Monday, November 30, 2020

Attack helicopters with rubber duckies???


I had to laugh at some of the reactions to this tweeted photograph of flotation bags for AH-64 Apache attack helicopters in British service.

"Daddyshags" replied:  "Oh s*** they weaponized the minions again."  I thought that was a hoot - and yes, those flotation bags do bear a resemblance to the movie characters, don't they?

Another respondent had an even better comparison.

I think there's going to be a certain amount of gigglage over that among Apache pilots . . .


One despairs of their train of thought sometimes...


One of the most upsetting things about our current political brouhaha is the blind, dogmatic certainty displayed by extremists on both sides (but mostly on the left, in my recent experience).  They appear willing to accept, or associate themselves with, pure evil, just as long as that evil is willing to support their side.

That's a non-starter, of course.  Evil means can never produce a good end.  Evil methods never produce a worthwhile outcome - at least, not one that's worthwhile in terms of normally accepted moral and ethical standards.  Yet, there appear to be those who are blind to that reality.

This example jumped out at me this weekend.  Having worked with the survivors of child abuse, my mind absolutely boggled that anyone could say anything so unbelievably stupid, crass and morally blind - not to mention downright evil.

Some of the replies were scathing;  others actually expressed at least some support for that attitude, which I utterly fail to understand.  One accurately paraphrased the original as, "I’d rather stand with people who groom and rape kids than people who simply disagree with me."  Yes, that's exactly what the original tweet implied.  Why is it so hard to understand that, and see how false it is?

I guess it's up to us, dear readers, to be the "leaven in the lump":  to demonstrate, by our own lives and conduct, that there are, indeed, moral and ethical standards and norms, and that we depart from them at our peril.

As for those who choose to "stand with a pedophile" . . . on their own head be the consequences of their choices and actions.  What should those consequences be?  Ask anyone who was abused as a child.  Some of them can be quite inventive about it.


Memes that made me laugh 34


Gathered from the Intertubes over the past week.  There aren't as many as usual, but that's because so many of them have been political.  Political memes usually attack other people, views and proceedings - but they're seldom funny.

This last one isn't funny, but given the massive left-wing/progressive push (aided and abetted by their mainstream media allies) to persuade everybody to accept a COVID-19 vaccination, I think it's very apposite.  I'm not anti-vaccine at all, but I'm profoundly worried that the COVID vaccines (there are at least 3 that we've heard of) have not been adequately tested, and that their long-term side effects are as yet unknown.  I'll be delaying getting one for as long as possible, even though I'm in several of the high-risk categories.  This "cure" may be worse than the disease, for all we know - so why take a chance?  There's also the potential issue that the vaccine may have been produced using cells from "harvested" (i.e. aborted) fetuses.  That's a moral and ethical non-starter in my book.

More next week.


Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sunday morning music


In the midst of all our election craziness, I thought it might be fun to have some equally crazy (but, nevertheless, extremely popular) music.  I refer, of course, to "Bohemian Rhapsody" by British rock group Queen.  Released in 1975 on the group's album "A Night At The Opera", it's become a smash hit over multiple generations.

The album was released in November 1975.  How is it possible that was 45 years ago???  I can remember it clearly, and our feeble attempts to warble the words along with Freddie Mercury.  Dang, that makes me feel old . . . !

At any rate, there have been many variations on the theme.  You might even say the song has gone Bohemian!  I thought I'd start with the original, then give you five of the variations (there are more, but five is a manageable number for a Sunday morning).

OK, then. Here we go with Queen's original version, remastered for a digital age.

The first variation is provided by the Indiana University Studio Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Hersh, with soloist Sarah Harball on viola and Patrick Hunninghake on lead trumpet.

How about a short, sharp "rockgrass" version from Hayseed Dixie?

Here's a 28-trombone collaboration from the 2018 International Trombone Festival.

Here's the song performed in no less than 42 different styles, each for about ten seconds, all strung together in a single piece of music.  Some of them are rather clever.

And, last but most emphatically not least, how could we possibly ignore The Muppets' version of the song?

And there you have it.  Six versions of "Bohemian Rhapsody" to enliven your Sunday morning.  Some of them may not be altogether rhapsodic, but we'll give them the benefit of the doubt!


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Saturday Snippet: Riding a medieval knight's war horse from France to Jerusalem


We've met Tim Severin in these pages before.  He's a famous explorer and historian, with many expeditions and books to his credit.

In the late 1980's, Severin and a companion decided to retrace the route of the First Crusade (1095-1099) from France to Jerusalem, overland.  Severin particularly wanted to learn what it was like to take a knight's war horse (the ancestor of today's heavy draft horses) on such a journey.  They were unable to follow the exact route, due to civil war in Lebanon, but by diverting through Syria and and Jordan, they reached Jerusalem at last.  Severin wrote about the journey in his book "Crusader:  By Horse to Jerusalem".

Here's an excerpt describing why he wanted to make the journey, and how he chose the war horse with (and on) which to make it.

... what had led me to this damp meadow in the borderlands between France and Belgium? The answer lay fifty miles to the northwest where the river Semois wriggles through the folds of a tough granite plateau that emerges like a craggy island from the rich agricultural lowlands of Flanders and Brabant. In the depths of that plateau the Semois coils around a steep crag of rock, and on the summit of that rock stands Chateau Bouillon. Its grey walls dominate the little medieval town that fills the river's gorge. The castle is the pride of the region, key to the routes that criss-cross the rain-soaked forest of Ardennes with its dense cover of oak and beech. Nearly nine centuries ago the seigneur of the castle had ridden from this primeval and misty land to begin a fabled journey. He had mortgaged his chateau to pay the ruinous cost of raising and arming a small army that amounted to his private brigade, and in 1096 Godfrey, Duke of Bouillon, had set out on the First Crusade to the Holy Land, vowing to reach Jerusalem. The Duke was only one among a number of Europe's leading noblemen who had pledged to liberate the Holy Land, but by the time Jerusalem was firmly in their hands some three years later, his haughty and turbulent colleagues selected him to be their Prince of Jerusalem. Less than a year afterwards he died in the Holy City, his reputation still unsullied, and the same followers buried his corpse close to the very spot where Jesus' body was laid when it was taken down from the cross. It was the holiest burial ground in Christendom and they felt that Duke Godfrey deserved this last resting place. He was their 'perfect knight'.

