Category: Decline of Western Civilization


This is a bit personal for me. I went to graduate school at the University of Virginia. Charlottesville is a great college town. I spent six of the happiest years of my life there. I met my wife there. I made lifelong friends there. I started my career as an astronomer there. It’s one of the few cities I would consider moving to from my current digs.

So to see a bunch of alt-right white-supremacist clowns walking around with tiki torches and chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans hurts. I absolutely support their right to free speech, of course. If people hold vile views, I want them to publicly own it. As fellow UVa Astronomy alum Phil Plait put it:

The proximate cause was Charlottesville’s decision to sell off some confederate monuments, part of a national movement to get rid of such monuments. While I am very attentive to history, I’m also aware that most of these monuments were erected as protests against the Civil Rights movement. So I’m not opposed to seeing them go.

Things got worse this afternoon. After counter-protests and some violent clashes caused the alt-right rally to break up, someone drove a car into the crowd. I won’t embed the video, but it’s easy to find. It looks deliberate to me. And if so, it was an act of terrorism. And I hope they throw the book at the piece of garbage who did it.

I suppose we should take some comfort in that The National Rally for Racist Pieces of Shit only managed to get a few hundred of these dopes. But that’s cold comfort when I see people being mowed down on a street I once walked down in a happy daze because a pretty girl had gone out on a date with me. Any Nazis are too many Nazis.

Update: A good and balanced first hand account.

Behind Closed Doors

I’ve mostly ignored Trump when he whines about leaks from his Administration. I suspect half the leaks are from him anyway. But I’m forced to agree with David Frum on the new leak of transcripts of the President’s conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.

Thursday’s leak to The Washington Post of President Trump’s calls with the president of Mexico and the prime minister of Australia will reverberate around the world. No leader will again speak candidly on the phone to Washington, D.C.—at least for the duration of this presidency, and perhaps for longer. If these calls can be leaked, any call can be leaked—and no leader dare say anything to the president of the United States that he or she would not wish to read in the news at home.

A lot of people are jumping up and down because Trump sounds rather foolish in the transcripts and it shows a lot of his claims about those calls to be lies. But the price of this … entertainment … is damage to our foreign relations. And it serves no actual purpose other than embarrassing Trump.

There are times when world leaders need to say things to each other in confidence; times when they need to do and say things that would be unpopular. Breaking this confidence hurts their ability to do so.

Now Defending Sessions

Having bashed Jeff Sessions last week, I’ll defend him this week. He was absolutely right to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. It’s something any moderately ethical AG would do. And it’s disgraceful that Trump is out there slamming his own AG for, as a far as I can tell, allowing an investigation into the President to proceed while not reviving a dead investigation of his defeated opponent.

I intensely disagree with Sessions, but he has been loyal to Trump form the beginning. This just shows, once again, that Trump loyalty only goes one way.

Trump, Jr. Under the Bus

I’m in Israel at the moment, attending a scientific conference. So I’ve been a bit out of the loop, politically. But the revelation that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-connected attorney in the hopes of turning up dirt on Hillary Clinton is extremely bad. Probably not Trump-will-be-impeached bad but unethical, slimy and disgusting. The best defense I’ve heard — I mean other than “the media lies about stuff the White House is telling them!” — is that he was too dumb to know that this was a bad thing to do.

We’re gonna have four years of this garbage. It’s only going to get worse.

Update: Jesus Christ.

It’s Idiocy All the Way Down

Let me see if I can follow the train of events here.

  • Last week, Donald Trump posted a gif that someone had made of him “beating” a guy at a wrestling event as part of the act. They had put CNN’s logo over the face of the other actor so it appeared as though Trump were beating down CNN. This was kind of stupid.
  • The media, of course, gave it non-stop coverage to the detriment of major news stories such as North Korea’s missile test, the G20 summit and the AHCA debate. Some called it a threat of violence although it was clearly, in a legal sense, no such thing. This was really stupid.
  • It was then discovered that the gif came from a thread on Reddit, the human sewer of the internet. That the Trump team is plumbing the depths of Reddit for tweets by the President of the United States is incredibly stupid.
  • CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski then decided to track down the person who made the gif — a Reddit user by the name of HansAssholeSolo. Because apparently this was of interest to anyone. The user, fearing exposure, issued a groveling apology, saying that he was just shitposting and didn’t mean to offend anyone. This was unbelievably stupid from everyone.
  • CNN’s report on Han ended in the note that it wasn’t revealing his identify because he was a private citizen and had apologized. According to them, the legal department then added the note, “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.” Whatever the intention of that statement was, it crossed almost everyone who read it as a threat. This was not only monumentally stupid, but kind of evil.

The internet erupted over that last line and for very good reason. It’s horrible that people feel the need to go on the internet and be bigoted trolls. But the punishment in this case — doxxing the user — would be massively out of proportion to the crime. Being exposed for putting bad or controversial stuff on the internet can ruin someone’s life. They lose jobs, they get threats, they get harassment. It is the Sword of Damocles that hangs over all of us who comment on blogs, Twitter or even Facebook. I’ve been lucky so far but have often thought of quitting this whole shebang out of the fear that some poorly phrased tweet or ill-considered post could destroy my life.

