Be careful whom you hire

It rather looks as if General Flynn’s original legal team was working for the other side:

After Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal investigators, representatives of multiple congressional committees with oversight responsibility for national security matters asked Flynn’s lawyers if Flynn would testify before Congress in exchange for a congressional grant of immunity. Robert Kelner, Flynn’s attorney at the time, immediately dismissed the overtures, sources told The Federalist. During one conversation, Kelner allegedly responded that in situations like the one facing Flynn, the prosecution essentially “owns” the defendant and added that he would be unlikely to pursue congressional testimony without the approval of former Spygate Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office.

Flynn was not told of these immunity conversations with congressional officials before they were rejected on his behalf.

If you haven’t read The Trial of Roger Stone yet, you may not realize what a Potemkin Village the U.S. legal system is. It’s no more legitimate than the infamous Stalin-era Soviet show trials. And you can’t expect a team that has been paid to throw the game to put up much of a defense.


And then they came for Tolkien

No, the SJWs not intending to police anything. They’re not intending to ban anything. They only seek to educate and critique:

I want to preemptively say that wokescolds like me are not coming for your favorite media or going to police your enjoyment. Banning anything is not on the table. I seek to educate and critique. To paraphrase Anita Sarkeesian, we can enjoy media while being critical of its problematic aspects. Orcs are here to stay. Nobody is going to take away your Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance novels.

But understand that colonialism and its tropes are the original sin of the modern age. You can’t divorce anything from it. Time marches on and so has fantasy literature. Fantasy literature and its derived role playing games have, like everything, been touched by colonialist narratives. It is important to recognize that. I love fantasy. I even love elves and orcs but to think that race science bullshit isn’t part of its DNA is ignorance.

The way Orcs are depicted in fantasy literature mirrors the racist tropes and narratives about indigenous and black people that was used to justify colonialism and slavery. At various times there were ideas like the Curse of Ham, to Mormon views that black people and native americans were once white but cursed by God, to later eugenic and race science views. All of this was in the zeitgeist when Orcs were imagined by the pioneers of the genre like Tolkien. Elves too are evocative of race science mythology about a lost hyperborean master race that Aryans are descended from.

Excuses about how Orcs are corrupted elves then, fall flat, because that to is also a trope of racist mythology. Ultimately Orcs aren’t real. They are made up. But they were not made up in a vacuum. When they were made up, they mirrored the white man’s burden narrative. And the passage above is alarmingly similar to things written about human beings in those times.

I would say Eberron, Warcraft 3, and Elder Scrolls all made strides in reimagining Orcs Elder Scrolls also does a good job not making orcs canon fodder villains that are fair game for anyone to kill. I feel that Eberron got this right. The designer didn’t make fantasy counterpart cultures and reimagined the monstrous races. None of them, except for literal demons, are presented as inherently evil and Orcs have a druidic order that protects the world from the plane of madness. But even that is going to be fruit of a poisoned tree to some degree but so is everything.

None of this is to say you can’t enjoy DnD or even include Orcs in your game or cosplay as Orcs, but understand that there is a history there and that history might make people uncomfortable.

Translation: #Orcgate has begun. There is literally nothing they will not seek to take away from you.

I have a simple, one-word response: WAAAGH!



Google guilty of defamation

Courts outside the USA are increasingly uninterested in hearing the social media platforms assert that they are above the civil law:

Google has been ordered to pay $40,000 in damages to a Melbourne lawyer after a Supreme Court of Victoria ruling found the internet giant was a publisher, and had defamed the man. In today’s ruling, Justice Melinda Richards has determined that Google was a publisher, despite denials by the company.

The case centred on articles and images published by The Age newspaper in 2004, after Mr Defteros was charged with conspiracy over the murder of Carl Williams and other underworld figures.

At the time, Mr Defteros ran a legal firm in Melbourne whose clients included gangland figures.

The charges were dropped the following year, but Mr Defteros had surrendered his practising certificate for three years.

Mr Defteros argued that in 2016 and 2017, searches on Google continued to turn up articles and hyperlinks to web material that defamed him, including an entry in the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

During a trial last year, Google’s lawyers had argued it was not the publisher of the material and it had not defamed Mr Defteros.

It submitted that the automation of its search engines meant it was not an intentional communicator of words or images, particularly if a user clicked through to another website.

Justice Richards rejected this in her ruling today.

“The Google search engine … is not a passive tool,” she wrote in her 98-page judgement.

