high ground to exert influence over other departments as well as the executive team. The corporate marketing begins to devote more attention to signaling corporate virtue than selling its products. Managers are encouraged to hire diverse candidates and to stop holding low-performance employees accountable. HR begins holding mandatory awareness sessions and hiring diversity consultants. The corporation's customer service begins to go downhill.
  4. Heavily Converged. Social justice advocates now control the corporate high ground and the strategic centers. Significant elements of the executive team and the board are devoted to social justice, often in a very public manner. Implicit hiring quotas are imposed and it becomes almost impossible to fire anyone for anything short of murder in the workplace. HR openly dictates corporate policy to employees, often without consulting the executives. The marketing materials not only signal corporate virtue, but openly advocate various social justice issues. The corporation shows indifference to its core customer base and begins to obsess over new markets that mostly exist in its imagination.
  5. Fully Converged. The corporation devotes significant resources to social causes that have absolutely nothing to do with its core business activities. Human Resources is transformed into a full Inquisition, imposing its policies without restraint and striking fear into everyone from the Chairman of the Board on down. The CEO regularly mouths social justice platitudes in the place of corporate strategies and the marketing materials are so full of virtue-signaling and social justice advocacy that it becomes difficult to tell from them what the company actually does or sells. The corporation now shows open contempt for its customers.
I could use some help in identifying various corporations at each of these stages. For example, I would consider the NFL and ESPN to be at Stage Four, whereas Marvel Comics is at Stage Five. Apple is in transition from Stage Three to Stage Four; they've historically done a good job of talking the social justice game without actually believing their own BS, but Tim Cook appears to have changed that.

UPDATE: Bruce Charlton adds a few thoughts:
"Managers are encouraged to ... stop holding low-performance employees accountable."

This is correct in terms of accountability for employee performance in what is advertised as the institution's core business activities (products, services or whatever).

But does not seem to capture the whole picture, in the sense that my impression is that increasingly even the slightest degree of complaint, dissent or disobedience often seems to be enough to provoke sanctions from HR (legal sanctions, entrapment/ dirty tricks, and full-on psychological threats and harassment) - even when that employee contributes greatly to the core business.

So, as with most tyrannies, in the modern institution obedience to (the real) authority is the primary virtue, and disobedience the only sanctioned sin.

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Monday, December 25, 2017

Red alert

I am informed that things are expected to get interesting very soon. Just passing the word along.

May the Storm be with you.


UPDATE: Apparently there are a number of planes headed to a very secure location, including an important one from Toronto. Presumably the significance of this is who is on them.

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Auto-deleted or banned?

Regardless of the reason, the Twitter account of Julian Assange has disappeared:
The official Twitter account of controversial Wikileaks founder Julian Assange -- @JulianAssange -- isn't showing up.

Instead, anyone trying to reach it gets this message: Sorry that page doesn't exist.

It wasn't clear whether the account was suspended or deleted by Twitter or Assange himself -- or why or for how long. Twitter wasn't commenting.

The official Wikileaks Twitter account was still live but wasn't mentioning the Assange account.

An account purporting to be an alternative Assange account was claiming Twitter had deleted his official one ahead of a blockbuster story he's preparing to break. There was no confirmation that Assange was authoring that alternative account -- and that account has now been suspended by Twitter.
But did it do so of the account owner's volition or not? That is the question. The one thing that is clear is that Assange's account wasn't perma-suspended like mine. But as to whether it was Twitter or Assange who deleted the account, we can't know until one of them accepts or rejects responsibility. My assumption is that Assange deleted it himself, because Twitter seems to prefer the softer approach of permanent suspensions to outright bans.

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No, Virginia, Jesus was not a refugee


We increasingly hear from the Churchians that Joseph, Mary, and the Baby Jesus were refugees, and therefore we should welcome the invasion and conquest of our nations by millions of "refugees". Even the so-called Pope Francis implies as much
Pope Francis in Christmas Eve remarks likened the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem to the migrations of millions of people today who are forced to leave homelands for a better life, or just for survival, and he expressed hope that no one will feel 'there is no room for them on this Earth'. 
But this is an out-and-out lie, as the Bible quite clearly demonstrates. How can Joseph possibly have been a "refugee" in his own town? To the contrary, he and his little family were returning home, as per the edict of the first Roman emperor. He quite literally had to go back.

