Better late than never

Austria closes the borders:

Austria has announced tough new plans to reject almost all asylum-seekers at its borders as it continues a crackdown against migrants.

Under the new measures, all asylum claims will be decided within an hour at the country’s borders. Only migrants who have an immediate relative already granted asylum in Austria will be allowed to enter.

Applicants who are at risk of death or inhumane treatment if they are not granted asylum will also be allowed in. But in practice almost no one will be able to claim asylum on the grounds of physical danger as they will be judged to be safe in the neighbouring European countries they have travelled through.

All migrants whose claims are rejected will be turned back at the border.

That’s a good first step. Soon it will be time to proceed to step two, mass repatriations. To Germany, if necessary. Or to whatever nation protests.

Clutter and Clean Cycles

Thanks to all those Americans born everywhere from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, even those who are enamored of diversity are beginning to notice that ethnically heterogeneous societies don’t tend to survive economic crashes very well:

While it is difficult for anybody who knows the Pentagon well to
imagine American generals and admirals getting together to overthrow the
civilian government — that would require obscene amounts of PowerPoint
and might endanger top brass golden parachutes with Beltway Bandits —
the notion of a Civil War 2.0, however terrifying it may be, needs to be
faced squarely, if we wish to avoid that awful fate.

America in the 21st century runs little risk of becoming Honduras Grande,
but if current politico-economic trends continue much longer, we might
well wind up a lot like Yugoslavia. That statement is sure to be
controversial, since few Americans, citizens of the global hegemon and
to many of them a most exceptional country, like to be compared with a
relatively small Balkan federation that collapsed into wars and genocide
a generation ago.

Yet the collapse of Yugoslavia offers several cautionary tales to
Americans today, and if they are wise they will heed them and set the
United States on a correction course before it is too late. As one who
witnessed the dreadful collapse of Yugoslavia and its terrible
aftermaths — including the seemingly permanent impoverishment of
Southeastern Europe, mired in crime, corruption, and extremism — I would
very much like America to discover a far happier fate. However, some of the parallels are eerie and troubling….

Managing this increasingly fissiparous country as economic prospects diminish will challenge the most gifted politicians. Indulging in ethnic resentments as a substitute for solutions to vexing politico-economic problems only makes things go from bad to worse, sometimes rapidly and painfully. With both our parties increasingly beholden to Wall Street at the expense of Main Street, average Americans of all backgrounds will not be happy that they are bequeathing a life of less affluence and opportunity to their children. In such a time of troubles, playing ethno-racial political games as a substitute for reform is deeply irresponsible.

It would be nice if Democrats and Republicans played better together, particularly on the budget and borrowing money. It would be especially nice if they seriously addressed issues of rising economic inequality and diminishing opportunities for average Americans.  But it is imperative that they not fan the flames of ethnic and racial resentments if they wish to avoid a terrible outcome for our country.

The nation is already broken and divided. What is now being done to the nations of Europe was already done to the USA back in 1965. There is no longer an Anglo-American nation with a moderate admixture of other European nations, now it is a merely a political entity with dozens of rival ethnic and religious interest groups jockeying for power and a share of the income redistribution.

As with Yugoslavia, the structure will hold so long as it doesn’t come under excessive financial stress. This is why I have long predicted the 2033 timeframe, as I thought that’s about when the US dollar will fail as the global reserve currency. Considering the current state of China, it’s possible that timeframe is too optimistic, but regardless, there is still time to prepare for the Yugoslavication and dissolution of the USA.

Choose your location carefully, and with an eye to the future, as who and what you are is likely to matter with regards to your ability to remain there. I can assure you that the idea of ethnic cleansing and forced relocations on the North American continent is neither a new nor an unthinkable idea. Just ask any American Indian.

Just as there are economic boom and bust cycles, there are longer-term demographic clutter and clean cycles. We are at the peak of the greatest demographic clutter cycle in human history, one that has lasted nearly 200 years. This tends to suggest that we are in for the mother of all clean cycles.