Duke Godfrey's reputation endured far beyond his own times. Today, in the provinces where he raised his vanished army, school classrooms are still hung with engravings of his greatest triumphs, and in the nineteenth century a statue of the Duke, on a prancing and not at all ungainly horse, was installed in a central square in Brussels. When the pioneer English printer Caxton was commissioned to print a life of King Arthur, he suggested that the Duke of Bouillon's story would be more appropriate. Arthur's reputation, Caxton ventured to his patron, was largely legendary, but the heroism and merit of the Duke of Bouillon was proven fact. Minstrels and jongleurs had composed songs to commemorate Godfrey's exploits on that First Crusade. Illuminators took care to put him in their pictures when they coloured the medieval chronicles with scenes of noble battle and distant journey, and in folklore he was ranked with King Arthur and Sir Lancelot.

Two years earlier I had added Godfrey to my personal list of semi-mythical travellers whose journeys had provided the raw material of legend. Such figures fascinated me, and in the past I had investigated the stories of St Brendan, Sindbad the Sailor, Jason and the Argonauts and Ulysses, using replicas of ancient boats to explore whether there was any truth behind their tales of distant travel. (The Brendan Voyage, Hutchinson, 1978. The Sindbad Voyage, Hutchinson, 1982. The Jason Voyage, Hutchinson, 1985. The Ulysses Voyage, Hutchinson, 1987.) Duke Godfrey's reputation also arose out of a great journey, but he posed a rather different sort of conundrum. Here was a real historical figure, an ordinary man, one among many, who had gone on the First Crusade. The events of the journey had made him a superhero to his immediate successors. Only a generation later stories were being told about his prodigious physical strength, his piety, his selflessness, his extraordinary feats of arms. What had happened to create such renown? Was it justified? And why had Duke Godfrey, among all the leaders of the First Crusade, been chosen for this special fame? To find the answer I proposed to follow Duke Godfrey's path to Jerusalem just as he had travelled along it — on horseback. Along that road, from Chateau Bouillon to his burial place in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I hoped to find some clues to the building of the legend of a man whose deeds made him one of the greatest heroes of chivalry. But I had a wider purpose, too. By actually riding a horse to Jerusalem I also wanted to come to grips with that extraordinary phenomenon, when tens of thousands of men and women, even some children too, had ventured to walk and ride across a continent, trying to reach Christ's tomb. Not just knights and soldiers had followed Duke Godfrey, but a straggling train of civilians had trudged in his wake. Untold numbers had fallen by the way; some faltered and turned back, discouraged by the hardships of the road; others died of malnutrition and disease. Every single survivor who finally laid eyes on Jerusalem had paid dearly with sweat and pain. So gruelling was the experience that, although many other Crusades would depart from Europe for the Holy Land over the next 300 years, not one of them succeeded in repeating exactly the same path. A few tried and failed, but most shunned the sections where those early Crusaders had suffered so cruelly.

Thus the First Crusade was a unique feat. Historians had dealt exhaustively with its documents and chronicles, written about its special geopolitics, causes and effects, ecclesiastical, social, diplomatic and administrative topics. But I was much more drawn to the practical details of the trip itself. It had been a stupendous journey, an achievement difficult to comprehend with our modern means of rapid travel and notions of time and distance. The Crusaders had been on the road for nearly three years, moving farther and farther away from their bases and sources of supply, parted from their homes by unimaginable distances. Warriors and civilians alike had journeyed through alien lands ruled by exotic enemies. How had they achieved it? And why? Scholarly opinion proposed variously that the First Crusade had been motivated by greed, by land hunger, by fanaticism, by ignorance, that it was the child of deliberate political manipulation between a Pope in Rome and an Emperor in Byzantium, that it was a mass migration, that it failed for Christianity but succeeded for Christendom. Only was there general agreement that the Crusade turned into the single most important phenomenon of the age. What, then, was it like to have travelled to Jerusalem in the manner of a medieval man? If I could taste that experience, even marginally, perhaps it would give an insight into the motives of those travellers and the reasons for their persistence. For me, one man brought everything into focus: Duke Godfrey of Bouillon was still the perfect symbol of the Crusade.

If I wanted to follow him, then there was a simple logic to choosing the correct type of horse I should use. Duke Godfrey recruited a major part of his army from his personal domain around Chateau Bouillon. His knights would have rallied to his banner with all manner, shapes and sizes of horses but, as the Duke's chateau lay in the heart of the Ardennes Forest, they must have brought with them at least some of the native breed — the Ardennes Heavy Horse. The breed books enthusiastically described the race as 'sober and robust ... renowned for its toughness, its ability to withstand all types of climate, its eagerness to work and its frugal feeding.' But to Duke Godfrey and his knights, an animal weighing as much as a ton and capable of galloping at 20 miles an hour for short distances had one overwhelming advantage: in ridden combat such a monstrous charger was their day's equivalent to a main battle tank. Anyone knocked down and trodden on by such a crushing weight would have no further interest in the fight. The 'Belgian Horse', as the Ardennes and other Low Country breeds came to be known, was the most devastating mobile weapon of war known at that time. Possession of a warhorse of such dimensions was so dangerous that, a century later, it was controlled by royal edict. Kings were aware that in the hands of a rebellious vassal a squadron of Heavy Horses could mean the loss of a throne. In the winter of 1095, when the war leaders were planning their march on Jerusalem, they knew they would have to fight their way through a cordon of Muslim states before reaching the walls of the Holy City. It would have been inconceivable to them not to start out with their warhorses.

Just how few of the great animals would survive the journey, they could not have imagined.

