Saturday, July 24, 2021

Underground Houston


In 1981, I accepted a position with Aramco Services Company (ASC) in Houston TX.  'Aramco' is derived from ARabian AMerican Oil COmpany.  Aramco and its sister companies are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the House of Saud.  During the interview process leading up to ASC offering me a job, the recruiter had me follow him from one ASC office to another a few blocks away in downtown Houston.  To do this, we took the elevator to the lobby and an escalator to the basement.  From there, we walked through what was effectively an underground strip mall, corridors leading from one downtown building to another, and lined with shops and restaurants.  It was a surprise because I had never seen anything like this before in my life.

The story I was told was that sometime in the recent past (pre-1981), the owner of one building opened his basement as rental space for retail establishments.  The owner of the building across the street took notice of the action and did likewise.  At some point, one of them proposed cutting a path beneath the city street to join the two spaces, and workers in building A could then get to the shops and offices in building B without subjecting themselves to 100°F temperatures and 98% humidity.  As building owners one by one converted their basements to retail/rental space, new tunnels were added until today, the Houston tunnel system connects 95 separate buildings, is 6 miles long, and it is a piece of cake to get so lost that your only hope of rescue is to get to street level and find out where (exactly) you are.

It almost qualifies as 'a tourist attraction'.  It was stunningly extensive when I left the area in 1985.  It was more elaborate when I worked on contract for EXXON/Mobil in 1998, and it has certainly gotten longer since then.  It was and is literally possible to walk crosstown without ever risking being rained on.  In fact, when I worked for Aramco in the 80s, I often went to lunch with the local Mensa group by walking (underground) from One Allen Center at Dallas and Smith to The Shops at Houston Center, San Jacinto at McKinney.  It was a longer walk than it would have been at street-level, but it was air conditioned all the way.


Friday, July 16, 2021

Pot Legalization Looms


Congressional Democrats are responding positively to a call from the Biden White House to legalize and reschedule marijuana and to expunge all non-violent federal pot-possession convictions.

It's about time.  This has been a plank of the Libertarian Party Platform for 49 years — a tad shorter than the lifespan of the actual 'War On Drugs'.  How nice that someone in D.C. seems to still have a shred of common sense.

This, of course, is bad news for the Republican Party.  Most legacy Republicans still think of pot as 'the Devil's lettuce' or 'demon weed'.  Well, they better get religion pretty fast or they're going to be left in the dust of the Democrats when all those former felons suddenly discover that they can now vote.  And who, pray tell, do you think those former felons will vote forHmm...?  Will it be, do you think, the party of Richard Nixon who started the brutal and ill-fated War On Drugs and began shipping Hippies off to the Graybar Hotel?  Will it be, do you think, the party of George W. Bush who ramped up that war (along with a few others)?  The GOP might save themselves — somewhat — if they're able to successfully get out the word that William Jefferson Clinton (who didn't inhale, let us recall) put more pot smokers in federal slam than any other President before or since.

No, the GOP's single chance will be to publicly congratulate Senator Charles ("Chuck is also a verb") Schumer on a courageous position and then get foursquare behind the effort such that Pot Legalization and Rescheduling passes the Senate 100-0 and the House 435-0.  Anything short of that is going to label the GOP as 'stuck in the past' (which is true, but they don't have to prove it every day, do they?)


Saturday, July 10, 2021

MartyrMade Twitter Feed


The following is a copy of the Twitter feed from user MartyrMade which may be gone by the time you read this.  The viewpoint appears to be from one who is neutral regarding left-right politics.  It contains several observations that are important for people on both sides of that divide to be aware of.


I think I’ve had discussions w/enough Boomer-tier Trump supporters who believe the 2020 election was fraudulent to extract a general theory about their perspective.  It is also the perspective of most of the people at the Capitol on 1/6, and probably even Trump himself.

  • Most believe some or all of the theories involving midnight ballots, voting machines, etc, but what you find when you talk to them is that, while they’ll defend those positions w/info they got from Hannity or Breitbart or whatever, they’re not particularly attached to them.

  • Here are the facts — actual, confirmed facts — that shape their perspective:  1) The FBI/etc spied on the 2016 Trump campaign using evidence manufactured by the Clinton campaign.  We now know that all involved knew it was fake from Day 1 (see: Brennan’s July 2016 memo, etc).

  • These are Tea Party people.  The types who give their kids a pocket Constitution for their birthday and have Founding Fathers memes in their bios.  The intel community spying on a presidential campaign using fake evidence (incl forged documents) is a big deal to them.

  • Everyone involved lied about their involvement as long as they could.  We only learned the DNC paid for the manufactured evidence because of a court order.  Comey denied on TV knowing the DNC paid for it, when we have emails from a year earlier proving that he knew.