“It is designed by humans who work for Google to operate in the way it does, and in such a way that identified objectionable content can be removed, by human intervention.

“I find that Google becomes a publisher of the search results that its search engine returns to a user who enters a search query.”

She also found that providing the hyperlink within the search results “amounted to publication of the webpage”.

Unfortunately, they can still get away with their curated weaponization with complete impunity in the USA thanks to the federal laws that let them do the publisher-not publisher dance and state laws that let them use anti-SLAAP laws to impose costs on their victims.



A belated convert

Grandpa Lampshade has come around to the idea that there is more to the concept of the gamma behavioral pattern than the mere desire to devalue disagreement:

Just wanted to say that I thought that the whole “gamma” thing came off a bit like “Anyone who doesn’t agree with me = gamma”

I was wrong.

The patterns are like the “Well actually” meme; instead of simply pointing out where one could be incorrect about something, it always seems to be some form of semantics and always framed as a “gotcha” from a standpoint of superiority.

This is precisely why I no longer tolerate any mention of me, my motivations, my inclinations, or my objectives in the general discourse here. Because it’s not all about me and there isn’t a single idea that can be negated by my personal flaws and failings or proven by my positive attributes and accomplishments.

Argument ad hominem isn’t merely a logical fallacy, not infrequently it is utilized as a dishonest rhetorical attempt to distract, discredit, and derail.

A government employee who has been responsible for public outreach during the pandemic adds his two cents on how to distinguish between people who are legitimately asking questions and those who are there to argue:

If the questioner refuses to click on a link, call a number, or take any effort at all to read or know the answer, then they are there to argue. Many times they have already read the answer and simply want to gripe. Other times, the answer is irrelevant and they just want to argue. They may have already asked multiple people and are digging for the answer they want to hear in order to pit different groups against each, and once again, argue.

They waste everyone’s time and that is their actual goal.


Disrupted transmissions

It’s been fairly obvious to most game developers for years that in-game communications are a relatively secure system for communications, simply because they have a sort of code built into them. And since terrorists and other bad actors have been known to use online games as a communications platform, it should not be surprising that the Deep State has too.

If Q is correct, one game being used for that purpose was Star Wars: Commander. Certainly some of the in-game exchanges there appear to be unrelated to the game nominally being played. So, it may be significant to note that it is being shut down as of June.

GAME CLOSURE ANNOUNCEMENT

We have come to the decision to shut down Star Wars™: Commander on June 12, 2020. As of March 13, 2020, all in-game purchases have been suspended. Star Wars: Commander will remain playable until 11am GMT on June 12, 2020.

I would expect that there is also a considerable amount of money-laundering taking place in the case of some of the more inexplicably successful online games.


Introducing Hypergamouse

Or rather, reintroducing it. This little comic strip about Game features the delightful art of [insert pen name that ISN’T shared with a porn star here Lacey Fairchild] and will run every Tuesday. Readers of the old Alpha Game blog will recognize the first few strips, but we’re already writing brand new material that I’m certain you will appreciate.

We will soon be running Webtoons every workday, thanks to the Alt-Hero backers and Arkhaven subscribers.


Theory vs practice

It’s not a good sign that every argument in support of the USA’s continued global ascendancy is based on pure theory:

In a recently published book, Why Nations Fail, economists Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson characterize China’s ruling elites as “extractive”—parasitic and corrupt—and predict that Chinese economic growth will soon falter and decline, while America’s “inclusive” governing institutions have taken us from strength to strength. They argue that a country governed as a one-party state, without the free media or checks and balances of our own democratic system, cannot long prosper in the modern world. The glowing tributes this book has received from a vast array of America’s most prominent public intellectuals, including six Nobel laureates in economics, testifies to the widespread popularity of this optimistic message.

First, there is no ruling elite as extractive and parasitic, and few as observably corrupt, as the current US ruling elite.. Second, these theoretical strengths are mostly imaginary and based on the historical American posterity rather than actual US demographics. Consider the reality:

Over the last few years one of the most ambitious Chinese projects has been a plan to create the world’s largest and most advanced network of high-speed rail transport, an effort that absorbed a remarkable $200 billion of government investment. The result was the construction of over 6,000 miles of track, a total probably now greater than that of all the world’s other nations combined.

Meanwhile, America has no high-speed rail whatsoever, despite decades of debate and vast amounts of time and money spent on lobbying, hearings, political campaigns, planning efforts, and environmental-impact reports. China’s high-speed rail system may be far from perfect, but it actually exists, while America’s does not. Annual Chinese ridership now totals over 25 million trips per year.