. . .

Cecile knew exactly what would suit me. She led us behind the farm, down past a spinney to a distant, soggy field containing just one forlorn horse, who looked very lonely. He was a roan, muddy and fat, and comic-looking with his Roman nose.

Charlie later told me that it was a puzzle to him why this horse had been kept on. Nothing about him was quite right for a fine Ardennes stallion. The head was wrong, the walk odd, the stance slightly askew, the 'conformation', as the horse-judging world called it, was indifferent. But there was no doubt that this particular horse had a strong character of his own — you could see it in the way he held his head and looked at us - and a horse's character, Charlie had told me a long time before, was the most important quality of all. If I was to coax a Heavy Horse into walking across a continent, the animal would need a strong character to withstand the rigours of the journey.

Quite what sort of a character the horse possessed, there was no way of knowing. And if I had guessed what lay in store, perhaps I would have thought longer before before offering to Cecile to buy this, her sole, suitable horse whose grandiloquent name, it turned out, was Quarté de Bourbeau and whose lineage was fully inscribed in the Ardennes stud book as a four-year-old pure bred. Carty, as his name was instantly abbreviated, was to turn out to be stubborn, cunning, brave, greedy, affectionate, destructive, innocent, gentle, full of guile, timid, majestic, squalid, docile, fractious. He would dominate my life for the next twelve months. Like his relatives, he had been born in the foaling bay in the great barn of Bourbeau, with the help of a splendid contraption of which Dédé was very proud. Above the foaling stall was a large metal box bolted to a rafter, and from it extruded a hook. A stout rope was attached to the hook, and at the other end of the rope a broad canvas belt was wrapped around the huge girth of the pregnant Ardennes mare about to produce her foal in the stall below. On the most likely night for the birth, either Dédé or Cecile would sleep on a mattress in the stable ready to assist the mare in labour. When the mare was ready, she would lie down on the straw. This pulled on the canvas belt which tugged on the rope which pulled on the hook which in turn activated a Second World War klaxon that began hooting and roused the sleeper. Thus, Carty had been born in the middle of the night to the raucous howls of a machine normally associated with war and destruction. Nothing, I was to find out, could have been more appropriate. The world had been alerted to the fact that Carty, rascal extraordinary, had arrived.

. . .

Sometimes Carty was obstinate about entering the trailer, sometimes he would be reasonable. What we did learn was that if he didn't want to walk up the ramp, there was no force on this side of a bulldozer that would oblige him to do so.

So at noon on 26 April we parked the trailer in the village street. It was a Sunday, a beautiful day, and all the villagers had turned out to see us off. People were wishing us luck, admiring the horses, handing in goodwill messages. Then the crowd waited expectantly to see us load up and leave. It was the ideal opportunity for Carty to show off. He knew something strange was happening, and he became pig-headed. While Mystery watched with increasing nervousness, Carty refused to walk up the ramp. We tried to bribe him. A trail of food was dribbed out, leading up the ramp. He snuffled his way up it until he came to the top and then turned around and walked back. We repeated the technique until he had consumed a complete feed. We tried to wheedle him in with promises and sweet talk. He refused. We tried to cajole him. It was useless. We brought a huge rope from the harbour jetty and with four men each side tried to sweep him in. He simply swerved at the last moment and walked off down the village street with eight sturdy men being dangled along behind him like dolls. We were bombarded with advice. There were men in the crowd who were horse dealers. They tried their tricks — whistling, soft talk, blindfolding Carty who promptly tripped on the ramp with a crash that nearly ripped it off its hinges. There were men who regularly loaded and drove cattle lorries. They too tried their methods, waving brooms, flicking water on his rump, shifting the trailer so it stood on a downhill slope next to a wall. I forbade the use of electric cattle prods.

Every single ruse was a complete failure. Carty refused to walk into the horse box, and loved every minute of the attention he was getting. He was, as Sarah observed, a horse who adored human company, and putting on a circus show in front of the intrigued crowd was his idea of bliss. Finally when the crowd had got bored and begun to drift away, he looked round, noted that he had overstayed his time, and on his own, without any coaxing, calmly walked up into the box and stood there. I could have sworn he had a smug look on his face. We closed up the tail gate at the double and I looked once again at the time. It had taken six hours to load one warhorse. At that rate it would take us a decade to get to Jerusalem.

That's how Severin's adventure began - and it was quite an adventure.  He learned the hard way why knights rode palfreys and other, smaller horses while on their journeys, and reserved their war horses for battle.  (Answer:  the war horses were so huge that a knight couldn't wrap his legs around them, the way a rider usually does.  Their barrel chests were simply too big.  Instead, he had to perch on top of them, almost literally - a very uncomfortable way to ride for hours at a time.)


Friday, November 27, 2020

Doofus Of The Day #1,070


Today's award goes to an inept burglar in Australia.  A tip o' the hat to Australian reader Andrew for sending me the link.

Patrols were called to ... South Plympton, south of the Adelaide CBD, just before 3.30am Thursday morning, after a security company reported a person walking around inside with a torch.

When officers arrived, they cordoned off the area and called in a police dog patrol.

“PD Judge and his handler searched the site, locating a man inside one of the apartments pretending to be a statue,” SA Police said.

The man, a 29-year-old from Seaton, was arrested and charged with being unlawfully on premises.

Checks revealed he had an outstanding court warrant, and he was refused police bail.

There's more at the link.

That must be what they call a statue-tory offense . . .


BREAKING NEWS - Pennsylvania House and Senate to take over appointment of electors?


According to Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano, in an interview with Steve Bannon this morning:

SB:  "You're saying you're going to get a joint resolution to actually go forward - the Republicans control the House and the Senate - to go forward, to basically take the power back from the Secretary of State and put it in the State Legislature to put forward the electors?"

