Friday, January 8, 2021

Moving forward

I'm wondering about a private effort to audit the voting records of the contested states, not to put President Trump back in office, but to put pressure on legislatures and governors to fix the system.  Right now it is quite clear that the mainstream media will just ignore or mock any suggestion of voter fraud, in spite of the clear statistical evidence that there were all sorts of shenanigans.  So what would this private foundation do?

1) Hand check every ballot cast for legitimacy when it comes to deceased voters, out of state voters, illegal immigrant voters, etc.

2) Hand check ballots for compliance with the laws of the state regarding legitimate ballots (signatures, witnesses, etc)

3) Hand check ballots for illegal photocopies, etc

4) Cross check physical ballots against voting tallies.

5) Compile an actual list of laws violated during the election, whether federal or state

6) Analyze the results of various voting machine software audits to determine what level of issues there may have been

Conclusion: Create a single recommendation list for adoption by states on how to secure voting with clear evidence (no Krakens to be released here) demonstrating the flaws in our system.

Right now we have 33 states that are some sort of majority Republican government, all of whom should be open to reforms, if we can get past the "nutty conspiracy theorist" label that the left and the mainstream media are pushing.  It would take money, but then again, what else are we going to do with that money other than send it to conservative politicians who won't get elected because of fraud?

It also has to be led by someone who isn't a grifter, out to make money off the rubes by saying the right things.  That is, in part, what happened to the Tea Party movement.  It was taken over by grifters and collapsed under their weight.

Friday, December 25, 2020

What are the interesting people reading?

 Wow.  Just looked at the left side of my blog and realized that it is severely out of date.  I refer, of course, to this:

That was some time ago.  So a quick recap, a quick update, and then perhaps I just delete that sidebar so that I don't have to keep it up-to-date.

Thing 1: Listening to Trans Siberian Orchestra's "The Lost Christmas Eve" on youtube as I type.

Charlie Cooke's book stands the test of time.  Not a typical political book full of common tropes about current issues and politicians, this book lays out the case for a variety of conservative/libertarian ideas.  Charlie is also one of the anti-Trumpers whose opinion I actually respect.  For the past four years, although he has been opposed to Trump on "fitness" grounds he never, that I heard, devolved into reflexive anti-Trumpism that many did (can you say Lincoln Project).  If he had an objection to whatever PDT was doing it was well thought out and effectively communicated.  I disagreed with him on much but never felt that I was being talked down to.

Charles Murray is another author whose works have become a part of my political library.  If one was building a political philosophy from the ground up one could do worse than to have a complete collection of Murray's works on the shelf.  Other authors that I would fill those shelves with include Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, and Milton Friedman. That is how highly I think of his work.

Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.  Read it.  Recommend it.  One advantage, of course, is that there are fourteen books, including the two written by Brandon Sanderson from Jordan's notes after Jordan passed on.  Lots and lots of reading.

Surfer Magazine.  Get woke, go broke. I'm not claiming a causal relationship, but I had a subscription courtesy of my brother for four or five years.  It was a great Christmas present that he just kept going.  The last issue that arrived, however, apparently felt the need to get involved in partisan politics.  They wrote an article about surfer support of the Black Lives Matter movement.  I have no use for the BLM movement itself, since it was founded on Marxist, anti-American, anti-capitalism.  It was, however, a movement and as such I saw no issue with Surfer Mag covering it, even sympathetically.  Given time I might even have written a letter to the editor.  Then they had to dive into actual partisan politics and attack the president for his "failure" to address the pandemic.  They made no effort to justify that opinion with facts, just stuck it in the magazine.  Aside from the lack of accuracy or factual analysis, what that has to do with surfing is somewhat unclear to me.  I was composing the letter that would have cancelled my subscription when the notice arrived that they were out of business.  Fair enough, saved me the time to do anything about it.  They did, however, apparently accept my brother's money for another year so hopefully he was able to get that back after I let him know what was going on.

So what am I reading now (or recently finished)?

Just finished How the West Won by Raymond Stark - excellent analysis of how Christianity helped Western civilization develop, a pushback against the anti-church claims that Christianity slowed or stopped progress.  He lays out the case that there was no Dark Ages, that the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution were actually just continuations of the work that had been done since the fall of Rome; and that it was empires which suppressed advancement, not the collapse of those empires.  He analyzes pretty convincingly the idea that it was, in fact, Christianity's beliefs in a rational creation combined with a sense of self that allowed Western civilization to not only develop but utilize their discoveries, unlike Islam or Confucianism which dominated the other two great civilization forces.  Well worth a read.

Also just finished Who Killed Homer by Victor Davis Hanson about the benefits of a classical education.  American specifically and Westerners generally are not taught about the origins of the philosophy by which our system was created.  Case in point, my niece, a fairly intelligent young lady who is currently in college, when I tried to explain the premise that our system developed from the foundations laid down by Greek philosophers responded with "oh yeah, Geometry".

Bosnia: A Short History by Noel Malcom.  Mr. Malcolm manages to make what could be a fascinating history of one of the crossroads between east and west an incredibly hard slog.  He spends a whole early chapter analyzing the theory (with deep dive archeological evidence) that the Bosnian church was Bogomil rather than Catholic or Orthodox (he claims it wasn't for what it's worth).  While of interest to serious historians, if you are going to title your book "Short" it would seem that your target audience is the casual reader.  I think he missed his target audience completely.  The current chapter, right around where I have lost the enthusiasm to continue, is an analysis of exactly who the "Vlachs" were.  What he generally fails to do (or perhaps buries it in the excruciating detail) is to explain why it matters and why we need to know as a part of our perusal of the history of the region.

