Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Amazon's next market

I refuse to use any of these smart, voice-activated devices or to have one in my home. It astonishes me that anyone does:
Amazon wants to put a camera and microphone in your bedroom with the UK launch of its latest Echo home device. The camera on the £119.99 ($129) Echo Spot, which doubles up as a 'smart alarm', will probably be facing directly at the user's bed.  The device, which is already available in the US has such sophisticated microphones it can hear people talking from across the room - even if music is playing.

However, there remain privacy concerns over using such a device in the home. Amazon devices have previously activated when they're not wanted meaning this small device could turn into a potential spy.
Five years from now, I'm sure we'll all be shocked when Amazon unveils that it is adding adult channels to all of its streaming services, with a library bigger than all of its rivals combined.


Decline is everywhere

Even the quality of the fake reviews on Amazon is in serious decline these days:
1.0 out of 5 stars
By Seth Rutledge January 15, 2018
This man writes for the Daily Stormer...
You should be ashamed of yourself for agreeing with this neo-nazi garbage.
That's definitely news to me. On the other hand, my column has appeared in both Pravda and The Boston Globe, two well-known organs of the global Neo-Nazi movement.

UPDATE: Assuming this is the same Seth Rutledge, and the other reviews suggest it is, this low-effort fake review appears to represent the first direct attack of the Art-SJWs doing what SJWs always do.

Last night Ethan asked about why SJWs behave the way they do, and I mentioned it was something I'd addressed in SJWs Always Double Down. Here is the relevant passage:
SJWs are creatures of pain. They are in a near-constant state of mild psychological distress, which is why so many of them are in therapy or on various psychotropic medications. This is why they are so sensitive, so fragile, and so prone to angry, incoherent rants for reasons that often seem inexplicable to others. They might well be pitied, were it not for the behavior that their suffering inspires in them.

Now, it may seem bizarre that individuals whose primary objective is to mitigate their emotional pain would make a habit of seeking out conflict, much less generating conflict where none previously existed. But that is because you are a normal, psychologically healthy individual whose normal state is not one of internal distress. It is only through conflict that the SJW can generate the feelings of moral superiority he requires in order to drown out his steady state of emotional pain. This is why the Narrative can never stop mutating and why no solution will ever suffice regardless of how perfectly it complies with SJW demands.

It also explains why SJWs are so relentlessly critical of others. In a paper entitled “Holding People Responsible for Ethical Violations: The Surprising Benefits of Accusing Others”, funded by the Wharton Behavioral Lab, researchers found that people who accuse others of unethical behavior can derive significant benefits from doing so. Compared to normal people who do not make a habit of accusing others of crimethink and other moral failures, accusers are perceived by others to have higher ethical standards. In one study, it was found that the act of making accusations increased trust in the accuser and lowered trust in the target. This is precisely the purpose of the disqualify and discredit routine that SJWs so often utilize. In a second study, it was found that making accusations tends to elevate trust in the accuser by boosting other people’s perceptions of the accuser’s ethical standards. And in a third study, it was found that accusations boosted trust in the accuser, decreased trust in the target, and even more significantly, promoted dissension within the group.

In other words, SJWs transfer their own emotional pain into making themselves feel more positive about themselves while simultaneously elevating their social status at the expense of others and at the cost of group harmony. This is why group after group, organization after organization, find that acceding to the demands of the SJWs in their midst inevitably generates more conflict, not less.
This explains why the moderate response to SJWs invariably fails. You cannot solve the problem of childhood obesity by giving the fat, screaming kid the candy for which he is screaming. All that acceding to SJW demands will accomplish is new and more outrageous SJW demands.

And this is also why it is simply false to claim that we are the "mirror image" of SJWs. We have literally nothing in common with them and it would be more accurate to say we are their polar opposites. Unlike their ever-shifting narratives, our standards do not change. We are psychologically strong and stable. We don't care what others do, so long as they don't interfere with our ability to do as we please.

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Their country?

The demonstration would have been more meaningful in Port-au-Prince:
A sizeable crowd of expatriate Haitians, waving their country’s flag, gathered near the foot of a bridge leading to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, to jeer at Trump as the motorcade returned from the golf club where the president capped his weekend before returning later Monday to Washington.

The Haitians and their supporters shouted, “Our country is not a shithole,” according to video posted by WPEC-TV, and engaged in a shouting match with the pro-Trump demonstrators who typically gather on the other side of the street.
Their country? I thought they were Americans now by virtue of the magic dirt. Interesting to see how "nationality" is now as mutable as the SJW narrative.

And if their country is not a shithole, then why are they in the United States? Why do they complain so vociferously when Americans call for them to be sent back to these wonderful places?


Upon further review

Last night I made two comments that drew an amount of attention. Well, three, actually. Allow me to explain:

First, as a result of Marvel badly misplaying its hand in an attempt to bypass the two major comics distributors and go direct-to-dealer in the late 90s, Diamond managed to establish a near-monopoly over the comics distribution business. Like all monopolies, their customer service has gone downhill as their prices have risen. If you combine their own reports on total retail sales with Hoover's report on their annual revenue, Diamond takes 22 percent of the total retail dollar that goes through the comics stores. That amounts to a 37 percent markup, 17 points and 85 percent more than is normal for a distribution business.

It's good to be the monopolist. The additional markup amounts to $55.8 million annually, or $31,885 in lost profit to each of the 1,750+ brick-and-mortar comics stores in the USA. It's no wonder these stores are struggling or that long-established retail establishments are closing down everywhere from Arizona to Iowa and Sacramento. Diamond isn't evil or even particularly rapacious, they are simply failing to recognize that they have been devouring their own seed corn. The rise of digital delivery systems combined with the shrinking physical channel is going to place Diamond in an increasingly difficult position; I would expect them to buy some of the independent publishers and get into content production themselves as time goes on, since from what I hear they are pretty smart.

Second, we have found it difficult to establish Alpenwolf even though we have completed one DevGame game and have several others in various stages of development because the major free game sites, Addicting Games and Kongregate, have kept changing their strategies in ways that make it difficult to work for them. Since we already built a complete virtual goods and virtual currency infrastructure, there is no reason why we shouldn't simply launch our own free-to-play site. It's going to be very small by gaming standards, and will probably launch with 3-5 games, but at least we'll have a vehicle for getting our games out there to the gamers. From there, its simply a matter of building traffic and that's not a challenge that frightens us. Frankly, it's probably preferable to be able to grow slowly and steadily int his regard. Look for announcements asking for volunteers concerning forum moderation and writing trivia questions for everything from the NFL and NCAA football to comics and television shows in the next few months.

Third, if you think Neil Gaiman is a great novelist, or even a great SF/F novelist, you are simply wrong. He is a successful, talented and much-loved SF/F author, and understandably so, but he is also little more than a very successful stunt writer with two or three tricks in his bag. There is a reason that all of his notable books involve mythology of one sort or another; his true gift is translating ancient myth into a form that pleases postmodern palates. He also has the ability to convey that sense of the numinous that I lack. But Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, Alan Moore, John C. Wright, China Mieville, Nick Cole, and even George R.R. Martin are all better, more original SF/F writers with considerably more to say about the human condition than Gaiman.

When I have thought about the writers whose work I would like to be able to emulate or surpass over the years, Neil Gaiman never once entered into the equation, not even for a moment. Consider that American Gods is described as "Neil Gaiman's best and most ambitious novel yet." I liked that story considerably better when it was called Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul and On the Road. That being said, of the various comics I have read, Sandman is head-and-shoulders above the rest.

As for my own writing, you might contemplate this: How many other authors flow as easily across as broad a range of genres as I do? How many authors have historically done so? Perhaps my inability to focus precludes achieving greatness in any one genre, but I think that sort of unusual breadth at least merits consideration.

UPDATE: this guy has a skeptical, but reasonable perspective on the situation.
To say Arkhaven has been controversial is an understatement. From the moment the company’s flagship title, Alt-Hero, was announced the internet was debating whether a right wing perspective would “save” comics, or further damage an already fractured industry. But as I said before, what’s lacking is a shared notion of what “saving comics” really means. That said, there is a general consensus that Mark Waid’s head on pike would be a good start. Which brings us back to Vox Day and Arkhaven. Most criticism directed toward Vox can be boiled down to: “The last thing comics needs is another goddamn writer with an agenda.”