For CNN to even hint at this was, well …


So the human being behind the ridiculous pseudonym HanA**holeSolo should cringe for the rest of his life and never publish anything that CNN could possibly deem “bigoted” or “racist” because it would trigger CNN’s delusional duty to destroy him.

Absolutely despicable.

This person is a nonentity. We shouldn’t even have heard about him in the first place. Who cares who originally posted the video clip of the CNN logo stuck on the face of the guy Trump was wrestling?

Ken White, in a really great post looking at the whole phenomenon of internet rage:

I found this alarming and ugly. CNN should publish the name or not publish the name. For CNN to tell him what he should or shouldn’t say in the future, and threaten him that they will reveal his name in the future if they don’t like his speech, does not make them sound like journalists. It makes them sound like avenging advocates, and lends substantial credibility to the argument that they pursued him because he posted a GIF about them. I don’t know what they actually intended — they’ve denied intent to threaten and claim this was only to clarify that there was no agreement. If so, that could have been conveyed much less like a threat. However they meant it, this is reasonably interpreted as a warning that the Redditor must speak only as approved by CNN or suffer for it. That’s grotesque. Legal, but grotesque.

German Lopez, with whom I rarely agree:

Personally, if I reported this story, it would have been pretty straightforward: “CNN is not publishing ‘HanAssholeSolo’s’ name because he is a private citizen.” Period. The rest of the information in that paragraph is unnecessary, because a media organization simply shouldn’t release a private citizen’s personal information. He shouldn’t have his private information threatened just because the president picked up one of his Reddit shitposts, which he made with the expectation that he would be kept anonymous. (Though it is a truly bizarre turn of events that it’s even possible to write this sentence.)

In journalism, there is a clear line between public and private figures. Public figures are held to a higher standard — since they represent not just themselves but their offices, their industries, and so on. But private figures are given a veil of privacy, since it’s not really in the public interest to get some random person’s private information.

The problem here is that the internet is not proportional. People wouldn’t merely react to this guy making some offensive remarks on the internet by making some offensive remarks to him. They would react as the internet has reacted before to these kinds of situations — with potentially thousands of hateful messages, death threats, attempts to get him fired, and harassment not just against him but also his family. Lines would quickly be crossed.

Our friend, Thrill:

First, there was no reason to track this Asshole guy down. None. He had nothing to do with the story, really. In fact, it’s even possible that CNN got the wrong guy. I can’t read that paragraph and see anything other than that CNN wanted contrition out of the guy, not a story. Again, the story shouldn’t have been about anything except Trump being a prick for posting the inflammatory .gif.

As for that last line, how can anyone see any other message other than, “If he posts anything like that again, naturally, we will reveal his name and ruin his life”? This guy is probably going to stay off the Internet for the rest of his life for fear that CNN will come after him again and set the SJW mob loose on his employer and family.

It’s gotten even stupider since then, with people threatening Kaczynski and even his parents, for some reason. Because apparently, no one can be a dick these days without someone saying, “Hold my beer.”

Almost everyone in this story is acting like a dick. The anonymous shitposter is a dick; Trump is a dick; CNN is a bag of dicks; the people threatening Kacyznski are dicks. And since it seems that being a dick is in fashion these days, I’ll go ahead and say I’m a dick, too. Last week, I wrote about the need for empathy in politics and said that it was a subset of a need for empathy in our society. This fiasco illustrates it perfectly. If anyone involved had taken just a second to think about what it would be like if they were on the receiving end of their action, the entire chain of bullshit would have been broken off.

Bernie-bro does what the left has been fantasizing about: dnc lackeys cry out for gun control

So after several months of the insane leftist bullshit peddled by the dnc operatives with bylines and all the enlightened usual progressive virtue signalers showing their creds with such things as decapitated Trump heads or assassinated Trump Ceasar, we get a Bernie-bro that <a href=’” target=”_new”>that takes matters into his own hand. As soon as I heard this happened I was willing to be a kidney it would be a proggy or a member of the religion of peace, and that the media would cover that fact and immediately switch to the usual gun control pap. My favorite was the moron on tweeted the following:

No matter what his political beliefs were, the moment he used violence he became a right wing domestic terrorist.

Leftist ideology and insanity begets violence, and that makes you right wing. On the other hand, this explains why lefties want you to so desperately believe Hitler was right wing and not a socialist like them.

Here is some advice to the people claiming the problem is white men and guns: practically everyone of these nut jobs has been a progressive or a member of the religion of peace (and when they have told us otherwise it has usually been dnc operatives with bylines desperately trying to white washed those facts). Maybe instead of calling for gun or white men bans, we should ban that those two ideologies that seem to disproportionately produce these fucking nutjobs and violence?

From powerful feminist agitator to I am a victim!