DM:  "That is exactly what we're gonna do.  And so... look... it's gonna obviously be a struggle, we're gonna hear the palpitations and, you know, the outcries of our Governor Wolf and Secretary Boockvar - whose resignation should have happened months ago, and she shouldn't ever have been confirmed - but, you know what, we have that power, and we're gonna take that power back, because there's so much evidence of shenanigans and fraud, and we can't stand aside and just watch this unfold around us here.  You know, it's not about disenfranchising anybody, it's making sure that every legal vote counted and if there is extensive shenanigans out there, it's up to the General Assembly to step in.  So, we have a fight on our hands, and we're gonna fight, we're gonna take this fight all the way to the US Supreme Court if we have to."

You can watch that clip from the interview here.

Like I said earlier this morning:  pass the popcorn!  This is going to put all sorts of partisan cats firmly among the political pigeons.


EDITED TO ADD:  He wasn't joking.  Here's the resolution introduced in the PA State Legislature.

How to load a tank onto a transporter - NOT!


A couple of days ago, a hapless driver tried to load an Israeli Merkava main battle tank onto a transporter.  He was less than successful.

Apparently he claimed that the accelerator pedal got stuck (which would be consistent with the engine revving so hard after the incident).  I guess there'll be an inquiry to figure out what happened.

Meanwhile, kudos to the man directing the loading for his rapid, athletic (not to mention artistic) dismount from the trailer as several dozen tons of mechanical monster hurtled towards him.  With moves like that, he might want to try out for the ballet.  Jeté, indeed!


The Kraken has landed - and it's a hell of a beast!


Well, well, well.  All those who complained that attorney Sidney Powell was "full of it", or words to that effect;  all those who dismissed her statements as "all hat and no cattle";  all those who said that there was no evidence of electoral fraud in the recent Presidential election . . . they can all eat their words now.  That evidence has been provided, and filed in court.  It may yet be dismissed, or held to be insufficient:  but at first glance it appears strong enough, and detailed enough, that it's likely to be upheld, if not in the original case, then on appeal.

In fact, if Ms. Powell does indeed have all the evidence she claims to have, then her complaints outline the biggest political scandal in United States history.  It could make Watergate look tame by comparison.

She has filed two complaints for "declaratory, emergency, and permanent injunctive relief" in two states.  Click on the links below to read them in full for yourselves.



Doug Ross has provided an abbreviated summary in infographic form of Ms. Powell's allegations concerning Georgia.  It makes the gist of her complaint much easier to understand.  Here's one of his slides to give you an idea of what he's done.  Click the image for a larger view.

Click over to Mr. Ross's site for a very informative overview.

Two more useful overviews from lawyers have appeared at Vox's place.  They are:

Mailvox: an analysis of the Powell filing in GA

Mailvox: A second opinion

From the first of those links (bold, underlined text is my emphasis):

"5. One area where plaintiffs do a good job is in pointing out the number of votes affected by the alleged fraud. One reason this is crucial is that Biden's certified margin of victory in Georgia was only about 12,000 votes. And the complaint does a good job of laying out substantial procedural and constitutional irregularities with roughly 96,000 votes and further problems with additional votes. The problematic votes far outnumber Biden's margin of victory, which is hugely significant ... If the problem votes are gone, Biden's victory may be gone as well. The complaint does a good job of pointing out not just the alleged problems but the number of votes affected by those problems."

And from the second link (bold print in the original):

"4. Page 9, Paragraph 14. Holy s***."

That paragraph reads in part as follows:

"As explained and demonstrated in the accompanying redacted declaration of a former electronic intelligence analyst under 305th Military Intelligence with experience gathering SAM missile system electronic intelligence, the Dominion software was accessed by agents acting on behalf of China and Iran in order to monitor and manipulate elections, including the most recent US general election in 2020."

Holy s*** indeed!  If Ms. Powell can prove that, it'll make the whole nonsensical "RussiaRussiaRussia" brouhaha that the Democratic Party has been peddling ever since 2016 look like a kindergarten squabble between playground rivals.

Ms. Powell states in both complaints that "The same pattern of election fraud and voter fraud writ large occurred in all the swing states with only minor variations in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Wisconsin".  I therefore expect her to file more complaints in other states, or that others will file them based on the evidence she provides.  Furthermore, Ms. Powell highlights the requirement under Federal law for election officials to retain and preserve records.  If this has not been done - and we've already heard allegations that relevant documents may have been shredded or otherwise disposed of, including "privacy envelopes" that offered the only possibility of "signature matching" to verify that a vote is legitimate - then those election officials are liable to prosecution under Federal law.

Note, too, that Rudy Giuliani is pursuing a completely different line of attack against electoral fraud, not relying on problems with the software used, but demonstrating that the entire voting and tabulation process was flawed through deliberate human action and/or inaction.  If he produces enough evidence to substantiate those complaints, and Ms. Powell can prove what she alleges, then we've got a major constitutional crisis on our hands.  They will have uncovered a multi-state, perhaps national, criminal conspiracy to overturn the election results and install an illegitimate government.  There's a word for that.  They call it TREASON AGAINST THE UNITED STATES.

Now let's wait and see what the courts have to say about this.  I suspect it's such a hot potato that it'll be handed off to the Supreme Court as fast as possible.  (Some lower-level courts may try to obfuscate and delay matters, to let the clock run out until there's no longer time to delay the falsified election "results".  If that happens, I expect a direct appeal to the Supreme Court by President Trump's legal team, to expedite proceedings.

Remember, too, that nobody is asking the Supreme Court - or any other court - to declare anyone the winner, or loser, of these elections.  The injunctive relief being sought is to declare the apparent results invalid, on the grounds that they can't be proved and/or that demonstrable electoral fraud renders them untrustworthy.  Under those circumstances, the constitution already provides alternative methods to select electors and/or elect the President and Vice President - see Clauses Two and Three of Article Two, as amended by the 12th and 22nd Amendments to the constitution.  I rather think things may come down to that.