A self-described libertarian nationalist and member of the Alt-Right, Vox Day has never been shy about his politics. Likewise, his yet to be release Alt-Hero series looks to be something of a satire of today’s overly politicized comics. The project is still months away from completion, so for now we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, Arkhaven has two titles digitally available on Amazon—Quantum Mortis and Right Ho, Jeeves. Both are selling well. Neither are political in nature. And there’s the rub—Alt-Hero could be a political screed. Then again, maybe not. But so far Arkhaven’s catalog hasn’t shown itself to be a mouthpiece for anybody’s politics. If only we could say the same for Marvel.

Does this signal a new dawn for comics? Well, if bringing content to an ignored demographic is Arkhaven’s end goal, it’s not a bad start. And drawing new readers to the medium is a net gain for everyone. But as Green Lantern artist Ethan Van Sciver has been quick to point out, the company currently has no presence in Diamond’s monthly Previews catalog, which is a prerequisite for getting books stocked in comic book stores. And in Sciver’s eyes, if a company isn’t moving product through brick-and-mortar shops, it’s contributing absolutely nothing to the overall health of the industry.

I’ll be blunt, if Arkhaven can eventually become successful enough to provide comics shops with enough monthly product to pay the rent, Vox will not only save the industry, he’ll be the motherfucking Batman.
Better yet, the Shade.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

EVS vs Vox

We're going live at 7 PM... we are live, here is the link.


The Ember War comes to Arkhaven

Richard Fox, the Dragon Award-winning author of the bestselling science fiction series THE EMBER WAR SAGA, has an announcement.
Exciting news! The Ember War will come to a comic store near you! The contract with the comic imprint (either Dark Legion or Arkhaven, publisher's choice) and fellow writer Jon Del Arroz (who'll do the prose to script work) are signed. 
We're excited about this, as we've wanted to work with Richard for some time now. The first series will be five issues that cover the events of the initial book; there are currently 9 books in the series. We'll also have another announcement soon about a collaboration for Castalia House that is definitely going to be of serious interest to fans of a certain science fiction series that has already seen graphic adaptation.

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This week's sign of the apocalypse

Peter King comments on his travels:
Flew from New York to San Francisco the other day with my wife for grandson Freddy’s first birthday. (Yes, it’s been a year.) In front of us in line to board the plane: an older woman pushing a lovely black carriage with some pretty red stones festooning either side. I look around the woman to see into the carriage.

Shih tzu.

What a country.
Exactly. Lesbians raising the product of artificial insemination and women with furry little child-substitutes has not, historically, been a sign of a healthy society.


Plague for profit

All right, so this Blind Item at Crazy Days and Nights sounds way too far-fetched to be true; it's more akin to a SF-horror novel plot than actual news, right?
Apparently The Church is finding it more difficult to bring in children the way they have in the past. That elusive head of the Church has donated tens of millions of dollars to research against diseases, many of which adversely affect third world countries. It was during this process of trying to eradicate a disease that one of the scientists created a pathogen which can kill swiftly and effectively. When the head of The Church heard about it, he agreed to test it on a village in a country that was friendly to bribes. It worked really well. It killed an astonishing number of people which were mainly adults. The children of the adults were 30-40 miles distant at a boarding school. Now, with no parents, they needed to be adopted. The Church, along with more bribes to the government had a great way to get large numbers of children quickly.

With that success, they decided to try it again, but this time, the villagers didn't stay in place as they had before and some traveled to a neighboring village. The next thing you know, it has now started spreading to different countries and killing people faster than they can create cover stories. Look for them to spread the rumor it is an Ebola outbreak to give themselves a chance to destroy the evidence of what they did.

It wouldn't shock me if they come forward with a cure and make hundreds of millions of dollars. That might bring too much publicity for them though. Even they would have tough time watching thousands of people die though wouldn't they?
I mean, lethal artificial diseases that are being tested in third world countries is just crazy conspiracy theory, right? Right?
Fears are growing of a major health crisis in East Africa as a girl died of a suspected fever which could be more deadly than the Black Death. A nine-year-old girl died in central Uganda with the symptoms of an eye-bleeding disease which it is thought could kill up to 40 per cent of those infected by it.

The feared outbreak comes only months after hundreds of people were killed by the plague in Madagascar in what was described as the worst bout for 50 years. The symptoms of the new disease include headaches, bleeding, vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle pains.
This timeline just keeps getting weirder. If the Vikings win the Super Bowl, we'll know all bets are officially off and literally anything can happen.

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Mailvox: the NFL is not pro wrestling

But it is not pure sport for the pure of heart either:

Didn't we agree this was pro wrestling two weeks ago?

No. Pro wrestling is actually scripted. They know who is going to win ahead of time. The NFL, on the other hand, relies upon a "thumb on the scale" approach to gently favor its preferred narrative as well as to protect the betting lines and prevent the blowouts.

Football is too unpredictable, and has too many injuries, to successfully script a game, let alone a playoffs or a season. But you can usually know which team is going to get the marginal calls in the playoffs on a week-to-week basis, such as the Saints in 2009, the Chiefs last weekend, and the Vikings this weekend.

The thumb on the scale only matters if the game is very close. For example there is absolutely NO WAY the league wanted Jacksonville to beat Pittsburgh since the narrative all season was set up for Pittsburgh to seek revenge against New England in the AFC Championship. That's why the league spins multiple narratives, gently supports them all, and hopes one or more of them will play out. They are particularly intent on doing this now in order to try to carve back some of their lost ratings before the Super Bowl.

I expect that the league now favors a Minnesota-New England Super Bowl, as "the first Super Bowl at home" and "the last ride of the GOATs part II". Also because they don't want either New England or Jackonville, both of which have excellent defenses, blowing out an Eagles team starting a backup quarterback. (Of course, if Foles can somehow beat two of the top three defenses in the league this year, he will fully merit a Super Bowl ring.) But even if you suspect you might have the official wind at your back for a change, you still have to make the plays and win the games.

By the way, I'd like to point out that Sean Payton choked on the clock management as well. I watched the end of the game again and the Saints had two unnecessary, but intentional clock stoppages once they got into field goal range. And in defense of rookie safety Marcus Williams, I will note that his mistake was NOT intentionally missing the tackle of Stefon Diggs, but rather, misreading the ball and breaking on Diggs too fast and hard.

I can guarantee you that before the play, the defensive backs were reminding each other "no pass interference!" Williams appeared to think the ball was not going to hang as long as it did and broke on Diggs, then altered his path at the last moment when he realized that he was going to get there early. If he hadn't changed his course, he would have cut out Diggs's legs before the ball arrived.

Was Williams trying to avoid a pass interference penalty?

“I feel like I was a little early [getting to Diggs], but at that point, I’ve just got to make the tackle when he comes down.”

Williams was right. He was early. His mistake was trying to break up the play rather than letting Diggs catch the ball, then tackling him in-bounds to run out the clock. But then, given that his coaches were misplaying the sidelines on offense, it's not a surprise that their rookie safety did too.

I liked this quote from Coach Zim quoting the Hitman.

No one thought we were going to be any good. I know you guys didn't pick us very good going into the year. But we have a bunch of fighters in that locker room, guys that will compete. I said to Harrison Smith yesterday in practice, I said, ‘Are you afraid of these guys?’ He said, ‘I am afraid of everybody. That's why I play good.’ That's how our team is.”

Don't overlook anyone, hit everyone hard, and don't ever quit. That's the Viking philosophy and it's not a bad one for life.


Berkeley riot pedos

Apparently By Any Means Necessary is connected to NAMBLA:
The left-wing activists behind the anti-conservative riots at Berkeley have ties to one of the nation’s most prominent pro-pedophilia organizations.

The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary — more commonly referred to as By Any Means Necessary or BAMN — is one of the militant leftist groups waging a campaign against conservatives and Trump supporters in Berkeley. The group’s planned aggressive demonstrations against conservative commentator Ann Coulter and the students coming to hear her talk led to the cancellation of Coulter’s speech this week due to safety concerns.

BAMN’s parent organization worked directly with the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) in the years just before it founded BAMN, according to NAMBLA documents reviewed by The Daily Caller. In addition, a member of that parent organization said to have founded BAMN is an admitted member of NAMBLA, which she has described as the victim of a “witch-hunt.”
I suppose we should have known by the Star Trek uniforms. In other Berkeley riot-related news, two of the victims of the rioters filed suit in U.S. District Court last week against The Regents Of The University Of California, the President of the University of California, Janet Napolitano, the City of Berkeley and the City of Berkeley Police Department, as well as several named police officers and their two attackers.
This action seeks to protect and vindicate fundamental rights. It is a civil rights action brought under the Fourteenth Amendment against government actors responsible for creating dangerous conditions and exposing the Plaintiffs to physical harm caused by a violent mob of anarchists at a student-sponsored Milo Yiannopolous event (“Yiannopolous event”) scheduled to take place at the University of California, Berkeley (“UC Berkeley” and “University”) on February 1, 2017. Government actors took affirmative measures in preparation for and in response to the riotous mob that left the Plaintiffs in a situation more dangerous than the one in which they found the Plaintiffs.