  • This was true with everyone, from CIA Dir Brennan & Adam Schiff — who were on TV saying they’d seen clear evidence of collusion w/Russia, while admitting under oath behind closed doors that they hadn’t — all the way down the line.  In the end we learned that it was ALL fake.

  • At first, many Trump ppl were worried there must be some collusion, because every media & intel agency wouldn’t make it up out of nothing.  When it was clear that they had made it up, people expected a reckoning, and shed many illusions about their gov’t when it didn’t happen.

  • We know as fact:  a) The Steele dossier was the sole evidence used to justify spying on the Trump campaign,  b) The FBI knew the Steele dossier was a DNC op,  c) Steele’s source told the FBI the info was unserious,  d) they did not inform the court of any of this and kept spying.

  • Trump supporters know the collusion case front and back.  They went from worrying the collusion must be real, to suspecting it might be fake, to realizing it was a scam, then watched as every institution — agencies, the press, Congress, academia — gaslit them for another year.

  • Worse, collusion was used to scare people away from working in the administration.  They knew their entire lives would be investigated.  Many quit because they were being bankrupted by legal fees.  The DoJ, press, & gov’t destroyed lives and actively subverted an elected admin.

  • This is where people whose political identity was largely defined by a na├»ve belief in what they learned in Civics class began to see the outline of a Regime that crossed all institutional boundaries.  Because it had stepped out of the shadows to unite against an interloper.

  • GOP propaganda still has many of them thinking in terms of partisan binaries, but A LOT of Trump supporters see that the Regime is not partisan.  They all know that the same institutions would have taken opposite sides if it was a Tulsi Gabbard vs Jeb Bush election.

  • It’s hard to describe to people on the left (who are used to thinking of gov’t as a conspiracy… Watergate, COINTELPRO, WMD, etc) how shocking & disillusioning this was for people who encourage their sons to enlist in the Army, and hate ppl who don’t stand for the Anthem.

  • They could have managed the shock if it only involved the government.  But the behavior of the corporate press is really what radicalized them.  They hate journalists more than they hate any politician or gov’t official, because they feel most betrayed by them.

  • The idea that the press is driven by ratings/sensationalism became untenable.  If that were true, they’d be all over the Epstein story.  The corporate press is the propaganda arm of the Regime they now see in outline.  Nothing anyone says will ever make them unsee that, period.

  • This is profoundly disorienting.  Many of them don’t know for certain whether ballots were faked in November 2020, but they know for absolute certain that the press, the FBI, etc would lie to them if there was.  They have every reason to believe that, and it’s probably true.

  • They watched the press behave like animals for four years.  Tens of millions of people will always see Kavanaugh as a gang rapist, based on nothing, because of CNN.  And CNN seems proud of that.  They led a lynch mob against a high school kid.  They cheered on a summer of riots.

  • They always claimed the media had liberal bias: fine, whatever.  They still thought the press would admit truth if they were cornered.  Now they don’t.  It’s a different thing to watch them invent stories [out of] whole cloth in order to destroy regular lives and spark mass violence.

  • Time Mag told us that during the 2020 riots, there were weekly conference calls involving, among others, leaders of the protests, the local officials who refused to stop them, and media people who framed them for political effect.  In Ukraine we call that a color revolution.

  • Throughout the summer, Democrat governors took advantage of COVID to change voting procedures.  It wasn’t just the mail-ins (they lowered signature matching standards, etc).  After the collusion scam, the fake impeachment, Trump ppl expected shenanigans by now.

  • Re: “fake impeachment”, we now know that Trump’s request for Ukraine to cooperate w/the DOJ regarding Biden’s $ activities in Ukraine was in support of an active investigation being pursued by the FBI and Ukraine AG at the time, and so a completely legitimate request.

  • Then you get the Hunter laptop scandal.  Big Tech ran a full-on censorship campaign against a major newspaper to protect a political candidate.  Period.  Everyone knows it, all of the Tech companies now admit it was a “mistake” — but, ya know, the election’s over, so who cares?

  • Goes w/o saying, but: If the NY Times had Don Jr’s laptop, full of pics of him smoking crack and engaging in group sex, lots of lurid family drama, emails describing direct corruption and backed up by the CEO of the company they were using, the NYT wouldn’t have been banned.

  • Think back:  Stories about Trump being pissed on by Russian prostitutes and blackmailed by Putin were promoted as fact, and the only evidence was a document paid for by his opposition and disavowed by its source.  The NY Post was banned for reporting on true information.

  • The reaction of Trump ppl to all this was not, “no fair!”  That’s how they felt about Romney’s “binders of women” in 2012.  This is different.  Now they see, correctly, that every institution is captured by ppl who will use any means to exclude them from the political process.