As a final pointer towards the gravity of Ms. Powell's case, note that with very few exceptions, the mainstream media is completely ignoring her complaints.  If they were so confident in their version of events, they'd be laughing her to scorn.  They aren't.  Is that because they've read the complaints, and are terrified that the light at the end of the tunnel may be an oncoming legal train about to demolish the alleged "election" of their favored son?

Pass the popcorn.  Ain't we got fun?


(P.S.:  Don't ignore the problem of missing Republican votes in several states - votes that were returned, but show up as "missing" in official tallies.  That's a whole new can of worms, right there.)

Thursday, November 26, 2020



For today at least, let's put aside political, social, economic and other issues, and focus on the real meaning of Thanksgiving.

In 1789, proclaiming the holiday for the first time, President George Washington wrote:

By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln put the celebration of Thanksgiving on a national footing, setting a single date for the holiday in all states of the Union.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward, Secretary of State

Like our ancestors, let us be truly thankful for our many blessings:  and let us pray for many more, particularly for the blessing of truth and honesty in our national polity.

Of course, there's also the lighter side of Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A remarkable man who lived life to the full


I hadn't heard of Peter Florjancic until I read his obituary at the BBC.  I'm sorry I never had the opportunity to meet him.  He sounds like a fascinating man.

Peter Florjancic, the Slovenian inventor who died last week aged 101, once remarked that even Alfred Hitchcock would struggle to make a film about his life.

He was at various times an Olympic athlete, film actor, author, and friend of the rich and famous. But throughout his extraordinary life he had one chief passion: the everyday.

Florjancic was fixated on inventing ways to make life easier, safer and, where possible, a little more stylish. And while he is far from a household name, his inventions have almost certainly found a place in millions of homes.

. . .

Florjancic was a talented athlete and, owing to his youth in Slovenia's mountainous resort region, skiing was an early passion. At just 16, he became the youngest member of the Yugoslav Olympic team when he competed in the ski jump at the 1936 Winter Games in Germany.

The Games were opened by Adolf Hitler and senior figures of the emerging Nazi regime often watched the events. After competing in the ski jump, Florjancic shook the hand of Heinrich Himmler, the man who became head of Nazi Germany's infamous SS.

But his Olympic handshake was far from his last encounter with the regime. Many Slovenian men were mobilised into the German army during World War Two, and Florjancic was conscripted to fight on the Russian front in 1943.

Unwilling to go to war he deserted and staged a daring escape to neighbouring Austria under the guise of a skiing holiday. He was pursued by the Gestapo and - with a friend - faked his own death in an avalanche on the slopes of the Hahnenkamm mountain. Somehow, the plan worked.

. . .

Florjancic was granted asylum at a refugee camp in Bern, [Switzerland], and it was there that he made his first real breakthrough. He designed a wooden weaving machine that could be used by disabled people, such as wounded soldiers, and sold the patent to a timber company for 100,000 Swiss francs.

. . .

In 1946, he took his wife and young daughter to Monte Carlo on holiday and stayed for more than 13 years. A poolside meeting with Ilhamy Hussein Pasha, an associate of King Farouk of Egypt, led to many years of collaboration and - significantly - major financial backing for his inventions.

"He understood innovation and also funded my mistakes," Florjancic later wrote.

One of his major successes came in Monte Carlo when he invented the compact perfume spray that is still in use today. Prior to this, most perfume was dispensed through a tube connected to a large rubber bulb. "I noticed how the women were practically taking a gasoline pump out of their bags," he told Deutsche Welle. "You just have to watch people."

. . .

"I've had five citizenships, 43 cars and the longest passport. The profession of inventor forced me to spend 25 years in hotels, four years in cars, three years on trains, a year and a half on airplanes and a year on board of ships."

There's more at the link.  Recommended and entertaining reading.

Mr. Florjancic seems to have been a "renaissance man" in his own way:  interested in everything, willing and able to turn his hand to anything, and always looking for insight, inspiration and a new challenge.


What electoral fraud? THIS electoral fraud!


Two very interesting analyses - one statistical, one technical - have surfaced over the past couple of days.  I think they show beyond reasonable doubt the extent of the electoral fraud that was perpetrated in the 2020 Presidential elections.  I submit that the onus is now on those who say the election was legitimate to disprove these analyses - and I think that's going to be very, very difficult.  If President Trump's legal team can arrange to get this sort of information before the Supreme Court, I can't see how SCOTUS can do otherwise but invalidate the results of the elections in at least the states discussed in these documents.

The first report is from a SubStack account calling itself "Vote Pattern Analysis".  I don't know who's behind it, but it provides exhaustive detail about the raw data used and how they were analyzed - sufficient for any statistician to check and/or reproduce its findings.  Here's a key excerpt.  Bold print is emphasis in the original.

Our analysis finds that a few key vote updates in competitive states were unusually large in size and had an unusually high Biden-to-Trump ratio. We demonstrate the results differ enough from expected results to be cause for concern.

. . .

The four vote updates in question are: 

  1. An update in Michigan listed as of 6:31AM Eastern Time on November 4th, 2020, which shows 141,258 votes for Joe Biden and 5,968 votes for Donald Trump.
  2. An update in Wisconsin listed as 3:42AM Central Time on November 4th, 2020, which shows 143,379 votes for Joe Biden and 25,163 votes for Donald Trump.
  3. A vote update in Georgia listed at 1:34AM Eastern Time on November 4th, 2020, which shows 136,155 votes for Joe Biden and 29,115 votes for Donald Trump.
  4. An update in Michigan listed as of 3:50AM Eastern Time on November 4th, 2020, which shows 54,497 votes for Joe Biden and 4,718 votes for Donald Trump.

This report predicts what these vote updates would have looked like, had they followed the same pattern as the vast majority of the 8,950 others. We find that the extents of the respective anomalies here are more than the margin of victory in all three states — Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia — which collectively represent forty-two electoral votes.

Go read the study in full for yourself.

The second analysis comes from a sworn affidavit by Russell James Ramsland Jr., who describes himself as "part of the management team of Allied Security Operations Group, LLC (ASOG)."  The company has been involved in detailed analysis of the Dominion vote tabulation software used in over 30 states during the recent elections.