The Iliad by Homer (transl by Lattimore).  Just because I've never read it in full, just in bits.  It is long and repetitive but I'm still early in.  Quick example, at the beginning of Book Two Zeus decided to send a dream to Agamemnon ( who is always referred to as "Atreus's son Agamemnon, presumably to distinguish him from all the other Agamemnon's in the story but more likely just because it was the way of Greek authors).  In the dream he decides to tell Agamemnon to "arm the flowing-haired Achaians for battle" among other things.  Dream then repeats Zeus' words verbatim to Agamemnon including the aforementioned words.  Agamemnon then relates his dream to the council, once again in full.  I am used to modern writers who might instead say that Dream came to him and "paraphrase", after which Agamemnon gathered his council and "shorter paraphrase", after which they prepared for war.

Another Gospel by Alicia Childers.  I grew up in the Brethren church but left the church completely during college.  Inspired somewhat by Adam Piggott over at Pushing Rubber I have been thinking about going back, not because my beliefs have changed, but because I am convinced that is the abandonment of a religious and moral foundation that has led to many of the problems facing us today.  What I have discovered is that much of the Christian church has completely abandoned many of their core tenets.  It has become de rigueur for churches to reject clear biblical teachings in the name of Progressivism.  Childers wrote this as a response to what she saw in the church and I picked it up when I stumbled on it while doing some research.  I'm not far enough in to tell you what her solutions are, but it is well written and does make the case quite clearly that there is something wrong with today's Christian church.  She writes from the perspective of the Gospel churches but it mirrors what I have seen and read coming from the Catholic church.

I Drink Therefore I Am by Roger Scruton.  The wit and wisdom of Roger Scruton.  The first half of the book is dedicated to I Drink.  He goes through the history of his introduction to wine which developed into his lifelong love of French wines.  It is a fascinating delve into the wine regions of France and how the regions themselves, rather than the grapes they use, create the tastes and experiences of the wine drinker.  While reading this half I experimented with a variety of wines and discovered a new enjoyment of many wines, as well as developing a better understanding of what I liked and disliked as well as why.  In the second half, Therefore I Am, I have just started.  I do need to make sure that I read each section with a good glass of wine at my elbow as I suspect that the philosophy will make less sense than it might have otherwise.

At the top of the To Read pile are 

1) Glock: The Rise of America's Gun by Paul M. Barrett, a gift from a motorcycle acquaintance who saw it at the thrift store and thought I might like it.  I haven't fired a Glock since the first generation (and hated it) but I have heard many good things about the ensuing generations so perhaps the book will be a good read.  Amusingly the cover quote was written by Jeffrey Toobin, who I had never heard of until very recently.

2) Crusader: By Horse to Jerusalem by Tim Severin.  I am really looking forward to reading this.  Tim travelled 2,500 miles from Paris to Jerusalem on a heavy draft warhorse to replicate the journey of Duke Godrey's First Crusade.  Apparently he has also crossed the North Atlantic in a leather boat in the footsteps of St Brendan, and sailed from Muscat to China in an Arab sailing boat.  If this is as interesting as it sounds, I might have to buy and read more of his work.

So there you have it.  A relatively complete update of my reading habits: recent past, current, and immediate future.  Missing fiction generally as I do about half and half, but since I read that for purely escapist reasons, it doesn't contribute to my education or ability to analyze the greater world.  As J.R.R. Tolkien said:

Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!

In the interests of full disclosure, if you purchase a book using one of the links above I may get a small commission from Amazon. 

Also in the interests of full disclosure I have never listed a book in order to get a commission, and I have never actually received a penny of commission from Amazon in the seven or eight years that I have been registered in the Associates program.   

Sunday, December 20, 2020

I do not think that word means what they think it means

"we will not tolerate people that don't want to willfully comply,"

Police draw weapons on man for failing to properly socially distance at skating rink.  I know, there is more to the story, but why were they harassing people at an outdoor skating rink anyway?

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Fighting back

 From Weka (and Milton):

Fear to be worse destroy’d: what can be worse
Then to dwell here, driv’n out from bliss, condemn’d

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The house I think I want

 Been thinking about property and building a house for retirement.  Not looking for a McMansion, just something comfortable that fits my tastes and lifestyle.

Looked at Barn Pros kits.  They come in various sizes and styles.  The downstairs is a barn or a shop (mine would be the latter), the upstairs is your residence.  They look nice and are relatively inexpensive although I'm sure the devil is in the details, as in any project.  They look a lot bigger than they are since the whole lower level is shop but have lots of living room.

Stumbled across this the other day though, and boy did it strike a chord.

This is the house I want.  Unfortunately I can no longer call Sears with my credit card and get it coming for $3,176 (plus optional upgrades) but I figure there has to be someone, somewhere who can take a set of plans and build a house.  Or for that matter, sell you a set of plans based on the design since it's now been around for a hundred years of so.

Then, the other day, I was driving out to my sister's and saw this:


That's the house.  Unfortunately this particular one is right next to a busy highway and connected to a large and working farm, so it isn't my house, but it is the house.

I wonder if the plans are on file with the county.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Surmise ill intent?

Police spokesman said “I think we can all surmise the ill intentions of the proceeds of this bag,”

Other than the grammatically poor sentence construction, I tend to agree with him.  But wasn't it not too long ago that we weren't allowed to surmise any ill intent from Antifa members wandering around miles from home in suburban neighborhoods with full gas cans and books of matches during an extremely busy fire season?

It will be interesting to see if any motive can be ascertained from social media, whatever, because a guy whose goal is to kill people doesn't generally stand there screaming "kill me" until they do.  I wonder if he intended to kill anyone at all.