Of course, the most significant development of the last decade is one that has gone almost entirely unnoticed by everyone, which is of course, the Chinese rejection of one faction of the US ruling elite’s gracious offer to transfer the benefits of their wise and impartial guidance from the USA to China. It would appear the Chinese elite is content with their extant extractive abilities.

It increasingly appears that Ron Unz had it right back in 2012 when he cast his vote with Richard Lynn:

Richard Lynn, a prominent British scholar, has been correct in predicting for a decade or longer that the global dominance of the European-derived peoples is rapidly drawing to its end and within the foreseeable future the torch of human progress and world leadership will inevitably pass into Chinese hands.

I don’t know about you, but I, for one, hope that other dark meat tastes a lot better than it looks.


Mailvox: death in Holland

A reader analyzes the death rates in The Netherlands and concludes that corona-chan is not a complete hoax:

I did an analysis of deaths in 2020 in the Netherlands. Long story short, it’s not all fake, something is killing people over 65 beyond demographic expectations. The Netherlands collects meticulous population data and has made historical data publicly available. I’ve combined general population numbers and deaths from the past 25 years to see if 2020 carries an increased risk of death.

Goal: Compare the expected vs actual deaths in 2020 across 3 age groups

  • 0-65 years old
  • 65-80 years old
  • 80+ years old

Method:

  • We know how many people died in each age group, every week, for the past 24 years.
  • We know the total size of each age group for the past 24 years.
  • Thus we can estimate the weekly chance of dying for each age group, for the past 24 years
  • We can take the average weekly chance of dying and apply it to current population to estimate the deaths per age group

Observations:

  • Morbidity/mortality has decreased the past 24 years, most visible in the 80+ age group (13{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3} yearly mortality in 1995 vs 10.8{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3} in 2019)
  • 2019 was a mild year across age groups
  • Winter of 2017/2018 had a nasty flu season around week 10
  • Winter of 1999/2000 had a nasty flu season around week 1, comparable to the peak in 2020
  • Deaths in 0-65 age group was 3{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3} less than compared to past 3 year average, and 14{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3} less than the 24 year average
  • Deaths in 65-80 age group was 10{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3} higher than past 3-year average, but still 14{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3} less than 24-year average
  • Deaths in 80+ age group was 6{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3} higher than past 3-year average and 2{de336c7190f620554615b98f51c6a13b1cc922a472176e2638084251692035b3} higher than the 24-year average
  • Peak in 2020 is outside of the regular flu season

Translation: the coronavirus was worse than the regular flu, but not massively worse. Certainly not bad enough to justify the global pandemic panic. Which again tends to point us toward the conclusion that there is something else happening here.


Jordanetics happened

A writer at New Republic wonders whatever happened to Jordan Peterson, the erstwhile self-appointed secular saviour of humanity:

The Canadian psychology professor Jordan Peterson has been described as “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world.” He is an exponent of the Jungian concept of the hero’s journey, in which an ordinary person heeds a call to adventure and goes out into the world to struggle and suffer, only to return with heightened self-knowledge. (He has described himself, without apparent irony, as being “raised and toughened in the frigid wastelands of Northern Alberta.”) His stern ethos of self-help and bootstrapping has made him a darling of the so-called intellectual dark web, and a gateway drug for countless budding right-wingers who have stumbled upon one of his lectures on YouTube.

So it was something of a surprise to learn, in early February, that Peterson had spent eight days in a medically induced coma at an unnamed clinic in Russia…. If Peterson’s sad story has a moral, it’s that a drug problem is neither a dragon to be slain nor a sin to be ashamed of. It’s a mundane health problem that should be treated scientifically, without heroics.

I tend to disagree. The real moral is this: it is unwise to elevate gammas to positions of leadership, intellectual or otherwise. Peterson always knew he was a fraud, so the psychological shock of being so brutally and publically exposed as an intellectual charlatan was more than he could take without retreating into chemical reinforcement of his delusion bubble, especially when his wife’s reported illness deprived him of her maternalesque support.

To say that I was not surprised by Peterson’s retreat from the public stage would be an understatement. I fully expected some sort of theatrical dramatics from Peterson, I simply didn’t know what form it would take. I was assuming it would probably be some sort of fake overdose on Vitamin C or something equally ridiculous. “Definitely not meth” most certainly exceeded my expectations.

Predictive models. It’s all about the predictive models.