Man, the left is apoplectic because the evil and wicked witch lost the election to the guy they made fun of and felt was the easy win. Things have gotten real crazy for these idiots. You have daily stories of people throwing tantrums and acting out because reality decided to tell the left to fuck off. So in case you missed it, Kathy Griffin earlier this week handed the republican party the best campaign adds for the 2020 elections. Yeah, the same Kathy Griffin that made a huge deal about how evil Sarah Palin was because of some crosshairs on some add leading to people shooting people, thought it was comedy to decapitate the elected president. Now before I go on with this post, I want to say that this is not about what she did, but about the hypocrisy of the left. I will defend Griffin’s right to be a cunt, and have done so before. I believe in freedom of speech, especially when the things being said are controversial. What I however do not forgive these people for is the double standards.

When douchebag like Griffin come out and rip into Palin and the right for something that is such a fucking bullshit stretch, and then pull this sort of a stunt thinking it gives them lefty creds, all we see is how craven and wrong the left is. One set of rules for them and another for the rest of us. Of course, the usual dnc operatives with bylines did their best to make the story go away, but it didn’t. But it didn’t go away. And I will admit that I kind of enjoy the fact that a traditional lefty tactic of fucking the ability of people they disagree with to make a living, as a means of extortion, played itself out without anyone needing to push for it. So how did the strong feminist Griffin respond to here douchebaggery gone wrong? As every strong new age leftist feminist that I have seen act when they land in deep shit, this loser resorted to playing the victim. Mean white guys are hurting her feelings!

Fuck me, the left has gone full retard. And as we all know, from the words of the immortal character Kirk Lazarus playing Sergeant Four Leaf Tayback said: you never go full retard.

Duterte and Trump

I’m getting tired of these things. Donald Trump — who will happily “stand up” to European leaders and call them on NATO funding and trade — made some time to praise Rodrigo Duterte last week. Any President should be embarrassed to talk to let alone praise (and give classified info) to Duterte:

Since Duterte took office in June, Philippine national police and vigilante death squads have embarked on a campaign to slaughter drug users as well as drug dealers. “Hitler massacred three million Jews [sic], now, there’s three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he said in September. Last month, he told a group of jobless Filipinos that they should “kill all the drug addicts.” Police have killed over 7,000 people, devastated poor areas of Manila and other cities, and used the drug war as a pretext to murder government officials and community leaders.

Look, Presidents sometimes have to deal with scumbag leaders. But Duterte is next-level scumbag — a murderous bloodthirsty despot who is turning the Philippines into a nightmare. And it’s not like he’s the only dictator Trump likes kissing up to. Remember all that stuff about how Obama snuggled up scumbags and pissed on our allies? Trump is doing that and then some.

It raises another concern too. Duterte has turned the police in the Philippines into an extra-legal force for violence. Trump has appointed, as his Attorney General, a man who thinks the biggest problem with police shooting videos is that there’s video. He’s seeking to ramp up the War on Drugs, end consent decrees and pull back on civil rights investigations. The GOP is considering a bill that would make police unaccountable while making assaulting a police officer a federal crime. And he’s tapped batshit crazy and power-abusing Sheriff David Clarke for a possible DHS role.

Are we going to go the way of the Philippines? I don’t think so. There are a few too many checks on power to go there quite yet. But it’s clear that Trump’s admiration for Duterte is more than just lip service.

Free Stuff Don’t Come Cheap

California has a tough financial future. Their employee pension program is underfunded by tens of billions. Their business environment has gotten increasingly poor. They have one of the highest ratios of inequality in the country. So what to do?

Triple the budget, apparently:

The latest stop on this magical mystery tour of progressive health care plans is California, where U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has been campaigning on behalf of a proposed state-run single-payer system. On Monday, state lawmakers in Sacramento got their first look at the price tag for the proposal, which rings in at a whopping $400 billion annually.

The Sacramento Bee notes that, even after accounting for an estimated $200 billion that could be saved by replacing current state-run health programs with the single-payer program, the state would still need to come up with $200 billion annually.

This year’s state budget in California, by the way, is about $180 billion. That means that implementing a single-payer health care system would require doubling (at least) the state’s current tax burden. The analysis of the health care proposal presented to lawmakers on Monday suggests a 15 percent increase to the state’s payroll tax to provide the necessary revenue.

Even accounting for the money employers would “save” by not having to buy insurance, they would still have to come up with $50-100 billion more.

California’s system would be beyond what even the most socialized countries on Earth do. Most “single-payer” systems have some out-of-pocket expenses or private co-insurance. This has a way of keeping costs down. California’s proposed system would pay everything for everyone including illegal aliens. Considering how the costs on … well everything … have been beyond expectations, I would put the cost at more $500-600 billion.

Colorado and Vermont voters overwhelmingly rejected single-payer schemes because of the cost. This one is being put out by California’s state legislature, which is controlled almost entirely by Democrats. So it has a chance of passing. Which means California has a chance of being bankrupt even sooner than expected.