Government actors are responsible for creating and exposing the Plaintiffs to the unlawful actions of an angry mob of violent anarchists by directing law enforcement officers to vacate locations in and around Sproul Plaza and the MLK Center at UC Berkeley, agitating the mob by issuing feckless disbursal orders and empty threats of arrest from a vantage point where they could ensure their own safety while leaving Plaintiffs exposed to violent assaults, erecting barricades in such a manner as to enable angry malefactors to surround Plaintiffs and assault them and to deprive Plaintiffs of an exit route, failing to enforce the law and by other affirmative actions. By their failure to intervene or employ reasonable tactical methods to ensure the safety of the Plaintiffs and the public, government actors conducted their official duties with deliberate indifference to the Plaintiffs’ safety, permitting hordes of violent rioters to swarm the university campus in a violent rage. By their failure, government actors are thus responsible for creating and exposing Plaintiffs to known and obvious danger.

This action additionally seeks relief from government actors who failed to exercise their duty of care to plan effectively for the foreseeable harms brought upon the Plaintiffs and from the perpetrators of unlawful assaults.

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Sunday, January 14, 2018


I think that is the exact quote from when we realized Stefon Diggs was going to not only be able to stop the clock in field goal range, but go in to score. Also, I'm pleased to discover that I am, apparently, in excellent cardio-vascular shape.

A few thoughts:
  • It's good to have the official NFL Narrative on your side for once.
  • The new stadium is already luckier than the previous two.
  • SKOL!
  • What happened to the pass rush in the second half? Also, what happened to the pass blocking?
  • It is better to be lucky than good.
  • The second pass interference call for 34 yards was actually correct, although it could have been called defensive holding instead. The clip they kept showing was just the very end; Crawley actually held Diggs's jersey for more than five yards to keep Diggs from blowing past him. When Aikman said that Diggs had his hand on Crawley's hand he was right, but he didn't realize that Diggs was trying to remove Crawley's hand from his jersey. Remember, Diggs has the fastest on-field time recorded this season and the Saints were playing a Seahawks clutch-grab-and-pray style in order to stay with the superior Vikings receivers. Note that the Vikings actually declined almost as many penalties committed by the Saints secondary as they accepted.
  • Michael Thomas actually won his battle with Xavier Rhodes. I did not expect that.
  • I love it when Harrison Smith blitzes.
  • Why can't any head coach except Bill Belichick understand that you have to burn the clock down to less than 20 seconds before you kick the field goal that puts you ahead by one or two points? I was going berserk when Pat Shurmur called a pass on second down, and aghast when he called another one on third down.
  • Case Keenum is a good quarterback. To become a really good one, he has to learn to avoid a) throwing the ball in the field of play when avoiding a sack and b) taking a sack on third down when in field goal range. Those two plays gave up 10 points.
  • Coach Zim is a really good coach. To become a great one, he has to learn not to wilt on the high pressure decisions. Not going for it on 4th and goal from the 2 was the first big mistake. Not calling a run on the first drive after the half was the second big mistake. Not burning the clock before kicking the go-ahead field goal was the third big mistake.
  • The punt getting blocked may have saved the game for the Vikes. With five minutes left, it prevented the Saints from being able to burn the clock while marching down the field. 
  • You HAVE to put away a good team when you have the chance. A good team, particularly one with a good quarterback, is ALWAYS going to come back on you. Even great defenses get tired. I would have felt good about going into the half up 20-0 and receiving to start the second half. I knew 17-0 was not enough, especially when they failed to score on the drive to open the second half.


A tale of two reviews

SuperComicFunTime really did not like QUANTUM MORTIS A Man Disrupted #1:

Quantum Mortis: The Actionless Comic
This book is not a good book. It is action-less, motionless, and for the most part, people-less. The book is divided into two chapters. The first chapter is mostly some guy named Tower flying around and talking to his computer until he lands the ship and talks to a green space monkey that spouts gibberish into a translating device.

Then chapter 2 starts and we still don't have our second character for a few more pages. Tower pops a space Tic Tac and we get a pin-up entrance for Hildreth the civilian space detective.

Then both characters are seemingly attacked by word bubbles until their magic space technology identifies the body as an exiled royal from another planet. We get a nice splash page giving the history of the exiled royal's family. Then the book ends.

It's not fun. I didn't learn anything. I don't care what happens next. It's bad. The whole 29 pages should be summarized in a page or two while giving us character development. Don't spend money on this like I did.

On the other hand, Harry liked it a lot.

Great job craftmanship restored
This is a very well done animation of the book .the quantum mortis series is top notch story telling . I read them as fast as I could. The art while having a distinctly retro feel adds to the story without overwhelming it. Knowing what comes next in no way detracts from enjoying the artist's perspective of the story because he is staying true to the heart of it. The illustrations of hildy and tower actually bring out the romantic understory without taking away from the plot. It is great to see craftsmanship restored to graphic novels. Very few English ones approach the Japanese masters. Letting the art add to the story instead of being pictures without purpose. Well done.

To put it in perspective, there is another first issue of a comic where virtually nothing happens, although for 40 pages instead of 28. A guy is in a cage. For decades. Nothing happens except for people actually falling asleep - now there is a fitting metaphor, right? There is no action except for an occult ceremony that doesn't even involve a dead goat or a naked woman until the guy in the cage escapes off-camera, so we still haven't seen anything happen until one of the guys who took part in the ceremony falls asleep and has a dream. The end.

How absolutely horrible, right? How action-less, motion-less, and literally people-less, as the guy in the cage was not a normal human being. Clearly no one ever bought or read or liked that particular comic, right?  Well, no, because that's all that happens in the first issue of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, which happens to be one of the most well-regarded comics series ever written.

Now, I wonder if there might be anything we can glean from these two extremely divergent reactions to the same comic. Why does SuperComicFunTime hate QM:AMD so much while Harry likes it so much? Perhaps their reviews of other products unrelated to Quantum Mortis might give us a clue. Here are a pair of five-star reviews for other products they liked. Guess which review was written by whom?

Review of Avengers #219: By Divine Right
This comic is AWESOME! I got it in a box of comics I opened about three weeks ago. OMG! I was so stoked when I saw Jim Shooter was the writer! Janet Van Dyne loses her clothes early on and soon, cosmic hijinks ensue.

Review of A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
I immediately recognized the writer's talent, the characterizations and plot integrate seamlessly and while the ending is surprising and a little bit disappointing the journey is absolutely worth the time. I can't remember such good prose, and by a non-native English speaker. 

Different audiences, different tastes. SuperFunComic's perspective isn't wrong, it's just different. I have no doubt that he would be as bored by Murakami as he was by QM-AMD #1. As far as I am concerned, the only relevant question is which market is more interesting to us as a publisher? And since the top-selling comic of 2016 was Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York which sold 421,625 units while Murakami's books sell in the millions, well, I am confident that we are making the right choice.


Divisional Sunday

I have to admit, I did not think the Eagles would pull it together well enough to beat the Falcons. Discuss amongst yourselves. And Skol Vikings!


Hollywood values: the dam cracks

Eliza Dushku accuses Joel Kramer of sexually assaulting her at the age of 12:
Eliza Dushku has accused stunt coordinator Joel Kramer of molesting her when she was 12 years old. Kramer has denied the allegations. Her account, posted early Saturday morning, comes in the wake of the continuing #metoo movement and the launch of the Time’s Up campaign to combat sexual harassment and assault.

In a Facebook post, Dushku wrote that she was assaulted while working with Kramer on the 1994 James Cameron film “True Lies.”  According to her post, Kramer molested her in a Miami hotel room, where he “laid me down on the bed, wrapped me with his gigantic writhing body, and rubbed all over me.” Kramer would have been 36 at the time.

Dushku alleges that he “methodically built my and my parents’ trust, for months grooming me,” and told her parent that he would take her for a swim in the hotel’s pool. Instead, her took her to his hotel room, where he “disappeared in the bathroom and emerged, naked, bearing nothing but a small hand towel held flimsy at his mid-section.”