Mr. Ramsland's evaluation is damning in a number of respects.  The online file has been set up so I can't directly copy text, but I can screenshot excerpts from it.  Here are three.  I urge you to read the affidavit in full to put them in context.

How anyone can read those two analyses and still claim, with a straight face, that no electoral fraud took place during the 2020 Presidential election, I absolutely do not understand.

Joe Biden was not elected President of the United States.  The vote totals were manipulated to give that impression - but it's false.  I can only hope and pray that the truth is recognized and enforced by the United States Supreme Court before it's too late.

Of course, if it does reach that high, then the possibilities for criminal investigation and charges become much greater.  Don't forget that Rudy Giuliani, heading President Trump's legal team, was a US Attorney during the 1980's, and spearheaded the assault on the Mafia in New York City.  He was instrumental in using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act against organized crime.  Look at what he said at a news conference last week.  (Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.)

... what emerged very quickly is it’s not a single voter fraud in one state. This pattern repeats itself in a number of states. Almost exactly the same pattern, which to any experienced investigator, prosecutor would suggest that there was a plan from a centralized place to execute these various acts of voter fraud, specifically focused on big cities and specifically focused on, as you would imagine, big cities controlled by Democrats, and particularly focused on big cities that have a long history of corruption. The number of voter fraud cases in Philadelphia could fill a library. Just a few weeks ago, there was a conviction for voter fraud and one two weeks before that. And I’ve often said, I guess, sarcastically, but it’s true, the only surprise I would have found in this is that Philadelphia hadn’t cheated in this election, because, for the last 60 years, they’ve cheated in just about every single election. You could say the same thing about Detroit.

Each one of these cities are cities that are controlled by Democrats, which means they can get away with anything they want to do. It means they have a certain degree of control over… certainly control the election board completely. And they control law enforcement. And unfortunately, they have some friendly judges that will issue ridiculously irrational opinions just to come out in their favor.

Does that sound to you like a lawyer who's thinking hard about applying RICO's provisions to those responsible for electoral fraud?  It sure does to me!

Pass the popcorn, please . . .


Heh! - prostate cancer examination edition


Courtesy of reader S. K., here's a Finnish advertisement encouraging men to get checked for prostate cancer.  It's giggleworthy.

It's great to start the day with a smile.  There aren't too many to be had these days.

Thanks, S. K.  Much appreciated!


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

You and me both, buddy!


Found on the Twittersphere:

As the sage said:  "No s***, Sherlock!"


The economic divide revealed by this election


The Brookings Institution has released a very thought-provoking analysis of the economic strata revealed by this month's Presidential election.

In 2016, we wrote that the 2,584 counties that Trump won generated just 36% of the country’s economic output, whereas the 472 counties Hillary Clinton carried equated to almost two-thirds of the nation’s aggregate economy.

A similar analysis for last week’s election shows these trends continuing, albeit with a different political outcome. This time, Biden’s winning base in 477 counties encompasses fully 70% of America’s economic activity, while Trump’s losing base of 2,497 counties represents just 29% of the economy.

So, while the election’s winner may have changed, the nation’s economic geography remains rigidly divided. Biden captured virtually all of the counties with the biggest economies in the country (depicted by the largest blue tiles in the nearby graphic), including flipping the few that Clinton did not win in 2016.

By contrast, Trump won thousands of counties in small-town and rural communities with correspondingly tiny economies (depicted by the red tiles). Biden’s counties tended to be far more diverse, educated, and white-collar professional, with their aggregate nonwhite and college-educated shares of the economy running to 35% and 36%, respectively, compared to 16% and 25% in counties that voted for Trump.

In short, 2020’s map continues to reflect a striking split between the large, dense, metropolitan counties that voted Democratic and the mostly exurban, small-town, or rural counties that voted Republican.  Blue and red America reflect two very different economies: one oriented to diverse, often college-educated workers in professional and digital services occupations, and the other whiter, less-educated, and more dependent on “traditional” industries.

There's more at the link.

Leaving aside the ongoing claims of electoral fraud that might affect the outcome of the election, we're left with one painfully obvious conclusion.  The two sides of America, as identified by their voting patterns, are so far apart in terms of composition, background, education, aspirations, etc. that they not only aren't talking to each other - they wouldn't understand each other if they did.  That's potentially disastrous for an allegedly United States.  How can there be any real Union when effective, meaningful communication has become almost impossible?

Taking an economic view of the red-and-blue chart above, Charles Hugh Smith points out:

70% of America's economy is generated in fewer than 500 counties; the other 2,500 counties are left with the remaining 30%. The nation's productive capital is even more concentrated in a few hands and regions, and since income and political power flow to capital, the financial disparity / inequality far exceed the 70/30 split depicted in this political map.

. . .

America has no plan to reverse this destructive tide. Our leadership's "plan" is benign neglect: just send a monthly stipend of bread and circuses to all the disempowered, decapitalized households, urban and rural, so they can stay out of trouble and not bother the elites' continued pillaging of America and the planet.

There's a lot of big talk about rebuilding infrastructure and the Green New Deal, but our first question must always be: cui bono, to whose benefit? How much of the spending will actually be devoted to changing the rising imbalances between the haves and the have-nots, the ever-richer who profit from rising debt and the ever more decapitalized debt-serfs who are further impoverished by rising debt?

Again, more at the link.

Mr. Smith's last paragraph poses a very astute question.  Look at the likely beneficiaries of the so-called 'Green New Deal'.  They're overwhelmingly concentrated in the "blue 30%" of counties that supported Joe Biden.  They'll actually cause the "red 70%" of counties to lose money, jobs and opportunities, which will be drained into urban concentrations.  Can there be a better recipe for generating anger, frustration and - eventually - backlash in those counties?

