The No-Deal showdown

Tories are discovering who the fake Conservatives are as they abandon both their party and their nation for the EU:

Boris Johnson saw his Commons majority wiped out today as a former minister dramatically crossed the floor of the Commons to join the Lib Dems.

Phillip Lee walked away from his colleagues in the chamber and went to sit with Jo Swinson’s pro-EU group.

The incendiary step came as the Tories descended into civil war ahead of the huge showdown over No Deal Brexit tonight.

It looks as if the General Election that Nigel Farage was hoping for is now in the cards.

Black Batman

I cannot even describe how delighted I am to hear the latest rumors about DC’s insistence on ritual self-disembowelment:

The hot gossip coming out of comic book shows this weekend from a number of prominent sources, is that in the summer of 2020 leading into 2021, DC Comics is planning to bring us a black Batman. Not Bruce Wayne, but someone else donning the cowl and cape.

Who this new Batman will be, I don’t know. All I have been told is that it won’t be Duke Thomas, the young man previously teased as taking on the role of Robin and Batman to come.

Marvel Comics has given us a black/Latino Spider-Man with Miles Morales, popularised in the Into The Spider-Verse movie. Sam Wilson took on the role of Captain America, reflected in the Avengers: Endgame movie. And Nick Fury has been replaced in the Marvel Universe by his black son, Nick Fury, Jr, reflecting the casting of Samuel L Jackson in the Marvel movies. While in Doomsday Clock, DC Comics’ unauthorised sequel to Watchmen, the new Rorschach is a black man, and son of the original Rorschach’s psychiatrist. It looks like the mainstream DC Comics Universe may be heading in a similar direction with Batman. Could this also find itself reflected in the DC movies?

If there was much doubt about AT&T deciding to shut down the production of new comics at DC, the market’s reaction to this should settle that in a… flash? I wonder if we can persuade them to make the black Batman gay too? Isn’t it about time? After all, it’s CURRENT YEAR!

Meanwhile, Shade of the Global Justice Initiative remains white.

The Trumpslide cometh

There are polls and there are observations. These days, the latter are much more reliable:

Once upon a time, long, long ago, public opinion polls may have reflected, however faintly, some generalization of public opinion.  For a multitude of reasons, that is no longer true.  To demonstrate that point, compare the August 29 Rasmussen poll showing President Trump’s approval rating of 47 percent with the Quinnipiac reported approval rating of 38 percent.  Even more irrational are the Quinnipiac poll result that whatever is left of Joe Biden would beat Trump 54 percent to 38 percent in a general election and the Economist poll number that asserts that 55 percent of the public thinks the country is headed in the wrong direction.  It is a near certainty that none of those numbers reflects reality.

So, discarding the meaningless political polls, I went to the most accurate opinion poll I am aware of for my pre-quadrennial presidential forecast: the Washington County (Pa.) Agricultural Fair.

After my 2016 visit to the fair, I reported that Trump was going to win Washington County big.  Why?  Enthusiasm was enormous.  Trump hats were everywhere.  People were wearing Trump shirts and Trump pins.  These were not all registered Republicans, either.  There was a large booth selling Trump merchandise and doing a land office business.  There was no similar Clinton enterprise.  The parking lot really told the story.  Literally thousands of pickup trucks, gun racks behind the seats, many with Trump stickers and campaign messages on bumpers and tailgates.  Mixed in were Mercedes and Lexus, many with similar stickers.  If Mercedes and Lexus made gun racks, they would have had those, too.

The County Fair Poll was pretty accurate.  Washington County turned out big: nearly 75 percent of its registered voters went to the polls, and they voted for President Trump with 60 percent of the vote.  That means a lot of registered Democrats voted for President Trump.

What does the early forecast for 2020 look like based on the 2019 Washington County Fair?  It looks as if President Trump will do even better than 2016.  I have never seen such enthusiasm, especially so far before an election.  More than 75,000 people attended the fair, and the crowd was a sea of MAGA and KAG hats, Trump shirts, Trump pins, you name it.

Even the New York Times is trying to caution its readers not to take the polls predicting the God-Emperor’s electoral demise too seriously:

Millions of Americans who did not like the president in 2016 now say they do. Over all, his personal favorability rating has increased by about 10 percentage points among registered voters since Election Day 2016, to 44 percent from 34 percent, according to Upshot estimates. 

Solving the current crisis

While Babymetal has tried a number of different approaches for replacing the irreplaceable, none of them has come even close to working. I refer, of course, to the absence of Yui; they always had a guitarist to spare, so as much as “the smiley guy” is sorely missed – and who did not notice Ohmura playing his late friend’s red guitar instead of Pink-chan at Glastonbury – they have always had more than adequate options on hand.

However, in light of the third iteration of Ladybaby, there are two solid possible replacements. The more obvious one is Fuka, who actually bears some resemblance to Yui and has a similar low-key stage presence. But a more intriguing possibility is Rie, who has become the leader of Ladybaby as it has made a transition similar to the one that Babymetal went through when it ditched the Babybones dancers in favor of the brilliant musicians of the Kami Band.