Kramer told Variety Saturday morning that Dushku’s allegations were “absolutely not true.” According to Kramer, Dushku swam in the hotel pool with him and other members of the stunt crew, including Dushku’s stunt double. Afterwards, he took her to her first ever sushi meal, and then took her home.
Crazy Days and Nights has been hinting at this for a while. Reese Witherspoon has made similar allegations of an attack by a producer when she was underage, although she has not yet named the individual responsible. The Hollywood Values dam hasn't crumbled yet, but the cracks are spreading.

I observe that Kramer's suggestion that Dushku is making up the allegations because "she may have had a crush on him" is classic pedophile deflection. As I have personally witnessed in court, pedos frequently resort to the "she came on to me" defense.

Years ago, my friends and I nearly got kicked out of a courtroom when a clean-cut, harmless little defendant who looked like Michael J. Fox, right down to the feathered hair and the brown corduroy sports coat with leather elbow pads, was on the stand and was asked by the judge if he had any mitigating facts to offer for his behavior in what, as far as we understood, was a date rape case. (We were there for a traffic offense and had come in towards the end of the hearing.) The defendant pointed out that he had not been the aggressor, that the alleged victim had come on to him, and that in fact he had been asleep when she jumped into his bed and woke him up by tickling him.

To be honest, we felt that this was a pretty compelling defense until the judge said, "Mr. So-and-so, she was FIVE YEARS OLD!" This was so shocking and unexpected that we all burst out laughing, thereby causing the security guards to give us a stern warning. Needless to say, the "she came on to me" defense was not a success then, and I very much doubt it will be in Mr. Kramer's case.

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State employee screws up, Trump to blame

Americans are so not ready for actual war that involves them actually being attacked, as opposed to an accidental false warning. And remember, no matter who screws up, the God-Emperor is responsible.
Approx. 8.05am: A routine internal test during a shift change was initiated. This was a test that involved the Emergency Alert System, the Wireless Emergency Alert, but no warning sirens.

8.07am: A warning was erroneously triggered statewide by an employee at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA).

8.10am: State Adjutant Maj. Gen. Joe Logan validated with the US Pacific Command that there was no missile launch.

Honolulu Police Department notified of the false alarm by HI-EMA.

8.13am: State Warning Point issues a cancellation of the Civil Danger Warning Message. This would have prevented the initial alert from being rebroadcast to phones that may not have received it yet. For instance, if a phone was not on at 8.07am, it would not receive the alert later on.

8.20am: HI-EMA issues public notification of cancellation via their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

8.24am: Governor Ige retweets HI-EMA’s cancellation notice.

8.30am: Governor posts cancellation notification to his Facebook page.

8.45am: After getting authorization from FEMA Integral Public Alert and Warning System, HI-EMA issued a 'Civil Emergency Message' remotely, cancelling the false alert.
The Russians must be laughing so hard that vodka is coming out of their noses. So, this is what the great dumbing down looks like.

Allahpundit explains the two primary conspiracy theory explanations:

Minor: It was a hack but will be played off as an error by emergency warning services.
Major: There was a missile, we shot it down, and now it's all being played off as a false alarm.

Given that the West Coast is clearly under the threat of imminent attack, I expect Michelle Malkin has already concluded that the only rational response is the immediate internment of all Koreans and Korean-Americans.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Ye cats....

Steve Sailer observes that the civic nationalists really are as dumb as they appear.

They Really Do Believe Emma Lazarus's Poem Is "The Foundational Principle of Our Country"

Well, you certainly can't claim that the country doesn't deserve its fate. Especially the country that was founded in 1883. I don't think you have to be pig-ignorant to be a civic nationalist, but it observably helps.

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Divisional Saturday

Things would appear to be shaping up very nicely for a pro-Vikings narrative for once. Of course, we'll need a Falcons win to set up for a REVENGE FOR 1998 storyline.

Discuss amongst yourselves.


Mailvox: the more things change

Actually, some things never change. A reader shares an apt quote from Livy.
Ancus...raised fresh troops and marched to the Latin town of Politorium, which he took by assault.  The inhabitants he transferred bodily to Rome; former kings had increased the size of Rome by the absorption of conquered peoples; so the policy was not without precedent. The Palatine hill was where the Romans first settled; on one side of it were the Capitol and Citadel, subsequently occupied by the Sabines; and on the other lay the Caelian hill, occupied by the Albans; the Aventine was assigned to the new comers, and they were joined soon after  by others from the captured towns of Tellenae and Ficana....

One result of these enormous additions to the population was an increase in certain criminal activities, the dividing line between right and wrong becoming somewhat blurred.
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita 1.33
Keep in mind this was more akin to the American importation of the Irish, which had similar consequences.


Jack and the bullshit artist

Despite having been threatened by an unlikely beating at the hands of his corpse and being more than a little dubious about his war stories, I find that I rather like the aspects of Jack Kirby that are revealed by this extensive interview. I particularly liked the way he took on Jimmy Olsen, the worst-performing comic in the DC catalog, rather than the Superman comic that was offered to him, simply because he knew that doing so would be a better way of proving himself.

And frankly, it strikes me as more than a little fitting that Stan Lee will exit this Earth under a cloud of disgrace, given the fact that he appears to have pulled off one of the great con jobs of the 20th century:
GROTH: At the risk of sounding partisan, let me ask you this: every time I read something by Stan or see Stan speak publicly, I’m struck by how obvious a bullshit artist he is. Was he always that way?


KIRBY: Yes. Yes, I knew Stan when he was a young boy.

ROZ KIRBY: He was Mr. Personality. That’s what he was.

KIRBY: If you ever get to talk with Joe Simon, Simon will tell you exactly what the hell Stan Lee was. He was just a little wise guy, and he came from a family that was upper-middle class, and he could do whatever he liked. He could say whatever he liked. I’ll be frank with you. We considered him a pain in the ass. He grew up to be exactly what we considered him.
Let's face it, America can't say that Jack Kirby didn't warn them.

"Stan Lee was a pest." You don't say.


That's the idea, sport

As I have repeatedly noted, Trump is proving himself to be a much better president - a much better CONSERVATIVE president - than the great Ronald Reagan himself:
The Environmental Protection Agency is on track to slash 47% of its total staff by the end of President Trump’s first term, according to a report in the Washington Examiner. After just one year, EPA chief Scott Pruitt has reduced his staff to levels unseen since the Reagan administration. If just those federal employees set to retire by 2021 do indeed leave, Pruitt will have cut more than 7,000 bureaucrats.

“We’re proud to report that we’re reducing the size of government, protecting taxpayer dollars, and staying true to our core mission of protecting the environment,” Pruitt boasted. Meanwhile, other federal agencies have followed suit after President Trump’s January 2017 hiring freeze hit large swaths of the executive branch. Trump’s order stated, “No vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled, and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances,” including those pertaining to national security. Although the freeze technically lifted in the spring, most agencies have continued to abide by its guidelines. The last president to enact a major federal hiring freeze was Ronald Reagan.

With the exception of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Interior, all Cabinet departments by September had fewer permanent staff than the day Trump took office. In addition, Trump’s proposed spending cuts triggered a spending slowdown across agencies despite the absence of a 2017 budget from Congress.

Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union representing 150,000 federal workers at over 30 agencies laments, “Morale has never been lower. Government is making itself a lot less attractive as an employer.”
Reagan laid off the air traffic controllers. Trump has already halved the size of the EPA and is slashing the payrolls at dozens of other agencies. There is no comparison.


Mailvox: up your game, people

JF writes about the declining quality of the comments here:
Over the years that I have been reading your blog, I haven't always agreed with everything you say, but I always find that it challenges my thinking about the world. I traditionally have enjoyed the comment section, also. However; over the last year, after reading the post I find myself doing a quick skim through the comments to see who is actually posting to see if it is worth following the discussion.

A number of the commenters who brought thoughtful, funny, and intelligent views seem to have moved on or only comment sporadically now. This has left the comments section to become filled with more midwit posturing and monomania that derails conversation (such as "muh purity"). I don't know what the solution is, or if it even needs one.

If I am out of line, just let me know. Either way, I'll continue to read.
He's not out of line, he's absolutely right. Now, it's important to keep in mind that this is a natural consequence of the blog readership having grown from 3,000 pageviews a day to 105,582 pageviews a day. The early readers tended to be highly intelligent outliers, almost all of whom were WorldNetDaily readers and familiar with a wide range of political subjects and authors. They were not monomaniacs and they had the ability to intelligently discuss a wide range of subjects as well as an interest in doing so.