The abortion misstep

Trump mishandles a media ambush on abortion:

  • Host Chris Matthews presses Trump on anti-abortion position, repeatedly asking him, “Should abortion be punished? This is not something you can dodge”
    • “Look, people in certain parts of the Republican Party, conservative Republicans, would say, ‘Yes, it should,’” Trump answers
    • “How about you?” Matthews asks
    • “I would say it’s a very serious problem and it’s a problem we have to decide on. Are you going to send them to jail?” Trump says
    • “I’m asking you,” Matthews says
    • “I am pro-life,” Trump says
    • “How do you actually ban abortion?” Matthews asks
    • “Well, you go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places but we have to ban it,” Trump says
  • Matthews then presses Trump on if he believes there should be punishment for abortion if it were illegal
    • “There has to be some form of punishment,” Trump says
    • “For the woman?” Matthews says; “Yeah,” Trump says, nodding
    • Trump says punishment would “have to be determined”
    • “They’ve
      set the law and frankly the judges, you’re going to have a very big
      election coming up for that reason because you have judges where it’s a
      real tipping point and with the loss of Scalia, who was a very strong
      conservative, this presidential election is going to be very important,”
      Trump says
    • “When you say what’s the law, nobody knows what the law is going to be. It depends on who gets elected,” Trump says

Obviously, this was “gotcha” journalism on Matthews’ part (once he established that he was referring to illegal
abortions he knew he could pin Trump between having to either say women
should be punished or that women could break the law with impunity),
and as we saw last year with the whole Kurds/Quds Hugh Hewitt debacle,
Trump is susceptible to badgering. The other problem here is that it
isn’t clear that Trump truly believes some of the things he’s forced to
say as a Republican candidate, which leads to exchanges like that
recounted above. “Don’t overthink it: Trump doesn’t understand the
pro-life position because he’s not pro-life,” a Cruz aid tweeted. Here’s
Politico with a bit of context:

Trump’s policy idea is a departure from most state abortion
restrictions, which don’t impose penalties on the women who get
abortions. Typically, any penalties are imposed on the physician who
does the procedure.

The anti-abortion movement in recent decades has shied
away from the perception that it is “punishing” women for getting
abortions. Instead, it has focused on penalties for the
physicians who provide them, such as imposing medical or legal
restrictions on their practice. In some rare situations, women have
faced charges associated with abortions they have attempted on their

Having realized this had become a PR fiasco, Trump promptly walked back his comments.

This is a statement released just moments ago, in which the
billionaire revises his statement, calling the women “victims”, and
stating it is doctors who should be held legally responsible for
performing the illegal act:

If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and
the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted
to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other
person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be legally
responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the
life in her womb. My position has not changed – like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.

That’s one of the risks of being outspoken and unafraid. People will lay traps for you, and from time to time, you will step in them. Trump made an initial mistake by hemming and hawing, thereby letting Matthews know that he didn’t have an effective position staked out and encouraging him to press on it. Then, he made the mistake of answering the dilemma posed instead of falling back on the trusty old “I’ve got people for that” evasion.

And finally, he compounded his error by backing down. The correct thing would have been to stand by his correct position in the abstract – women absolutely SHOULD be punished for murdering children  – while providing a practical temporization of it by observing that the primary goal is to save children, and politically, it will be impossible to stop legal abortion in a female-majority democracy if women are punished for having abortions.

In other words, he should have said that while he believes women are responsible for their criminal actions, and ideally should be held responsible for them, in this particular case, the interests of the unborn children should be prioritized and the punishments focused on the abortion providers.

The China train is NOT fine

David Stockman foresees some grim deflationary bubble-popping out of China:

The truth is, the 25 year growth boom in China is just a giant, credit-driven Ponzi.  Any fool can run a central bank printing press until it glows white hot.

At the end of the day, that’s all the Beijing suzerains of red capitalism have actually done. They have not created any of the rudiments of viable capitalism. There are no honest financial markets, no genuinely solvent banks, no market driven allocation of capital and no financial discipline which comes from the right to fail as well as succeed.

There are, for instance, 287 million equity trading accounts in China, most of them opened within the last year and overwhelmingly held by retail punters with sub-high school educations. In less than 12 months they took down upwards of $1 trillion of margin debt through official brokerage channels and a massive network of shadow banking sources including dodgy peer-to-peer lending arrangements.

So fortified, they clambered after a stock market bubble that expanded by $3 trillion in just 60 trading days ending on June 14, and then broke into a panicked selling stampede that liquidated that very same $3 trillion of bottled air in hardly 20 trading days thereafter.