That backlash can take many forms.  I don't want to encourage violence and terrorism, so I won't discuss many of them here;  but we've seen more than a few already unleashed within our borders.  It's not giving away any secrets to mention the Metcalf sniper attack, or the many other threats to the US power grid and other essential utilities.  Almost all such attacks are well within the reach of motivated individuals and groups.  Stopping them all will be almost impossible, and effective countermeasures will probably be very expensive - unaffordably and unsustainably so.  Every such attack might potentially disrupt the power and/or utility supply to thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people, as well as factories, distribution hubs, transport systems, etc.

I'm already seeing some sources talking about such activities in the context of "resistance".  I can only hope and pray that we haven't reached that point yet . . . but the signs of the times are not comforting.  If Antifa and BLM can get away with urban terrorism, rioting and looting, as they have this past year, you can bet your boots that there are those on the other side of the political fence who are thinking of following their example, and getting creative about it.


*SIGH* A post-Christian Catholic Church?


Two headlines caught my eye during the past week.  Both make me sad, angry and depressed about the once-great institution known as the Catholic Church.  Long-term readers will know why:  for those who don't, see the articles in the sidebar on the subject, particularly this one.

The first report, from the BBC, discusses the ongoing scandal in the Diocese of Buffalo, NY.

New York's Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, alleging its leaders protected priests accused of child sex abuse.

. . .

The lawsuit, which included a 218-page report on the two-year investigation into the diocese, alleges that though leaders found sex abuse complaints to be credible, they protected the accused.

They also failed to properly supervise or monitor these priests, the lawsuit claims.

By instead marking them as "unassignable", the accused were able to retire or take leave, while receiving benefits, rather than being potentially removed from the clergy by the Vatican.

. . .

In addition, the suit seeks to hold the two bishops who oversaw the alleged cover-up, Bishop Richard Malone and Auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz individually responsible.

They are accused of violating nonprofit and estate, powers and trusts laws.

. . .

Bishop Malone resigned last December amid accusations of covering up abuses, while Bishop Grosz retired this March.

The state report says in a number of instances, priests were allowed to remain in ministry or falsely classified as retired, on medical leave or sabbatical when they were in fact removed over allegations of abuse.

One priest was allowed to remain in ministry out of state even after the diocese learned of eight alleged sexual abuse cases involving young girls, the report states.

Another who was found by the church to have groomed a minor and "engaged in inappropriate sexual misconduct with adults" was also allowed to remain.

Other priests in the diocese were accused of other abuses, including taking minors to see pornographic movies, discussing inappropriate topics, and molesting young girls and altar boys.

There's (unfortunately) more at the link.

Note that both accused bishops resigned or retired only within the last year.  In other words, though the extent of this scandal in the wider Church has been publicly exposed for almost two decades, both are alleged to have continued the cover-up as if nothing had happened.  They appear to have assumed they could get away with it forever.

The second report alleges that an attitude of "so what?" appears to be a lot more common among Catholic prelates than it should be.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

Anybody who bothers to slog through the Vatican’s mountainous report on the McCarrick scandal will not emerge from the experience enlightened. The report’s revelations, to the extent they exist, are inadvertent. The chief one, evident in the feckless epistolary back-and-forth documented in the report, is that McCarrick would remain an honored cardinal to this day were it not for credible accusations against him involving underage teens. Take those charges away, and he would still be popping up at the Vatican for meetings with the pope. That McCarrick had corrupted countless seminarians and priests by pressuring them into his bed simply didn’t shock churchmen, whose standards seemed considerably lower than those of the pagan world.

. . .

The testimony of ... McCarrick enablers only serves to highlight the report’s dishonesty. It is a very selective, self-serving, and above all score-settling document. A great deal of it is directed toward refuting former papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who urged the Vatican to cashier McCarrick. But this material isn’t very convincing. Indeed, many of the footnotes in a roundabout way confirm Viganò’s testimony. Did Pope Francis know about McCarrick’s past? Yes. Did he do anything about it? No.

. . .

The report, of course, says nothing about the existence of the gay mafia in the Church that elected Pope Francis and that has been receiving plum positions ever since. McCarrick had been part of that bloc. Though he couldn’t vote in the conclave, he acknowledged “talking” Francis up to other prelates. What role that played in the pope’s ginger handling of McCarrick naturally goes unaddressed.

. . .

The impression left by all the excuse-making for McCarrick (with some bishops pretending that his sleeping with seminarians was non-sexual) is that of a hopelessly decayed bureaucracy, utterly indifferent to holiness or orthodoxy.

. . .

But what does all of this faux-transparency add up to? Nothing. Not a single one of McCarrick’s “nephews” — from Cardinal Cupich in Chicago (his honoring of McCarrick goes unmentioned in the report) to Cardinal Tobin in Newark — has been stripped of any power. If anything, they have gained some since McCarrick’s defrocking ... McCarrick is gone, but his influence remains, even extending through Farrell to the next pope. Don’t be surprised if that future pope is a McCarrick crony, too.

Again, more at the link.

Let me highlight one sentence from that news report.  It's the true heart of the matter.

The impression ... is that of a hopelessly decayed bureaucracy, utterly indifferent to holiness or orthodoxy.

Tragically, I couldn't have put it better myself.

There are undoubtedly some good, Godly bishops in the Catholic Church, but they appear to be far from the actual corridors of power - the senior bishoprics and archbishoprics, the Cardinals, the Roman Curia (the bureaucrats who administer the Church worldwide), and those who have the power and authority to make changes.  Those in charge dithered, dissembled and obfuscated all through the clergy sex abuse scandal as it unfolded in the early 2000's, and it looks very much as if they're still doing precisely the same thing.  Nothing has changed.

During the ordination of a bishop, the open Book of the Gospels is placed upon the candidate's head, as a public affirmation and reminder that "the preaching of the Word of God is the pre-eminent obligation of the office of the Bishop".  Preaching involves far more than words alone.  A famous dictum attributed to St. Francis of Assisi tells us, "Preach the Gospel at all times.  If necessary, use words."  Another time-honored (albeit secular) maxim tells us that "Actions speak louder than words".  What do the actions - or inactions - of Catholic bishops in the face of the clergy sex abuse scandal tell us about their fidelity to their "pre-eminent obligation"?