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Merry Christmas, everyone

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

- Matthew 1: 18-24

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

He's out

And let's face it, when it comes to original fans of Star Wars, who isn't?
In just 10 days, “The Last Jedi” has brought in $365 million domestically. This is a huge amount of money. It sets some records no doubt.

But “The Force Awakens” took in $540 million in its first 10 days, two years ago. That’s almost $175 million difference. And that’s BIG.

Everyone has a theory. Schools weren’t completely out for Christmas. The wind was coming from the north. Odd days vs. even days.

But now that two weekends have passed, we can state the obvious: they killed off Luke Skywalker. I mean, come on. Happy, peppy Luke became a wizened old man on a mountain with no family, no love, no connections, no friends, no faith. Both he and Han Solo were essentially knocked off by Han and Leia’s son. I mean, WTF? None of it makes sense. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. Plus, Rey isn’t related to anyone, and Kylo mocks her for it. It’s a drag.

Now Mark Hamill is speaking out, saying he took direction from Rian Johnson but knew it was all wrong. He says. maybe it’s a cousin “Jake Skywalker” but certainly not the Luke he knew.

George Lucas must be furious. In two movies they killed off two of his three main characters. And who could have foreseen Carrie Fisher’s real life death? So now Leia will expire in Episode IX. Her son– and Han’s– is irredeemably evil. So that’s it.

This is why I wrote back at the beginning that I am done with “Star Wars.” If you’re from the generation that started with the series in 1977, the death of our heroes is not what we signed up for. So I am out, and I sense from the box office so are a lot of people. Big mistakes were made here.
Convergence kills. Convergence costs corporations VERY BIG money. I am seriously thinking of starting a corporate consultancy to help established companies avoid becoming converged by diagnosing convergence and treating it early.

To put it in perspective, TFA fell 28 percent from $38 million two years ago. TLJ fell 50 percent from $29 million today. So, TLJ is falling nearly twice as fast from a lower peak.

SJW convergence is corporate cancer.

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A Christmas parody

I've seldom been more proud of my progeny. We went to a local church tonight for a Christmas Eve service, but instead of the intellectually formidable young pastor who normally preaches there, it was a woman who apparently serves the church in some administrative capacity officiating.

As you might expect, she promptly began talking about herself, then talked about herself some more, then invited all the children to come forward in order to bask in her proximity. She proceeded to completely ignore the congregants in favor of trying to charm the children, prompting me to observe that women in religious leadership inevitably resort to either a) entertaining the children or b) sacrificing them.

After about half an hour of this performance art, one child commented that the ersatz pastor had yet to mention either God or Jesus Christ. And when she did finally get around to addressing Christmas, it was to tell the story from the perspective of a 12-year-old girl living in Bethlehem. For a moment, I thought I was going to have to physically restrain another child from going full "bullwhips in the Temple" on the woman; we finally left in the middle of her animated monologue about what that first Christmas would have felt like to her younger self had her she been there before any of the kids removed a shoe and winged it at her head. Nor were we the only people who walked out early.

The rest of the family was surprised when we returned home much earlier than expected, but as I pointed out, we would have had a considerably more genuine Christian experience had we simply stayed home and watched A Charlie Brown Christmas again. But for all of that, it was an early Christmas present for me in seeing first-hand how the younger generation is more than ready to go full Deus Vult on the cursed churchians.

And speaking of the unlikely Christmas cartoon classic:
Peanuts creator Charles Schulz was a man of deep faith, and was unwavering in his insistence that the Christmas special featuring his beloved characters also feature the reason for the holiday itself: the birth of Jesus Christ.

Schulz ingeniously developed the script so that Linus’ soliloquy about angels telling the shepherds the good news about the Savior’s birth is central to the plot. There is no way to edit out the Bible verse and still have the story make sense. Tweaks have been made to the special over the years — minor edits to color and sound effects, references to sponsor Coca-Cola removed after the original broadcast — but Jesus always remained.

And so we have this wonderful annual reminder of the true meaning of Christmas, delivered by a child’s voice in an animated cartoon.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men. 

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NFL Week 16

Sorry, I forgot it was Sunday. But Mike Zimmer is still THE KING IN THE NORTH!