Speaking of the Kami Band, if that guitar riff from Haten Ni Ramei was any more Onedari Daisuken, they’d have had to put the guitarist in a sheet and paint his face white. Although it is a pity that with the addition of the live band, Ladybaby didn’t retain much of the kawai dance.

Anyhow, as this live version of Nippon Manju shows, Rie has the energy and charisma to keep up with Su, and although her voice isn’t as strong, it has a nice and identifiable sound to it. And it would be interesting to see Babymetal pair someone up with Su rather than Moa.

Actually, there is a third option that might actually be the best one. What is Rei doing these days? Okay… was really not expecting that.

The hatiest of hate groups

The SPLC finally breaks down, does the right thing, and autodenounces:

MONTGOMERY, AL—In an update Wednesday to its Hatewatch blog, the Southern Poverty Law Center announced the newest addition to its authoritative list of hate groups: the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“We have identified an organization with a clear history of rank intolerance toward faith communities based solely upon their sincerely held religious convictions,” the statement reads. “This organization has encouraged ostracism and threats toward people, politicians, and businesses that do not adhere to its rigid progressive agenda. It has existed and operated right under our noses for years. It is known as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).”

The statement continued, “Now that we have identified our very own organization as a hate group and added the SPLC to the ‘Extremist Files’ section of our website, we will oppose ourselves and our radical agenda with vigor, and we will slander and boycott any person or group that associates with us or cites our intolerant, anti-Christian, identity-politics-driven list of so-called ‘hate groups.’ We will also be opening new litigation against ourselves for defamation, libel, and human rights violations.”

At this point, they should be indicted for racketeering as well.

Il Gattopardo

A very thorough review of the classic Italian film – and novel – The Leopard:

Luchino Visconti’s masterpiece is his 1963 historical epic The Leopard (Il Gattopardo, which actually refers to a smaller spotted wild cat, the serval, which is the heraldic animal of the Princes of Salina in Sicily). Visconti’s film is a remarkably faithful adaptation of the 1958 novel of the same name by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. The Leopard became the best-selling Italian novel of all time, carrying off many critical laurels as well. In its beauty of language, philosophical depth, and emotional power, The Leopard is one of the greatest novels I have ever read, and Visconti’s film does it full justice. Both are works of genius.

Set during the Risorgimento, the unification of Italy into a modern nation-state, The Leopard is sometimes called “the Italian Gone with the Wind,” which is an apt comparison, although The Leopard is better both as a book and a film. Like Gone with the Wind, The Leopard is a historical romance set against the backdrop of a war of national unification in which a modern, bourgeois-liberal industrial society (the Northern Kingdom of Piedmont and Sardinia, ruled from Turin by the House of Savoy), triumphs over a feudal, agrarian aristocracy (the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, encompassing Sicily and Southern Italy and ruled from Naples by the house of Bourbon). Even the time period is basically the same. The novel The Leopard is set primarily in 1860–62, and the film takes place entirely in this time frame.

The story begins in May of 1860, when Giuseppe Garibaldi, a charismatic nationalist general, raised an insurgent force of 1000 volunteers and landed in Sicily to overthrow the Bourbons. The Garibaldini fought for no king or parliament. They fought for the nationalist idea. They fought for a unified Italy that did not yet exist.

Garibaldi fought his way to Palermo, declared himself dictator, then raised new troops to take the fight to the mainland, where he overthrew the last Bourbon king, Francis II. Then Garibaldi handed the kingdom over to king Victor Emanuel of Piedmont and Sardinia and retired into private life. Plebiscites were held throughout Italy, except in Venice, which was under Austrian rule. All of Italy, save the Papal States, agreed to unification under the House of Savoy. In 1862, Garibaldi raised an army to march on Rome and forcibly incorporate the Papal States, but he was stopped by troops loyal to the new unified kingdom.

Lampedusa was a Sicilian aristocrat and a partisan of aristocracy. As a study of classical aristocratic virtues, The Leopard can be placed alongside Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. As a meditation on the decline of aristocracy into oligarchy, it can be placed alongside Plato’s Republic. Visconti, however, was both an aristocrat and a self-professed Communist. Thus his adaptation also highlights other aspects of the novel, dramatizing how the revolutionary energies unleashed by the ideas of the sovereign people and a unified national state were coopted by the old Italian aristocracy and corrupted by the rising middle classes.

The Leopard is very much the Italian Gone With the Wind. I’ve read it twice, and I highly recommend the novel to anyone. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I intend to do so soon. Read the whole review there.

The burning butthurt of Boomers

The self-obsession and butthurt of Boomers who feel their generation is insufficiently lionized for their world-changing accomplishments is downright comical. From a comment on the Z-man’s site:

There is another site on the net where they are all “high IQ” fellows who blame boomers for everything bad that ever happened. (boomers can time-travel apparently) and don’t like out host the Z-man much. Yet, I find the Z-man and the people who comment here very perceptive.