Now we've got everything from Disney shills to commenters who see a nefarious Jewish hand at work in the fact that they ran out of skim milk this morning. I don't follow every discussion in the comments myself.

Now, this doesn't really matter all that much because the blog does not exist for the sake of the comments. The comments are mostly there as a requested courtesy for the readers and the posts of most interest to me seldom receive anywhere near the most comments. That's fine, because things are what they are, not what we might wish them to be. But if you're a commenter, perhaps it might matter to you that people notice the fact that you don't have much to say and you say the same thing over and over again.

(Which, of course, you could say is true of some of my posts on certain subjects, but then, history keeps happening and you can't say I don't manage to throw the occasional curveball on even the oldest chestnuts.)

The moderators do a pretty good job of blocking the trolls and neutralizing the shills, but they can't make people smarter, give them a broader perspective, or make them better-read or more interesting. That's something every commenter will have to do for himself. So, perhaps you might want to think about this and put a little more thought into your next comment. Or perhaps you'll just blurt out the same damn thing you've already posted here to no noticeable effect on 27 previous occasions.

It's up to you. Just don't think the readers don't notice... and remember that there are more than a thousand of them for every one of you. Also, drop the posturing. If you feel the need to strike poses and posture, just get your own blog. Or a mirror. If you find that you're about to make your third heated comment in another tedious pose-off with another commenter that everyone else is ignoring, just walk away from the keyboard. Believe me, no one - NO ONE AT ALL - is interested in those ridiculous arguments that never resolve anything.

We could, of course, turn on the feature that limits comments to members of the blog, which would permit the moderates and me to eliminate the shills, the trolls, and the tedious. In the past, I've resisted doing so in the interest of maximizing the range of the discourse, but if we've now reached the point of the tragedy of the commons, perhaps it is time to consider doing so. Then again, informing Google whose comments I permit here might be unwise, in light of recent revelations about the converged tech giant. Feel free to share your opinion.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

The one-two punch

I have to admit, I never, ever, envisioned this kind of start for Arkhaven. Thanks to all of you who are making it happen.

What's particularly interesting about this category is that it covers all the normal 24-page comics. So, not a bad harbinger for the coming print editions.

UPDATE: Not, I suspect, entirely unrelated, is the annual report from Diamond.

YEAR 2017 VS. YEAR 2016 (units)

COMICS -9.69%
TOYS -19.90%

People are obviously looking for something else. And we're definitely offering something else.


See, Marvel was RIGHT

Chasing the elusive minority dollar is the secret to massive success. This just proves it!
Appetite for presale tickets leaves little doubt — Marvel Studios’s next big blockbuster is “Black Panther.”

The film, which will be released by Walt Disney Co. DIS, +1.09%  on Feb. 16, was already one of the most-anticipated movies of the year. It just broke the record for highest ticket presales in the first 24 hours for a Marvel film, according to online movie ticket retailer Fandango.

The previous record-holder was “Captain America: Civil War,” which coincidently is the film in which Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of the Black Panther first made an appearance on the big screen.

Fandango, which is owned by Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, didn’t reveal actual numbers for “Black Panther” or “Civil War” presales in making its claim.

What is known is “Civil War” pulled in $75.5 million in its first day in theaters, according to data from Box Office Mojo. The film went on to garner $179.1 million in its opening weekend—the third largest opening in 2016—and $1.2 billion in total worldwide gross.
And if Black Panther doesn't beat Civil War at the box office, that will just prove that America is too racist to appreciate a proven blockbuster.

They really are getting desperate, aren't they. Speaking of desperate, my December 19th prediction is still in play, as barring a big weekend, The Last Jedi will fall short of $624 million domestic.

2018/01/08 $1,791,497 $423/screen   $574,483,043 Day 25
2018/01/09 $2,368,317 $560/screen   $576,851,360 Day 26
2018/01/10 $1,744,275 $412/screen   $578,595,635 Day 27
2018/01/11 $1,678,949 $397/screen   $580,274,584 Day 28

To put it in perspective, on Day 28 of The Force Awakens, it brought in $757 per screen to reach $825,932,841 of its $936,662,225 total.

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Mailvox: Israel or the West

Howard takes an inherently anti-Zionist position on Jewry:
The notion that Jews are not part of Western Civilization, particularly those Jews who's family's and history are linked to the West and the U.S by multiple generations, is without merit...and again, simple, ignorant anti-semitism.
No, the idea that Jews are part of Western civilization necessarily eliminates any legitimate territorial claim they might have to the land of Israel, which is not and has never been part of the West. Jews can claim Israel or they can claim to be of the West, but they cannot claim both. Furthermore, Christianity is an integral element of Western civilization and Jews are, again by definition, non-Christian. They are not part of Christendom, which you will note is a synonym for Western civilization.

Howard's historically ignorant posturing is reflective of the growing divide between Israeli and American Jewry. Many Israelis are already openly contemptuous of diaspora Jews who refuse to make aliyah and become citizens of the Jewish nation despite being able to do so, so it won't surprise me if Israeli Jews eventually decide that the diasporans are not Jews at all, especially in light of the fact that most of them are less than half genetically semitic already.

No nation can survive its people not sharing a language, a religion, genetics or geography for long.

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Promises, promises

Ted Kennedy illustrates why third-generation immigrants should not ever be permitted to govern or even vote in his deceitful argument for the 1965 immigration act.
First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same…

Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset… Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia…

In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think… The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.
They have to go back. They ALL have to go back. It is no longer up for debate. The post-1965 mass immigration policy was entirely based on lies and misrepresentations, and 50 years on it is clear that global migration has destroyed America, the largest invasion in human history has severely weakened the United States, and if a significant portion of the post-1965 immigrants and their descendants are not repatriated in the next decade, they will cause the complete collapse of the Union, violent ethnic conflict, and a civil war of unprecedented magnitude. At this point, the Yugoslav option may be the best possible outcome; the Czechoslovak option appears to be already beyond reach.

Listen to the warning of an American Indian. The dirt is not magic and it will not remain yours once you permit foreigners to settle on it. And rest assured that your descendants, if you have any that survive, will curse your incredible stupidity and short-sightedness, which is of epic historical magnitude.

Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.

So, go ahead and signal your virtue. Go ahead and cluck about how gloriously cucky and Churchian you are. Go ahead and dream of that glorious multicultural future before you. Just don't expect us to lift a finger, shed a tear, or open the gates when those on whose behalf you are preening and posturing decide to take what you have away from you.

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The most hostile work environment on the planet

James Damore's lawsuit is making it clear to everyone just how toxic the work environment is at Google. It is so extreme that even Rod Dreher has taken notice of the lethal convergence.
7. ‘Discourage them all throughout the industry’
“If we really care about diversity in tech, we don’t just need to chase serial offenders out of Google, we need to discourage them all throughout the industry,” a lengthy internal post on Damore read. “We should be willing to give a wink and a nod to other Silicon Valley employers over terminable offenses, not send the worst parts of tech packing with a smile …”

8. ‘I will hurt you’
Damore’s memo prompted another employee to post this quote: “I’m a queer-ass nonbinary trans person that is fucking sick and tired of being told to open a dialogue with people who want me dead. We are at a point where the dialogue we need to be having with these people is ‘if you keep talking about this shit, i will hurt you.”

9. ‘Relies on crowdsourced harassment’
Google encourages employees to enforce unwritten norms by harassing and ostracizing those who break them, according to the suit, and by allowing employees to create “blocklists” on their communications systems. “[Google] relies on crowdsourced harassment and ‘pecking’ to enforce social norms (including politics) that it feels it cannot write directly into its policies,” the suit states.

11. ‘You’re being blacklisted…at companies outside Google’
Google manager Adam Fletcher wrote in 2015 he would never hire conservatives he deemed hold hostile views. “I will never, ever hire/transfer you onto my team,” he wrote. “Ever. I don’t care if you are perfect fit or technically excellent or whatever. I will actively not work with you, even to the point where your team or product is impacted by this decision. I’ll communicate why to your manager if it comes up. You’re being blacklisted by people at companies outside of Google,” he added. “You might not have been aware of this, but people know, people talk. There are always social consequences.”
It's really rather remarkable how completely out of control the big technology companies are. And it's going to be even more remarkable to see how fast they collapse once the artificial circumstances keeping them afloat change. They are like hollow, cancer-ridden giants and I expect that several of them will vanish as soon as the debt-equity bubble pops.