Discuss amongst yourselves.

OH MY GOODNESS!
Several NFL teams reportedly believe the Green Bay Packers have violated league rules by re-placing star quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the season-ending injured reserve list without specifying a new injury after the team was eliminated from play-off contention with Atlanta’s win over Tampa Bay on Monday night.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday morning that the unnamed teams believe Rodgers should have to be released and placed on waivers due to the rule, which stipulates that a player must have suffered a new injury that would sideline him at least six weeks to be placed on injured reserve: “If that is not the case, the team is obligated to release the player once he is healthy.”

Schefter said “nobody expects” Rodgers will be released, which is why the teams felt a need to complain about the issue with the league office to begin with.
The rule is clear. Rodgers has to clear waivers. Whatever team has waiver priority should announce their intention to claim him and appeal to the NFL Commissioner for the right to do so.

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Like a prince to the slaughter

It is increasingly evident that Meghan Markle is going to chew up Prince Harry before she spits him out and walks off with millions. She is a female superpredator - there are even fairly reliable rumors that she did an amount of escorting before her big television break - and he clearly has absolutely no idea what he is in for. I find it astonishing that the monarchy is permitting him to marry this woman even though there is almost no chance he'll ever get anywhere near the throne.
Prince Harry will not be taking part in the traditional royal Boxing Day shoot because he doesn't want to upset his fiancee Meghan Markle.

The 33-year-old was just 12 when he took part in his first festive shoot but has pulled out because Miss Markle is a keen animal rights campaigner.

Miss Markle, 36, doesn't like hunting and Prince Harry is said to have shocked gamekeepers at Sandringham after he informed them he won't be there on December 26.

Instead, his brother Prince William, 35, and 69-year-old father Prince Charles, will take part in the shoot. A royal source told The Sun: 'The Boxing Day shoot was always going to be a tricky issue. Meghan is a keen animal rights campaigner and doesn't like hunting in any form. 'Harry loves it and has always been out there on Boxing Day. But if it means breaking with long-standing royal traditions to avoid upsetting her, so be it.
This promises to be the worst ending for an English royal since King Charles I met the headman. And, you may recall, that started with an unwise wedding too. It's just... embarrassing, really.

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The Book of Feasts & Seasons

The animals gathered, one by one, outside the final city of Man, furtive, curious, and afraid.

All was dark. In the west was a blood-red sunset, and in the east a blood-red moonrise of a waning moon. No lamps shined in the towers and minarets, and all the widows of the palaces, mansions, and fanes were empty as the eyes of skulls.

All about the walls of the city were the fields and houses that were empty and still, and all the gates and doors lay open.

Above the fortresses and barracks, black pillars upheld statues of golden eagles, beaks open, unmoving and still. Above the coliseum and circus, where athletes strove and acrobats danced and slaves fought and criminals were fed alive to wild beasts for the diversion of the crowds, and the noise of screams and cries rose up like incense toward heaven, statues of heroes and demigods stood on white pillars, glaring blindly down.

Within other walls were gardens whose trees were naked in the wind, and the silence was broken only by the rustle of the carpet of fallen leaves wallowing along the marble paths and pleasances.
Above the boulevards and paved squares where merchants once bought and sold ivory and incense and purple and gold, or costly fabrics of silks from the east, or ambergris from the seas beyond the Fortunate Isles, and auction houses adorned and painted stood where singing birds and dancing girls were sold to the highest bidder or given to the haughtiest peer. And here were gambling houses where princes and nobles once used gems as counters for cities and walled towns, and the fate of nations might depend upon the turn of a card. And there were pleasure houses where harlots plied their trade, and houses of healing where physicians explained which venereal disease had no cures and arranged for painless suicides, and houses of morticians where disease-raddled bodies were burnt in private, without any ceremony that might attract attention and be bad for business.

And higher on the high hill in the center of the city were the libraries of the learned and the palaces of the emperors adored as gods. But no history was read in the halls of learning and no laws were debated in the halls of power.

Not far outside the city was a mountain that had been cut in two, crown to root, by some great supernatural force. On the slopes of the dark mountain, in a dell overgrown and wild, two dark creatures met, peering cautiously toward the empty city.

A black wolf addressed a black raven sitting in a thorn-bush. “What is the news, eater of carrion? Did you fly over the city and spy out where the corpses are?”