  • And yet they showed up in record numbers to vote.  He got 13m more votes than in 2016, 10m more than Clinton got!  As election night dragged on, they allowed themselves some hope.  But when the four critical swing states (and only those states) went dark at midnight, they knew.

  • Over the ensuing weeks, they got shuffled around by grifters and media scam artists selling them conspiracy theories.  They latched onto one, then another increasingly absurd theory as they tried to put a concrete name on something very real.

  • Media & Tech did everything to make things worse.  Everything about the election was strange — the changes to procedure, unprecedented mail-in voting, the delays, etc — but rather than admit that and make everything transparent, they banned discussion of it (even in DMs!).

  • Everyone knows that, just as Don Jr’s laptop would’ve been the story of the century, if everything about the election dispute was the same, except the parties were reversed, suspicions about the outcome would’ve been Taken Very Seriously.  See 2016 for proof.

  • Even the courts’ refusal of the case gets nowhere w/them, because of how the opposition embraced mass political violence.  They’ll say, w/good reason:  What judge will stick his neck out for Trump knowing he’ll be destroyed in the media as a violent mob burns down his house?

  • It’s a fact, according to Time Magazine, that mass riots were planned in cities across the country if Trump won.  Sure, they were “protests”, but they were planned by the same people as during the summer, and everyone knows what it would have meant.  Judges have families, too.

  • Forget the ballot conspiracies.  It’s a fact that governors used COVID to unconstitutionally alter election procedures (the Constitution states that only legislatures can do so) to help Biden to make up for a massive enthusiasm gap by gaming the mail-in ballot system.

  • They knew it was unconstitutional, it’s right there in plain English.  But they knew the cases wouldn’t see court until after the election.  And what judge will toss millions of ballots because a governor broke the rules?  The threat of mass riots wasn’t implied, it was direct.

    • a) The entrenched bureaucracy & security state subverted Trump from Day 1, 
    • b) The press is part of the operation, 
    • c) Election rules were changed, 
    • d) Big Tech censors opposition, 
    • e) Political violence is legitimized & encouraged, 
    • f) Trump is banned from social media.

  • They were led down some rabbit holes, but they are absolutely right that their gov’t is monopolized by a Regime that believes they are beneath representation, and will observe no limits to keep them [from] getting it.  Trump fans should be happy he lost; it might’ve kept him alive.


Monday, June 21, 2021

End Times


I recently had a set-to with my cardiologist.  While sitting in the examining room, I remarked out loud that it seemed silly that I, fully vaccinated, still needed to wear a mask, especially considering the size of the CoVid-19 particle compared to the limits of an N95 mask.  Specifically, the particle is about 1/4 the size of the smallest particle the mask will filter out.  It goes through the mask material like sand through a cyclone fence.

My cardiologist basically 'flew off the handle', accusing me of being a moron who didn't understand why masks were so important.  Then he walked out of the room, my examination still unfinished, telling me "Call me when you've changed your mind."

I came very close to leaving, demanding that the clinic not charge me for the visit since the doctor had refused to treat me as a patient.  Before I did, he wandered back into the room to finish the exam.

Those who reject the notion that a cloth mask can do much to defend against an aerosolized virus are called 'science deniers' by those who hold the opposing view, but I think the situation is exactly reversed.  There are several peer-reviewed studies that suggest masks are essentially useless against CoVid-19, and none that suggest otherwise.

Likewise, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was touted early on (primarily by 'the right') as an effective prophylactic when applied before the onset of serious respiratory symptoms.  The mainstream media (MSM) pooh-poohed this idea, largely, it seems, because Trump was for it.  It didn't matter that HCQ was a 70-year-old formulation on which the patent had expired, and that could be manufactured by any reasonably-well-equipped pharmacology lab for peanuts.  Or perhaps that did matter.  If HCQ had taken hold, there would not have been the opportunity for Big Pharma to make billions (with a 'b') producing vaccines whose effectiveness is suspect and whose long-term consequences are unknown.  (HCQ has even been banned for use against CoVid-19 because of a series of 'studies' where it was shown conclusively that it had no value 'curing' the virus in patients where the virus had already gained a foothold.  This was not a surprise to those clinics where it had been studied by applying it in the early stages of the disease.  Nobody had ever claimed it was a cure; it merely blocked disease progression during onset.  Most Americans didn't understand the difference.)

The Ivermectin (IVM) story replicates the HCQ story above save only that IVM is somewhat more expensive to buy than HCQ.

To make it economically feasible for Big Pharma to produce vaccines for Operation Warp Speed, vaccine producers have been, themselves, immunized from lawsuits that might arise should those vaccines produce unpleasant side-effects.  You can't sue them if something goes wrong.