Convergence tends to metastasize after a company hits its peak. We're seeing this in industry after industry, and particularly in corporations whose executives start to believe their position is unassailable.

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RIGHT HO, JEEVES #1 now on preorder

A Binge at Brinkley is the first issue in the RIGHT HO, JEEVES series, which tells of the travails of the inimitable Bertie Wooster, who is summoned from the comforts of #3A Berkley Mansions, London to Brinkley Manor by his imperious Aunt Dahlia. Love is in the air and Wodehousian shenanigans are afoot, as Wooster is not the sole guest at the manor, which is also playing host to the fairy-gazing Madeline Basset as well as the famous newt-fancier Augustus Fink-Nottle.

Adapted from the classic Wodehouse novel by comics legend Chuck Dixon and drawn by SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN illustrator Gary Kwapisz, A Binge at Brinkley is issue #1 of 6 in the RIGHT HO, JEEVES series. 24 pages. $2.99.

Now available for preorder. RIGHT HO, JEEVES #1: A Binge at Brinkley will be released on January 29. The series is currently on schedule to release issues on a monthly basis. Please note that because Right Ho, Jeeves is only in the public domain in the United States, this comic is only available from for US customers. We have presently have an offer in to the Wodehouse estate to acquire the necessary permissions to produce comics and graphic novels for the works that are not in the public domain.

UPDATE: Very pleased to see there is genuine interest in this experiment.
  • #1 in Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Comics & Graphic Novels
  • #1 in Books > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels > Adaptations
  • #1 New Release in Books > Comics & Graphic Novels > Literary Graphic Novels
  • #1 in Kindle eBooks > Comics & Graphic Novels > Historical & Literary > Literary


Ask the Norwegian-Americans

SJWs don't merely always lie, they usually posture while they're doing it.
Trump made headlines on Thursday when he lashed out in a meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the US should accept citizens from what he called 's**thole' countries. He was speaking about people from Haiti, El Salvador and various African nations, people briefed on the meeting told the Washington Post.

'Why are we having all these people from s**thole countries come here?' Trump said. 'Why do we need more Haitians?... Take them out.'

Trump then suggested the US should welcome immigrants from places like Norway, whose prime minister met with Trump on Wednesday.

But Twitter users, some of them from Norway, quickly lashed out asking Trump: Why would Norwegians want to come to America?

'I'm confused - why the f*** would anyone migrate to the US from Norway? Why would you give up healthcare free at the point of access, living wages and reliable public services?,' one tweet read.

'I live in Norway and would never move to USA. We have free health care, free higher education, 5 weeks vacation 8 hours work a day. No thanks Trump,' another user tweeted.
Meanwhile, back on actual Planet Earth: There are more than 4.5 million Norwegian Americans according to the most recent U.S. census, and most live in the Upper Midwest. Norwegian Americans currently comprise the 10th largest European ancestry group in the United States. 

And here is why:

The introduction of the Danish grain monopoly caused severe shortages of grain in Norway that led to famine and conflict. Crop failures led to a terrible period of famine in Norway which was followed by disease and dire poverty causing thousands of deaths. Norwegians began to look to America as an escape from the devastation, political strife and hunger.

So, devastation, political strife, and hunger is the answer. I wonder what is going to happen in Norway when the oil runs out and there isn't enough money to pay for all the useless non-working invaders?


Thursday, January 11, 2018


It is officially on.
Ethan Van Sciver‏@EthanVanSciver
Next guest interview is with Alt Hero creator and my new arch enemy Vox Day.  Monday at 7 PM.  Trailer is coming.
In order to allow us to focus on EVS's questions on Monday, let me get a few of those posed by his Twitter followers out of the way.

Ask him why he’s so obsessed with Jews in the negative sense and why he believes non-white people are inherently chaos bringers and can’t be a part of western civilization.

I'm not obsessed with Jews in any sense. Being pro-Christian, pro-American and pro-Western civilization, I am opposed to everyone who seeks to fundamentally alter either the American nation or Western civilization, no matter who they are or what their reasons might be. Non-Westerners are not, by definition, part of Western civilization, they have their own civilizations, customs, and traditions which they quite naturally prefer, and to quote a VP reader quoting Horace, they change their sky, not their souls, who cross the sea.

In other words, they don't bring chaos, they merely bring civilizational changes which often result in chaos. Exactly as European whites did to American Indian civilization. But the fact that the invasion and subsequent changes may be well-merited from a karmic perspective doesn't actually make it desirable for anyone who values America and the West.

Ask him if he still believes N.K. Jemisin is a half savage, and those of her ethnic heritage shouldn't write sci-fi.

Yes, I still believe NK Jemisin is "an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature by 'a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys' than an illiterate Igbotu tribesman has of how to build a jet engine." Those of her ethnic heritage are certainly welcome to write science fiction if they please, but Jemisin observably shouldn't. Her two successive Hugo Awards for Best Novel are a more embarrassing indictment of the degraded state of so-called science fiction than the nominations of "Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex" and "Space Raptor Butt Invasion" combined.


Damn good question

The God-Emperor points out an obvious flaw in the latest attempt at immigration reform:
President Trump on Wednesday balked at an immigration deal that would include protections for people from Haiti and African countries, demanding to know at a White House meeting why he should accept immigrants from “shithole countries” rather than people from places like Norway, according to people with direct knowledge of the conversation.

Mr. Trump’s remarks left members of Congress attending the meeting in the Cabinet Room alarmed and mystified. They were there discussing an emerging bipartisan deal to give legal status to immigrants illegally brought to the United States as children, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity without authorization to discuss the explosive proceedings of the private meeting.

When Mr. Trump heard that Haitians were among those who would benefit, he asked if they could be left out of the plan, according to the people familiar with the conversation, asking, “Why do we want people from Haiti here?”
Of course they're "mystified". They can't figure out why everyone doesn't want to turn the USA into more of a shithole than it is already.

The USA is not magic dirt. Nations are people. If you want to live like Haiti, bring in Haitians. They won't become Americans, they'll just make America more like Haiti. Which, if you are honest with yourself, is exactly what all the Germans did too.

Do you really believe George Washington ever attended "kindergarten"? Or drank "Budweiser"?


Why socialism doesn't work

The Hoover Institution publishes an unusually good casual explication of the real reason socialism not only does not work, but cannot work: the Impossibility of Socialist Calculation:
After gaining power a century ago and then holding onto it through a civil war, the Soviet communists were intent on building a socialist state that would overwhelm capitalism. State ownership and scientific planning would replace the anarchy of the market. Material benefits would accrue to the working class. An equitable economy would supplant capitalist exploitation and a new socialist man would rise, prioritizing social above private interests. A dictatorship of the proletariat would guarantee the interests of the working class. Instead of extracting surpluses from workers, the socialist state would take tribute from capitalists to finance the building of socialism.

The basics of the Soviet “horse” were in place by the early 1930s. Under this system, Stalin and his Politburo set general priorities for industrial ministries and a state planning commission. The ministers and planners worked in tandem to draw up economic plans. Managers of the hundreds of thousands of plants, factories, food stores, and even farms were obligated by law to fulfill the plans handed down by their superiors.

The Soviets launched their planned socialist economy as the capitalist world sank into depression, trade wars, and hyperinflation. Soviet authorities bragged of unprecedented rates of growth. New industrial complexes grew from scratch. Magazines featured contented workers lounging in comfortable resorts. The message: The West was failing, and the Soviet economic system was the way to the future.

As the competition between capitalism and Soviet socialism became more pronounced during the Cold War, serious scholarly study of the Soviet economy began. The overarching research agenda of Western scholars was “scientific planning”—the socialist belief that expert technocrats could manage an economy better than spontaneous market forces. After all, would not experts know better than buyers and sellers what, how, and for whom to produce?

It was the Austrian economists F. A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises who resisted this idea most forcefully. In their landmark critique laid out in a series of papers written from the 1920s through the 1940s, they concluded that socialism must fail. In modern economies, hundreds of thousands of enterprises produce millions of products. Even with the most sophisticated computer technology, managing such large numbers would be far too complex for an administrative body trying to allocate resources. Modern economies, therefore, are too complex to plan. Without markets and prices, decision-makers will not know what is scarce and what is abundant. If property belongs to all, what rules should those who manage assets for society follow?