The black raven shrugged indifferently. “I thought it unwise to intrude. What of you, bold corsair against the sheepfolds of men? Man has always feared your kind. Did you not creep into the unwatched and unguarded gates? Surely you were not afraid!”

The wolf was embarrassed and turned away. “Surely I am not a fool,” he growled.

“Who, then, will go into the city?” asked the raven.

“Long ago, Man seduced our cousin the Hound to serve him, and to betray us. The Sons of the Hound are friends of Man, and can pass into the city to discover what has become of Adam’s sons and Enoch’s grandsons. I smell one of my cousins nearby. If Man is truly vanished from the bosom of the Earth, then the old covenant is broken and he and I may speak.”

The raven with a croak and a flutter of wings rose into the air. “Surely Hound will know.”

But it proved not so. When Raven and Wolf came to where Hound and Horse and the slow and solemn Bull were all exchanging whispered eulogies and reminiscences, and put their question to him, the Hound shrugged philosophically. “I cannot tell you what has become of Man, nor what these great lightning-flares and thunders and voices mean. All I can say is that I no longer smell his scent on the air, nor smell the smoke of his bright servant, fire. For the first time since the hour when the prince of the air, Prometheus, taught Cain how to build a sacrificial fire, and taught Tubalcain how to light a forge, there has been the smell of smoke or smokestack somewhere in the world, be it campfire or holocaust or steel mills roaring with glorious flame. Now there is no sign of fire anywhere the rumor of the eight winds carries to me.”

The wolf said, “You are friendly to Man. Go there! If he should still be alive, he will pet and fondle you, and feed you soup bones and slivers of meat.”

The hound shook his shaggy head. “It would be disobedience. I cannot go where Man forbids me go.”

Wolf snarled, “And if he is vanished forever? How long will you obey his NO DOGS ALLOWED signs?”

Hound said, “If my master has gone forever, then will I obey his word forever, and never will I enter the city. The First Hound was the first beast ever to be given a name by Adam, the First Man, and that honor we have never forgotten.”

A sharp laugh came from the bushes nearby. It was Fox, with his bright, cunning eyes and his black fur. “And for your loyalty, yours was the first tribe expelled from Eden with him, O Hound!”

“He needed the company,” said Hound simply.

From THE BOOK OF FEASTS & SEASONS by John C. Wright.

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Conspiracy connection

One thing that has bothered me about the various conspiracy-related events is that they didn't seem to have any connection to what appears to be the most significant foreign policy situation right now, which is North Korea. Then this channer drew a connection between North Korea and the owners of the Deep State.
The Elites control NK. They armed NK with nuclear materials and intended to deploy a private guidance system that would allow NK to strike anywhere in the world.

NK is Fantasy Land. A satanic pedo playground. They are completely isolated and strategically located. The intent was to take over NK and secure their future as a nation and rule the world with the threat of nuclear war.

In exchange for assistance,  they made a deal with SA. Talal was financier of the black projects. In exchange, they sold out America. The intent was to allow both Europe and America to be transferred to Talal and the Muslims extremist.
Now, at first glance, this sounds absurd. How could a backwards, starving country be a playground for the devil clowns? And then I remembered that Dennis Rodman likes to go there. And that according to his Infogalactic page, North Korea "has long been an interest" of Bill Richardson, the former governor and close Clinton associate. And that Bill Clinton himself visited Pyongyang in 2009. As did the recently resigned Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

It still strikes me as hard to believe that North Korea is an Epstein Island writ large with nukes. But it is not entirely impossible, or even unthinkable any longer. And the way events appear to be gradually building towards something sizable suggests that whether there is a direct North Korean connection or not, action in the foreign sphere will be coordinated with action in the domestic sphere.

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

How SF-SJWs celebrate the Happy Holidays

Because, after all, we all know they certainly don't celebrate Christmas. Anyhow, this may be the most SF-SJW headline ever seen at File 770. Or, possibly, anywhere.

Season’s Readings: N.K. Jemisin & Christopher Brown Offer Visions of Unhappy New Years at the KGB Bar

Just wait, it gets even better.