It occurs to me that anyone who doesn't have to take the vaccine, shouldn't.  What will happen if one of the as-yet-unknown side-effects of the vaccine is a shortening of the human life span by 5 or 10 or 15 years?  (That might go a long way toward helping Social Security weather the coming economic downturn(s).)  What will happen if the as-yet-unknown side-effect of the vaccine is a reduction in human fertility by 10% or 15%?  What will happen if the as-yet-unknown side-effect of the vaccine is an increase in stillbirths?  These are all possibilities because there has not been time to study any long-term effects.  What will certainly not happen is that any court will allow a civil suit for damages for any of these potential calamities.  We are just now hearing of an increased incidence of myocarditis among young people who have taken the vaccines, and at least one case of a 14-year-old who suffered a heart attack within two days of getting vaccinated.

All of this for a disease with a 99.7% chance of survival.  Have we become a nation of cowards?  I think it's clear that we have become a nation of idiots.


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

California AWCA Struck Down


I'm just going to drop this here and let any interested reader draw their own conclusions.


UPDATE:  6-22-2021

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals has extended the judge's original 30-day stay indefinitely, but didn't, apparently, reverse the ruling, although it's difficult to imagine a different reason than that the panel disagrees with the ruling's holding that the law was unconstitutional.


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Well, well, well...


So, the EU has just reached an agreement with UK on how they will deal with each other post-BRexit.  According to Deutsche Welle:

"The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) was the result of nine long months of negotiations and set up a relationship of zero tariffs and zero quotas on goods traded between the EU and UK." 
If this sounds like the EU is going to treat UK as if they were still part of the team, then you and I read this the same way.

And why wouldn't they?  Trade is how wealth is acquired.  If you have a pie and I have five dollars and we trade those, you now have five dollars that you value above having a pie, and I have a pie that I value above those five dollars.  We both gained in that transaction.  Wait... what?

Yes, unless governments get in the way to impose taxes and tariffs, trade — that is 'free trade' — always results in profits to the traders.  Taxes and tariffs steal some or all of that profit (or more) and funnel it to the government so it can be wasted on things you normally wouldn't spend your own money for.  People who cheered Trump's tariff policy will by now be scratching their heads: "What in tarnation is he talking about?"

The EU seems to have decided that trading with UK (and making profit from trading with UK) is a better idea than cutting off trade with a country that has Chunnel access to the Continent, and is even better than taxing their own citizens to impel them to reject UK produce (that, until a few months ago, was all perfectly fine).  One wonders what sort of drug they're on that induces such common sense?  Perhaps we can get prescriptions for our own U.S. politicians?  Would they take the medicine?  Forget it, Jake, it's D.C.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

50 Laboratories


Back on February 7, 2017, I wrote about problem-solving using massively-parallel trial-and-error and suggested that this method almost always results in the optimal outcome, and gets very close to it when it misses the bulls-eye.

We just went through a period where this method was applied, and it has (apparently) worked as expected.  Fifty states each dealt with Covid-19 using a handful of models such that we now have several different solutions, each demonstrating different levels of success.

New York, New Jersey, and California, along with several others, went the 'hard lockdown' route, while others, notably Florida and Texas, eschewed mask mandates and forced isolation.  The results are in: lockdowns don't work if the desired result is the health of the populace; mask mandates seem to have no observable effect on infection rates; forced isolation is (as was predicted early-on) a recipe for economic catastrophe and very little in the way of 'preventing infection'.  The CDC is now admitting that the chance of acquiring Covid-19 from hard surfaces is approximately zero.  If only someone would have been aware of how useless most of these draconian non-solutions were earlier in the process!

Well, it turns out that someone was aware of how useless mask mandates, hard lockdowns, and economy-crippling isolation measures were.  By and large, what the mainstream media sneeringly refer to as 'right-wing media' was on this case within weeks of the initial outbreaks, and they warned whoever would listen that (a) Covid-19 was far less dangerous than 'the experts' were saying it was, and (b) that there was no reason to torpedo the economy in order to keep people healthy.  In fact, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and NJ Governor Phil Murphy both sent infected seniors back into the nursing homes from which they had come, the better to infect any seniors who had thus far escaped the virus.  The instant this happened, 'right-wing media' was on the issue 'like white on rice' warning (as if no one could figure this out for themselves) that placing infected persons in close proximity to uninfected persons was an excellent way to infect the uninfected.  Those warnings were dismissed as conspiracy theories, but we now know that they were something else.

The left is keen on 'common-sense gun laws', but they're not quite as keen on common-sense health policies, and now I think we can speculate as to 'why'.  Common-sense gun laws (which are thoroughly divorced from common-sense) give them more power.  Common-sense health policies take power away.  The common denominator is that whatever gives the left power is good, and whatever takes power away is bad.

Let that sink in for a moment.