The problem is that the impact of the Chinese deflationary collapse is not likely to be limited to China, and will likely render all of the Western central banks’ efforts to keep the Western economies afloat through zero interest rate policy moot. The central bankers are counting on the Chinese to respond to a popped bubble like they do, with a flood of liquidity propping up the financial gangsters. But the Chinese government is much more likely to jail and shoot the lot of them.

The latter is the Achilles Heel of the whole Ponzi. To arrest capital flight they will have to do the opposite of what they have done for the last 20 years. That is, they will have to shrink the domestic money supply and banking system in order to sell dollars and euros rather expand domestic credit in order to sequester dollar liabilities (i.e. treasury bonds) in the PBOC.

In due course, China will be aflame with campaigns against corruption and enemies of the state as it seeks to cope with its collapsing financial bubbles and endless herds of economic white elephants. Chairman Mao’s axiom as to where state power really comes from——that is, the barrel of a gun—-will become the increasingly evident modus operandi of the communist party rulers.

The resulting deflationary spiral will suck the global economy into its vortex. And Wall Street will go down for the count because this time the Fed will be utterly powerless to reverse the tide.

Just remember, even when the paper money and the digital wealth evaporates, you’re not actually any worse off materially than you were the day before.

We are the spectre

Allum Bokhari thoughtfully provides establishment conservatives with a Guide to the Alt Right:

A specter is haunting the dinner parties, fundraisers and think-tanks of the Establishment: the specter of the “alternative right.” Young, creative and eager to commit secular heresies, they have become public enemy number one to beltway conservatives — more hated, even, than Democrats or loopy progressives.

The alternative right, more commonly known as the alt-right, is an amorphous movement. Some — mostly Establishment types — insist it’s little more than a vehicle for the worst dregs of human society: anti-Semites, white supremacists, and other members of the Stormfront set. They’re wrong.

Previously an obscure subculture, the alt-right burst onto the national political scene in 2015. Although initially small in number, the alt-right has a youthful energy and jarring, taboo-defying rhetoric that have boosted its membership and made it impossible to ignore.

It has already triggered a string of fearful op-eds and hit pieces from both Left and Right: Lefties dismiss it as racist, while the conservative press, always desperate to avoid charges of bigotry from the Left, has thrown these young readers and voters to the wolves as well.

National Review attacked them as bitter members of the white working-class who worship “father-Führer” Donald Trump. Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast attacked Rush Limbaugh for sympathising with the “white supremacist alt-right.” BuzzFeed begrudgingly acknowledged that the movement has a “great feel for how the internet works,” while simultaneously accusing them of targeting “blacks, Jews, women, Latinos and Muslims.”

The amount of column inches generated by the alt-right is a testament to their cultural punch. But so far, no one has really been able to explain the movement’s appeal and reach without desperate caveats and virtue-signalling to readers.

Part of this is down to the alt-right’s addiction to provocation. The alt-right is a movement born out of the youthful, subversive, underground edges of the internet. 4chan and 8chan are hubs of alt-right activity. For years, members of these forums – political and non-political – have delighted in attention-grabbing, juvenile pranks. Long before the alt-right, 4channers turned trolling the national media into an in-house sport.

I leave it to you to decide whether we belong with:

  • The intellectuals
  • The natural conservatives
  • The meme team
  • The 1488ers 

Regardless of their merits and demerits, all of these alt-righters are to be preferred to the cuckservatives and the GOPe sellouts.  I’ve been called “an alt-right figurehead” and I am perfectly fine with that.

And if you’re going to call me a nationalist, that’s fine. Just make sure that you get it right and call me a “red nationalist”.

Mailvox: atheism and the motte-and-bailey analogy

BJ, an atheist, didn’t feel the topic that was debated in On the Existence of Gods was entirely fair.

As an atheist, I agree that Vox won the debate. His arguments were more
persuasive and coherent. Dominic was a good sport, but he was attacking a
castle with no cannons, no towers, no ram, not even a ladder. I don’t think it is a fair debate topic, though that is not Vox’s fault.
It’s what Myers originally claimed and what Dominic agreed to. But it’s
not a fair view on the subject.

This is the standard motte and
bailey for defending theism. You replace ‘proof of god’ with ‘doubt of
science’ and hope no one calls you on it (Dominic didn’t). Then you push
the atheist into admitting they can’t rule out the possibility of the
existence of something which may resemble a god or gods. Most people
consider that a win.