In a special treat, and fighting bronchial problems, she shared the revised version of an unpublished short story, at present entitled “Give Me Cornbread or Give Me Death.”  Continuing the evening’s dystopian theme (where was the season’s merry jollity?), we were shown a future where the powerful inhabitants of Towers dominate, ruling by fear and dependency, and have genetically tweaked frogs (as in the Plague in the Book of Exodus) into drug-sniffing dragons.  Rural black raiders, however, have co-opted the dragons, diverting them from eating dark-skinned people with what sounded like soul food (this is a serious story, she reminded us).

Ladies and gentlemen, your two-time winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel! Let's hope she can make it three straight in 2018!

Still not tired.

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I expect it will be sooner than that

Another Deep Stater is deep-sixed:
Facing Republican attacks, FBI’s deputy director plans to retire early next year

Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s deputy director who has been the target of Republican critics for more than a year, plans to retire in a few months when he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits, according to people familiar with the matter.

McCabe spent hours in Congress this past week, facing questions behind closed doors from members of three committees. Republicans said they were dissatisfied with his answers; Democrats called it a partisan hounding.... McCabe’s role is being examined by the Justice Department’s inspector general, who has said a report on how the Clinton probe was handled should be finished by spring.
I very much doubt McCabe will make it to retirement. The article also mentions that the FBI's top lawyer, James Baker, "has been reassigned."

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Wright on Knight

The illustrious John C. Wright adds to the increasingly incandescent luster of the Castalia House blog with his first regular post there:
It is an eerie thing to reread the half-forgotten stories treasured in one’s youth. For better or worse, the hold haunts never look the same. The worse happens when eyes grown cynical with age will see tinsel and rubbish where once glamor gleamed as fresh and expectant as the sunrise in the Garden of Eden. And, to the contrary, the better happens when one discovers added layers of wonder, or deeper thoughts to savor, than a schoolboy’s brain can hold.

So I decided to read, in their order of publication, the Conan stories of Robert E Howard. I was not a devout fan of Conan in my youth, so some stories I had read before, others were new. But in each case I was surprised, nay, I was shocked, at how much better they were than I recalled.

In this space, time permitting, I hope to review each tale as I read it, starting with Phoenix on the Sword. But before any review talks about what Conan is, let me tell the candid reader what Conan is not.

As with HP Lovecraft’s spooky tales or with the adventure yarns of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the unwary reader often confuses the popularized and simplified versions of iconic characters, Cthulhu or Tarzan, with the character as first he appeared in the pages of a pulp magazine. Tropes now commonplace, endlessly copied, at the time were stark and startling and one-of-a-kind.

The original character who is later taken into a franchise or revised for comic books, film and television, or who is copied or reincarnated by the sincere flattery of lesser talents, is inevitably more raw and real than such dim Xeroxes of Xeroxes. These franchise writers, imitators, and epigones rarely do justice to the tale they copy, some, for whatever reason, do grave injustice.

And, of course, certain writers of modest talent and no memorable accomplishment delight to assume the pen and mantle of the art critics and connoisseur in order to diminish the stature of author they cannot match. They do a deliberate injustice to iconic characters, and further muddy the perception.
Read the whole thing there, and not just because Mr. Wright administers Damon Knight, the John Scalzi of the Silver Age of Science Fiction, a well-deserved posthumous kicking. It is ever so fitting that the SFWA Grand Master award bears that petty little mediocrity's name.

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Genetically inferior

More scientific evidence in support of my original hypothesis that atheism is a form of mental abnormality that results in spiritual insensitivity is accumulating:
Left-handed people are more likely to be atheists, a study has found, as it says belief is passed on genetically.  The study suggests that religious people have fewer genetic mutations and are therefore less likely to be left handed or have conditions such as autism or schizophrenia.

British academic Edward Dutton, a professor at Oulu University, Finland, said that in pre-industrial times religiosity was passed on like other genetic attributes because it was associated with greater stability, mental health and better social behaviour. But modern science means many people who would not previously have survived are making it to adulthood and reproducing - leading to a greater incidence of atheism.

Lack of belief in God is connected to genetic mutations which cause attributes such as left-handedness or autism, the paper argues.
This would also put Bruce Charlton's Mouse Utopia observations into context, as atheism appears to be one aspect of the nihilistic despair that is a consequence of the increased prevalence of genetic inferiority that results from easier circumstances.

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