The Soviets’ solution to the complexity and information problems was a national plan that spelled out production goals only for broad sectors, not for specific transactions. In other words, rather than mandate the delivery of 10 tons of steel cable by factory A to factory B, the planners set a target for the total number of tons of cable to be produced nationwide. Only a few specific goods—such as crude oil, aluminum ore, brown coal, electricity, and freight-car dispatches—could be planned as actual transactions. Everything else had to be planned in crude quantities, such as several million square meters of textile products. Product specifications, delivery plans, and payments were worked out at lower levels and often with disastrous results.

Soviet scientific planning, in fact, directed only a minuscule portion of products. In the early 1950s, central agencies drew up less than 10,000 planned indexes, while industrial products numbered more than 20 million. Central agencies drew up generalized plans for industrial ministries, which issued more detailed plans to “main administrations,” which prepared plans for enterprises. There never was a pretense that the top officials would plan the production of specific products.

To make matters even more complicated, virtually all plans were “drafts” that could be changed at any time by higher state and party officials. This constant intervention, called “petty tutelage,” was an irritant from the first to the last day of the Soviet system, but it was a key pillar of resource allocation.
If you want to read some truly artistic masterpieces of illogic, read a few socialist papers attempt to prove that socialist price-calculation is possible. The two primary papers, written first by Mises, then further articulated by Hayek, are two of the most conclusively devastating critiques of anything ever published. And the empirical evidence subsequently gathered over decades resoundingly supported their logical conclusion.

It's not an accident that the Impossibility of Social Justice Convergence sounds a lot like the Mises-Hayek law.


Photo-preening is wrong and illegal

You can't say that I haven't repeatedly warned you about the negative consequences of photo-preening online at your children's expense:
An Italian woman has been banned from posting images of her teenage son on social media, and threatened with a 10,000 euro fine if she defies it.

The 16-year-old had made a court complaint about his mother's social media habits, which included posting pictures of him on Facebook without his consent.

A Rome family court dealing with the mother's divorce from the teen's father, ruled in the 16-year-old's favour. The court ruled that as per Italian copyright law, the subject of the photographs owns the copyright and the mother was therefore in breach.
It's natural to be proud of your children. But they do not exist to serve your ego, and as a parent, you should be far more concerned about protecting their privacy and their futures than in trying to demonstrate to everyone what a wonderful father or mother you are, or how fabulous your genetic legacy happens to be, or showing the distant relatives they barely know what they look like. That's what Christmas cards are for.

Posting your children's pictures online without their consent is obnoxious, self-serving, and potentially dangerous. It is also illegal in an increasing number of jurisdictions. Just don't do it.

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Pretty sure it won't be

Ethan Van Sciver's fourth video and counting about QUANTUM MORTIS A Man Disrupted #1: By the Book and me. Which, by the way, is still the #2 New Release in Kindle Comics & Graphics, just behind Marvel's Darth Vader #10. I have no idea what he's going on about now, as I didn't bother watching it. But perhaps it will prove entertaining if this sort of thing amuses you.

The good news is that due to the unexpected success of our first release, I can announce that BOTH of Arkhaven's first two digital comics will be released on a monthly schedule for the foreseeable future. RIGHT HO, JEEVES #1: A Binge at Brinkley will be out later this month and QUANTUM MORTIS A Man Disrupted #2: Zero Zero Tango, will be out in February. The first print editions are still expected to appear in February.

We will also be making an announcement about a second comics imprint soon. And about the ability to preorder the following.

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Who needs truth?

A seriously converged professor attempts to square the circle by claiming that social justice warriors are the true defenders of free speech and open debate:
Do universities still educate their students or does political correctness hinder genuine intellectual development?

The political polarization that has divided the nation escalated last year on many campuses. Evergreen State in Washington witnessed a virtual campus takeover by left-wing student activists, leading to the departure of two prominent professors. NYU’s Jonathan Haidt argues that the leftist turn on campus, especially as expressed in the “social justice” orientation of the humanities and social sciences, poses as great a danger to society as the hyper-partisan politics of Fox News.

To Haidt’s point, a scandal erupted in the fall in Canada when Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate teaching assistant for an introductory communications course at Wilfrid Laurier University, played a video clip in which Jordan Peterson, a controversial professor, declared his refusal to address trans students by their preferred gender-neutral pronouns. Shepherd claims she was showing the video neutrally, just to start a debate about grammar usage, but she was reprimanded by her supervisors in a now-infamous meeting that she recorded and released to the media.

One prominent commentator, while decrying the seeming censorship evinced by Shepherd’s ordeal, likened Peterson’s challenge to current campus orthodoxies to the skepticism practiced by Socrates — just the kind of thing that should lead to increased knowledge. Indeed, many now insist that healthy skepticism and free inquiry, the supposed heart of the Socratic method and what Haidt labels the “disinterested pursuit of truth,” are in dire need of a revival in the academy.

I’m not so sure.

In fact, in important ways the social justice approach — which emphasizes the dynamics of power and oppression — that many fear has taken over the humanities and social sciences at its best is actually an improvement over the “disinterested pursuit of truth” and more in line with the Socratic method. In fact, rather than constituting an attack on knowledge, the social justice lens reflects new ideas generated by academic disciplines and experts within them, and generally encourages expanding our knowledge and opening up subjects to new perspectives, much like Socrates advocated.
Translation: we'll write fiction, call it definitive, and you'll like it, you outmoded relics with your outdated affection for "truth", "history", and "science".

George Orwell would not have been even remotely surprised. SJW Konvergenzsprache is real-world Newspeak. And this namedropping appeal to "Socratic dialectic" is pure pseudodialectical rhetoric from the Aristotelian perspective.

As the old Italian admiral told me, in the end, it always comes down to Aristotle vs Plato.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

They really don't know who you are

The Internet is a big place. A very big place. So big, in fact, that you can go repeatedly through multiple rounds of "don't they know... no, I guess they really don't" no matter how much traffic you happen to build up the years.

And the one thing that I would point out here is that all those people named have HUGE platforms. IDK if Vox has a different avenue besides his bog, but only roughly 1000 people seem to read it, based off the number on the side.  That made me think that maybe he was alt right.  I understand the point tho.
- Capn Cummings

Yeah, that number on the side is just a little misleading. The actual pageviews today: 100,387. The actual pageviews yesterday: 105,373. That will work out to be about 2.8 million for the month, which is pretty much the new normal.


Blowing the lid off

An article entitled New Book Blows the Lid Off the Dark World of Child Sex Abuse in Sci-Fi Fandom is now trending on PJ Media.
Moira Greyland is the daughter of famous authors Marion Bradley Zimmer and Walter Breen. She has written a memoir about growing up in a "queer" family and suffering hideous child abuse. In The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon, Greyland details the horror of being a helpless child trapped in a far left fantasy world. The world constructed by her mother, author of The Mists of Avalon, and her father, author of Greek Love (a book literally detailing why pedophilia is fine and even good) was a dark and frightening world. Unfortunately, though many saw how unhappy Greyland and her siblings were, no one stepped in to stop it and, in fact, turned a blind eye.

Greyland's description of her family's philosophy is chilling. "All sex is always right no matter what." This philosophy forced her to endure being raped by her father at the achingly innocent age of four and molested by her mother throughout her childhood. Both her parents insisted she was gay because they believed that every person is naturally homosexual and will be homosexual if not corrupted by heterosexual experiences. Through the exposure to two gay parents and relatives and their friends, Greyland developed a theory about homosexuality that is very unpopular.

"It is my belief that homosexuality is a matter of IMPRINTING, in the same way that BDSM fantasies are," she explains in the book. "To the BDSM'er, continued practice of the fantasy is sexually exciting. To the gay person, naturally, the same. However, from what I have seen, neither one creates healing. My mother became a lesbian because she was raped by her father. My father was molested by a priest--and regarded it as being the only love he had ever experienced. There are a vanishingly few people who are exclusively gay, but far more who have relationships with people of BOTH genders, as my parents and other relatives did."

This, of course, is not allowed to be discussed in the age of the Gaystappo, which must be praised at all times. But do we not owe it to the children raised in these environments to hear their experiences? Does the #MeToo craze include the children of gays who did not have idyllic experiences?
Read the whole thing. It's a remarkably in-depth article about Moira Greyland's The Last Closet.

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Mailvox: 8 questions for the Alt-Right

Sargon of Akkad, a youtuber, recently made a video asking eight questions of the Alt-Right, and this caused me to wonder what you would consider the correct answers to be.