The problem I have with that is no priest
suggests the possibility of a god or gods, they talk about very specific
gods with very specific rules, demand very specific obedience, and ask
for very real money. None of them can prove their god is real but that
is the bailey position; when they are under attack they retreat to the
motte position, which is just “you can’t prove god(s) DON’T exist.”
Kinda weak basis for tithing 10% of my income.

On the one hand, this is an entirely reasonable point with which I agree entirely. In fact, I repeatedly point out, in both On the Existence of Gods and in The Irrational Atheist, that the argument for the existence of the supernatural, the arguement for the existence of Gods, and the argument for the existence of the Creator God as described in the Bible are three entirely different arguments.

One could further observe, with equal justice, that none of these three arguments suffice to establish the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth or the existence of the Holy Trinity as described in the Constantinian revision of the original Nicene Creed.

The problem, however, is that BJ reverses the motte-and-bailey analogy as it is actually observed in the ongoing atheism-Christianity debate. For example, even in the debate he criticizes, Dominic’s sallies were initially directed at all forms of supernaturalism before being knocked back by my response which observed that the supernatural is a set of which gods are merely a subset.

More importantly, there was never any retreat to the Christian bailey. It simply wasn’t the subject at hand; the purpose of the debate was to challenge the atheist claim to the motte claimed by PZ Myers. And as for Dominic supposedly failing to call me on the very rational and substantive grounds to doubt the legitimacy of science, particularly as it relates to science’s ability to address the subject of gods, that was an intelligent tactical move on his part, because I would have easily demolished any attempt to rely upon science in that manner.

As readers of this blog know, I don’t regard science as being even remotely reliable in its own right, I consider its domain to be limited, and there is considerable documentary, logical, and even scientific evidence to support that position. It is certainly an effective tool, when utilized properly, but it is not a plausible arbiter of reality.

In any event, those interested in the subject appear to find On the Existence of Gods to be a worthy addition to the historical discussion, as it is currently #2 in the Atheism category, sandwiched between a pair of books by Richard Dawkins. If you haven’t posted a review yet, I would encourage you to do so.

Rabid Puppies 2016: updates and estimates

Chaos Horizon estimates between 20 percent and 80 percent of the Rabid Puppies will show up to nominate:

If the Rabid Puppies had around 550 votes in 2015, how many will they bring to 2016? Since all those who voted in 2015 can nominate in 2016, I imagine it will be a big number. Even so, I can’t imagine carrying 100% over—the nomination stage is simply less interesting, less publicized, and more difficult to vote in. Let’s imagine three scenarios: an 80% scenario, a 60% scenario, and a 40% scenario. I think 80% is the most likely; this is the group most invested in impacting the Hugos and the most likely to team up again. And since they don’t have to pay an entry fee to participate in the nomination stage . . .

I also think this group will have solid slate discipline, voting the list as Vox Day published it. If you want to factor in some slate decay, I’d do so for lesser known books like Agent of the Imperium.

I, personally, consider this to be an inadvertent affront. I would be surprised if only 80 percent of the Rabid Puppies could be bothered to show up and nominate – and remember, tomorrow is the last day in which you can submit your nominations to MidAmericaCon II. If you haven’t gotten around to it yet, don’t put it off any longer. Do it today.

What Chaos Horizon means by “slate decay” is a simple failure of discipline. Last year, for example, far more Puppies submitted nominations in Best Novel than in other, less important categories or went lone ranger on occasion. And while I can’t see what slate decay could possibly have to do with what is merely a list of recommendations, and by no means a direct order to
anyone, least of all the Rabid Puppies, the Sad Puppies, the Ilk, the
Dread Ilk, the Vile Faceless Minions, or the Evil Legion of Evil, by
their Supreme Dark Lord, I do think one would be remiss were one to fail to fill out the entire nominating ballot.

Speaking of which, I have updated the Rabid Puppies 2016 list with some of the additional information requested by the ballot form, such as the writers, directors, and editors in the Dramatic Presentation and Semiprozine categories. Be sure to check out your ballot before the end of day tomorrow to ensure that your voice is heard properly at the 2016 Hugo Awards. UPDATE: Note that as I have been unable to ascertain Rowena’s eligibility for Best Professional Artist, I am replacing her with LARRY ROSTANT who does some excellent blended work.