Yes, Marc Stoval’s Boomer butthurt is such that he’s actually whining about it on other sites. Just go away, Boomer Stoval. Go away and stay away. Perhaps the Z-folk will find you more tolerable.

It’s astonishing that these people genuinely don’t grasp how their behavior is perceived by the younger generations.

Nationalism rising

AfD is relentlessly marching towards power in Germany:

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) came up short of victory in eastern state elections in Saxony and Brandenburg on Sunday, but still finished with its highest vote share ever, Politico reports.

Why it matters: The anti-immigrant, nationalist AfD is one of several far-right parties across Europe that have made significant gains at the expense of the political establishment, including in May’s European Parliament elections. Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) remained the strongest party in Saxony with about 32{c54197dde12df2f558a2650e1cd4ae2483dbb80239d1e9c0b6d466bbef15f4fd}, while the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) held onto first place in Brandenburg with 27.2{c54197dde12df2f558a2650e1cd4ae2483dbb80239d1e9c0b6d466bbef15f4fd}, according to initial results.

Worth noting: The results are being viewed as a victory for AfD, but all parties have sworn not to work with the far right in a coalition government. That could be a difficult promise to keep, however, with vote share dispersed across a number of smaller parties.

The so-called “mainstream” parties will refuse to work with them, but they won’t be able to function effectively together because they have nothing in common beyond not being nationalists. For example, some of the obvious fracture points in the rossoverde alliance of PD and M5 in Italy are already beginning to expose themselves.

Gammas destroy society

This is why methodically banishing gammas from your organizations and social circles is an absolute imperative. Mama’s Boys and Smart Boys are inevitably a serious challenge for any organization, because virtue-signaling on behalf of women is always their first and foremost priority.

On August 26, Women’s Equality Day honors the hard-fought victory of the women’s suffrage movement. But the holiday might not exist if one representative’s mother hadn’t convinced him to cast the deciding vote to pass the 19th amendment.

Women’s suffrage took nearly one century to fully realize, but time never moved as slowly as it did between the amendment’s passage in Congress in 1919 and its introduction as a federal law in 1920. It all came down to a single vote in the Tennessee legislature on August 18, 1920.

For amendments to pass then, three-fourths of the 48 states at the time needed to ratify it within their own governments. Tennessee, which would’ve been the 36th state to pass it, was gridlocked.

Harry T. Burn, a 24-year-old state representative, had planned to vote against the amendment. But in his pocket, he kept a letter from his mother Febb, who’d asked him to “be a good boy” and vote for the amendment that would grant her the right to vote for legislators like her son, according to the National Constitution Center.

So he did. And with his “Aye,” the 19th Amendment passed nationwide.

Their second priority, of course, is to prove they are a Smart Boy at all costs. One ignores these things at one’s peril.

This is why if one picks up even the faintest scent of gamma from someone with whom one is working on any project, one should immediately take action to move them away from any points of weakness and anything one considers to be mission critical. And one would also do well to be henceforth alert for any signs of rage-quitting, in order to eject them right away once they begin moving into their signature self-destructive burning-down-the-house stage.

The Z-Man guarantees Warren 2020

It’s always wise to put these predictions on the record well ahead of time, before the predictors start performing the Scott Adams two-step. The Z-Man contemplates the upcoming 2020 US Presidential election and confidently makes his call:

The 2020 presidential campaign will be two sides of the 60’s Boomer culture, facing off against one another in one final battle. The male side, represented by Donald Trump, is nostalgic for an America that no longer exists. Trump sees himself as this generation’s Ronald Reagan. Instead of morning in American, though, it is dusk in America. His tenure is a cargo cult of sorts. He and his supporters seem to think if they carry on like it is 1985, it will suddenly become 1985. Trump is pure nostalgia.

Warren is the feminine side of this battle. Unlike Trump, she is not pining for a return to Reagan’s America. She is all of the liberal Boomers in the 80’s and 90’s, who talked about the terribleness of Reaganism, while enjoying the benefits. Just as Boomer feminists talked like Betty Friedan, but lived like June Cleaver, this side of the Boomer political culture publicly hated Reagan and the 80’s economic boom, but privately benefited from it. The conscience of the 60’s was always forgiving….

I guarantee you she will run as the person who wrote the book, The Two Income Trap. And she will win. Trump, for all his stupidity, has known Warren was his big problem all along. That’s why he went after her two years ago.

I disagree, of course. I remain quite confident that President Trump will win in 2020, and by a bigger Electoral College margin than he did in 2016. And while I agree that Warren currently looks like the most likely Democratic nominee, I think it is too soon to declare that she will be the nominee, much less the eventual winner, let alone guarantee it. I’ve seen far too many media-anointed frontrunners wilt under the pressure of the actual caucuses and primaries to express any opinion on the matter yet.