1: Are Jews Oppressing White people?

No. This is an exaggeration. Some elite Jews are suppressing non-Jews, for example, a very small number of Jews in elite university admissions offices are suppressing Asians and whites in the U.S. university system while aiding blacks, Hispanics, and other foreigners.

2. Should Interracial Couples be forced to separate?

No. People deserve to experience the consequences of their decisions and actions.

3. Should the government prevent citizens from leaving the country to preserve the race?

No. But it should not feel any responsibility to protect them, provide for them, or help them return when their hosts turn on them either.

4. Should the state control education?

No. It has done an abysmal job by every measure.

5. Should the state control the media?


6. Should the State control the economy?

No. But it should control which parties are permitted, and are not permitted, to participate in the national economy. And it should always act to ensure that the nation benefits at the expense of foreign parties when those parties wish to participate.

7. Do the decisions of individual white people matter to the alt right's goals?

No. Not even a little bit.

8. Should women have a role in public life? (or should they be home makers?)

The question is a false dichotomy. Being a homemaker is the most important role a woman can have in public life. They should be rewarded, encouraged and celebrated for doing so.

Of course, all these questions are loaded and amount to little more than a feeble attempt to discredit and disqualify the Alt Right. More importantly, they are irrelevant. The tactics and the strategies are not the objective; how you get there does not matter if the most important thing is to get there. We presently live in a lotus-eating society of freeloaders, which is why our society is going to collapse. And it should come as no surprise that the lotus-eating freeloaders are indignant at the observation that they are going to have to stop eating lotuses and freeloading if they wish to continue eating at all.

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The Capn is absolutely right

I definitely care more about SJWs than comic books.

However, what Capn Cummings fails to realize is that I also believe in winning by being objectively superior to the competition, regardless of what they happen to be, and by thinking beyond the conventional assumptions. That's why my band recorded four Billboard Top 40 Club Chart hits. That's why my game development house went 6x platinum with our fourth game. That's why Castalia House already publishes some of the best science fiction and fantasy in the genre, and why Arkhaven's debut digital comic book was the #1 New Release on Kindle.

I don't care about comic books. But I care deeply about Arkhaven becoming the very best publisher of the best-written, most popular comic books and graphic novels in the comics industry. I expect excellence from everyone involved in the project, including myself. Sure, we fall short. Sure, we have no clue what we're doing yet. It took me 12 tries to get Kindle Comic Creator to simply kick out a working .mobi file without crashing first. I still don't really understand what flatting is or why it is necessary.

So what? I don't need to know. I certainly don't need to care. I just need to stay out of the way of the experts with whom I'm surrounding myself, and to whom I'm handing over the responsibility to do it right. I'm not afraid to bring on better writers than me, to hire the very best artists and colorists we can find, and more importantly, to listen to the substantive criticism and seek to continuously improve.

If you compare the first print editions that Castalia published to the most recent ones, the differences are striking. Even though all the same people are involved, we have improved with almost every single book of the 60 we've produced so far. It's an iterative process. And that means the comics we are now producing are almost certainly the very worst we will ever produce.

Let me give you an example. I watched a video review of QUANTUM MORTIS A Man Disrupted #1: By the Book yesterday. The reviewer made a good point about how we had no text-indicators of sound effects; in other words, no BIFF BANG BOOM! So, I talked to the artist right after I finished watching the video and now issue #2 will have them. On the other hand, the reviewer also made a point about the lack of action in the first issue, which made me laugh for reasons that anyone who has read the novel will understand. That's a "problem" that doesn't need to be addressed and will take care of itself as the story continues.

But as for those who wring their hands over politics, well, I couldn't care less what they think. They obviously haven't even bothered to look at anything we've done in the comic space so far, let alone read any of my novels. Yes, there will be politics in some of our comics, but because we are not SJWs, we are not afraid to present opposing perspectives fairly and use the conflict to generate interesting plots and storylines and characters. Can anyone honestly say that Captain Europa is an unfair representation of a certain perspective that I most certainly do not share?

It's more disappointing than anything to see criticism this uninformed and insubstantial, not because it hurts anyone's feelings, but because it is literally useless. However, it is a good sign, because it is an indicator that interest in what we are doing is beginning to grow. Of course, the insecure professionals will do their usual OMG LOL THIS IS SO TERRIBLE THING while we proceed to demonstrate the total irrelevance of their esoteric expertise.

This review is precisely why I pay no attention to the professionals in the comics industry. Their sales are plummeting. Their channels are dying. Their industry is hopelessly converged. Their stories are lightweight, superficial, and boring, and they can't successfully develop any interesting new characters. They are clearly doing something wrong, and yet, their first reaction to a first effort that is not only doing something different, but is literally the #1 New Release on Amazon is to smugly denounce it as awful. The SF professionals reacted exactly the same way when they smugly denounced the awfulness of my "vanity publishing house" three years ago. It's going to be amusing to watch Ethan's videos on the subject one year from now... or rather, to observe when he abruptly falls silent just like File 770 and the SF-SJWs have.

I'm not at all upset by Ethan's honest, fair, and very negative review of QMAMD #1. Quite to the contrary, I am extremely pleased by it. Here is why: it confirms is that what we are doing is taking a fundamentally different approach to comic book storytelling than the standard presently being utilized by the industry as a whole. That suggests that we will either fail completely or we will succeed well beyond anyone's expectations. And the initial response to QMAMD #1 is a very early sign of the latter.

So, stick to drawing, Ethan, and leave the storytelling to the real writers instead of the cheap wannabes in your industry. I can tell that you know nothing about how to tell an absorbing story that will hold a reader's interest over time. The fact that you genuinely think nothing happened in Issue #1 and can't understand the significance of the history page simply demonstrates the extreme superficiality of your perspective. I note that you are confusing the utilization of action to grab the short-lived attention of the attention-deficit-disordered reader with genuine storytelling. The two are not synonymous; only the inferior storyteller needs to rely on cheap pyrotechnics to hold his reader's attention. In my opinion, that stupid "show don't tell" philosophy is part of why comics are dying.

I was particularly amused by the idea expressed by some of his commenters that Quantum Mortis is some sort of Bladerunner ripoff. It's not. It can't be. I've never seen any of the Bladerunner movies and the books have literally nothing in common with the PKD novel on which the movies were based. FFS, anyone who knows anything about me knows that Quantum Mortis is Traveller.

UPDATE: I thought this comment was particularly amusing: "Part of the problem is that he seems to have approached it like a print writer doing the prologue for a book rather than a superhero comic book writer doing a first issue."

What planet do you have to be orbiting to conclude that the graphic novelization of a military science fiction mystery should be more like a superhero comic book? I am genuinely curious to discover on what lunatic grounds these critics are going to attack our first Wodehouse issue.

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Storm pressure?

Interesting to observe how more and more of politicians are offing themselves of late.
An Idaho Republican state lawmaker who was under investigation for possible sexual abuse, died in an apparent suicide, according to authorities on Tuesday. Canyon County Coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris said Brandon Hixon was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in his Caldwell home early Tuesday morning. A family member discovered his remains.

Hixon, 36, was elected to the Idaho Legislature in 2012. At the time, Hixon was one of the youngest lawmakers elected to the Idaho House of Representatives.

He flew relatively under the radar during his time in the Statehouse until October, when he abruptly resigned from office after reports broke he was the subject of a criminal investigation for possible sexual abuse.
And there are still a lot of major figures who seem to have considerably lowered their media profile since the leadup into Christmas. I doubt this is a coincidence.

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Bannon out at Breitbart

Steve Bannon has resigned from Breitbart News:
Stephen K. Bannon stepped down on Tuesday from his post as executive chairman of Breitbart News, ostracized for now from conservative circles and the Republican Party he brazenly predicted he would remake.

Mr. Bannon’s departure, which was initiated by an estranged financial patron and Breitbart investor, Rebekah Mercer, came as Mr. Bannon remained unable to quell the furor over remarks attributed to him in a new book in which he questions President Trump’s mental fitness and disparages his son Donald Trump Jr.

Mr. Bannon and Breitbart will work together on a smooth transition, said a statement from the company’s chief executive, Larry Solov. Separately, SiriusXM, which broadcasts a radio show on which Mr. Bannon was a host, said it was also cutting ties with him.
If this is all a charade, Team Trump are going to unprecedented lengths to make it look legitimate. But I'm more than a little dubious about all the sudden charges that both Bannon and Trump are mentally unstable and so forth. The vultures really have it in for him.

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