There are two big questions that will dictate how the 2016 shortlist turns out. The first is whether the Tor cabal has enacted a whisper slate or not, although the one-year recusal of John Scalzi and others tends to indicate that the Torlings have elected to sit back and anticipate that events will provide the necessary support required to ratify EPH this year. Given the way EPH will ensure them at least one permanent nomination in every category, that would be a reasonable, if surprisingly strategic, approach. The second big question is how many Sad Puppies were converted to Rabid Puppies by the various antics of the Puppykickers; if this has actually happened, the RP turnout could potentially exceed 750.

But that, my dear canines, dolorous and corybantic, is entirely up to you. By the way, be sure to save the copy of your ballot that MidAmericaCon sends you after you enter your nominations. We will need them in order to verify the announced results.

UPDATE: MidAmeriCon II ‏has announced that the shortlist ballot will be announced on 26th April. Voting will open 15th May and close July 31st. Hugo/No Awards ceremony 20th August.

An ominous pattern

Consider the following facts:

  1. Russia has withdrawn elements of its tactical forces in Syria, while leaving most of its anti-aircraft and strategic air strike capabilities in place.
  2. ISIS lost control of Palmyra to Assad and the Syrian army.
  3. For over a month, there have been repeated stories about a joint Saudi-Turkish alliance preparing to invade Syria, ostensibly to fight ISIS, but actually to attack Assad and the legitimate Syrian government.
  4. The US government just withdrew all family members of U.S. troops and diplomats from its installations in Turkey, ostensibly out of fears of terrorist attack.
  5. The NATO treaty requires the USA to defend Turkey if attacked.
  6. Donald Trump has, for the first time in decades, raised serious questions, in public, about US membership in NATO.
  7. ISIS is a creation, at least in part of the USA, and the US military made no serious attempts to defeat ISIS in Syria whereas the Russian-Syrian-Iranian alliance managed to repeatedly defeat ISIS and drive it back in just 22 weeks of operations.

What does this suggest? I think it indicates that all sides are preparing for a Turko-Syrian war, which may be a proxy for a US-Russian war in the same way that the war in the Crimea was. I’m not certain whether the US is actively on the side of Turkey or if it is washing its hands of what looks like an increasingly unstable pair of proxies in Turkey and the Islamic State. For the sake of global stability, I sincerely hope the latter is the case.

There are some indications that the US has wisely decided to stay out of it. Just over a month ago, the American Free Press reported:

Moscow has made it clear to Washington it will retaliate if the Turks send forces into Syria. Moscow has made it clear to Washington it will retaliate if the Turks send forces into Syria. The Russians are convinced the Saudis are pressing Turkey to so something militarily before Russian airpower eliminates all the extreme Islamic groups the Turks and Saudis have been supporting. The source says NATO leaders in Europe have told Washington that Turkey and the Saudis will have to go it alone if they engage Russia.

Also, the fact that the US refused Turkey’s demands that it cut ties with a Kurdish group fighting in Syria bodes well for avoiding a US-Russian war. The fact that Turkey might also be facing a civil war in its south may be an important factor in its apparent decision to get directly involved in Syria before the government forces wipe out ISIS there.

In any event, the recent withdrawal of Russian and US personnel suggests that things are likely to heat up in Syria soon. It is worth noting, too, that these recent events show how insanely wrong John McCain was to advocate expanding NATO to include Ukraine, as that would have either a) shattered NATO or b) triggered a US-Russian war last year. The fact that the USA appears to be leaving its NATO ally Turkey to go to war on its own tends to indicate the former.

Michelle Fields quadruples down

Keep this in mind when you’re dealing with a woman. They NEVER stop doubling down, because they simply can’t believe that they’ll have to deal with the consequences. Michelle Fields is actually pressing charges against Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.

“Mr. Lewandowski was issued a Notice to Appear and given a court date. He was not arrested. Mr. Lewandowski is absolutely innocent of this charge,” Hicks said. “He will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court. He is completely confident that he will be exonerated. Mr. Lewandowski is represented by Scott Richardson of The Law Office of Scott N. Richardson, P.A. in West Palm Beach, and Kendall Coffey of Coffey Burlington in Miami.Inquiries are to be directed to Mr. Richardson’s office.”

Setting aside the fact that she claimed to have been grabbed on the UPPER arm and the bruises she showed were on the lower arm, there are still some significant doubts concerning who touched her in the first place.

As some have suggested, Trump’s response should be to require all members of the media to sit in a pen, for their own protection.