Many faithful Catholics have wept many tears over the way the Catholic Church has (failed to) respond to this crisis.  Sadly, they aren't in a position to do anything about it as far as the institution is concerned.  As individuals?  Well, some years ago Rod Dreher wrote 'The Benedict Option', to suggest a way for faithful Christians to uphold and live out their beliefs in a post-Christian society.

Perhaps we're going to need the Benedict Option as a way to uphold and live out our beliefs in a post-Christian Catholic Church as well.


Monday, November 23, 2020

So what, precisely, are we calling electoral fraud?


I'm obliged to the American Spectator for breaking down the allegations of electoral fraud that the Trump campaign's lawyers are making, and what they encompass.  The big picture is eye-opening, but when it's broken down into sub-sections, it's astonishing in the breadth of the conspiracy they're alleging.

A major part of the problem is the sheer size, scope and scale of the fraud, if their allegations are correct.  Will it be possible to get this through State and lower-level Federal courts, and into the hands of the Supreme Court, in time to affect the results of the election?  I hope and pray so, but it's going to be a nail-biter.  There's a very limited window in which to make the case, and every day of that window is going to be filled with more and more vitriolic abuse and rejection from the progressive left, who are desperate to prevent these issues from being aired in public - let alone proved in court.

Here's what the state of play looks like right now.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

Essentially, then, you have two lines of attack here.

Powell seems to be the lead player on the electronic fraud field. She traced the ownership and participation of companies like Dominion Voting Systems, a Canadian firm doing business all over the world which is a major supplier of voting machines to states and counties all over America, and Smartmatic, a firm founded in Venezuela by allies of then-dictator Hugo Chavez, which got its start rigging Venezuelan elections and has since spread around the world; Smartmatic’s board chairman is, or at least was until a few days ago, a George Soros associate named Lord Mark Malloch-Brown. According to Powell, and corroborated by reporting elsewhere (though not in the legacy corporate media), Smartmatic vote tabulation is done not in America but in Spain and Germany and then fed back into the election management software systems in America, which report the vote to media organizations like CNN, the Associated Press, and the New York Times.

From Powell’s statements and other critics of the 2020 election, there seem to be four main problems with the electronic handling of elections, any of which would be fatal to the public trust in the counting of votes in our elections.

First is the presence of algorithms in vote tabulation software. Data from logs scraped off the New York Times‘ election reporting portal indicates vote totals expressed with numbers to the right of a decimal point. You can’t cast a fraction of a vote, but for several years there has been electronic tabulation software that allows for weighted voting going all the way back to when Diebold voting machines garnered such a bad reputation following the 2004 election. There is zero place for algorithms in vote tabulation software — this is addition, not algebra. More on this a bit below.

Second, what appear to be instances where Trump vote totals actually decreased in some of the vote total updates in the data logs scraped from the tabulations. It isn’t possible for a candidate to lose votes; that can only happen if votes are being shifted from one candidate to another, which is an allegation Powell is making. She says that shifting votes from, in this case, Trump to Biden is an actual feature of the software, and it can be done as a drag-and-drop. And she says this isn’t just an allegation, but rather a fact discernible from the software manual found on Smartmatic’s website. What happened in Antrim County, Michigan, where some 6,000 votes were flipped from Trump to Biden in a very conspicuous example, would fit this category of irregularity, though that has been chalked up to “human error” in the legacy media.

Third are the conspicuous large dumps of votes nearly or completely exclusively for Biden present in the vote total updates, something which is statistically improbable if not impossible. These happened in Wisconsin and Michigan almost at the identical time early in the morning on Nov. 4 and generated no small amount of notice by those curious about the election returns.

And fourth, and perhaps more damning than anything, are the very interesting line items in these vote total update logs whereby long successions of updates saw Trump and Biden get identical proportions of each batch of votes counted. That is statistically impossible and cannot happen without manipulation. In Michigan, it looks as though there was the application of an algorithm that discounted Trump votes and generated a sizable statistical anomaly wherein he underperformed progressively worse the more Republican the precinct.

. . .

Giuliani’s presentation covered the other line of attack, which is old-fashioned vote fraud. Focusing most particularly on Pennsylvania and Michigan, but also in Wisconsin, he discussed the multitude of affidavits alleging wide-scale irregularities in the counting of those mail-in ballots. Signatures not matched to those on file. The refusal to allow Republican poll watchers to be present to examine the ballots at the counting. Batches of ballots being run through voting machines over and over again to run up Biden vote totals. Truckloads of Biden-only ballots arriving in the early hours of Nov. 4 through the back doors of counting-houses. Dead people voting. Absentee votes counted despite “ballots” coming in from people who aren’t on record as requesting a ballot. Voters in Democrat counties being contacted and given the opportunity to correct flawed ballots while voters in other counties not contacted with the same opportunity. Trump voters in Pittsburgh arriving to the polls on Nov. 3 only to find that somehow they’re listed as voting already. And so on.

Giuliani says this creates a clear violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause. You can’t run one election in Democrat counties and another election in Republican ones. If the facts are as alleged, that claim is unassailably valid.

Related to this is the drama unfolding in Wayne County, Michigan, in which Detroit sits. The two Republicans on that county’s canvassing board refused to certify the election results there, citing massive evidence of irregularity in the counting. Both were called racists and a local Democrat politician named Abraham Aiyash even revealed one of their home addresses and, worse, where her children go to school. That led to a temporary caving, in which the Republican canvassers agreed to certify the election pending a full investigation by the state. When Jocelyn Benson, the Democrat Secretary of State on whose watch this circus has proceeded, refused to honor that request, the two Republicans stiffened on their refusal to certify the election. Now the Legislature is calling for a full audit, and Benson has no choice but to perform one.

What has happened in Wayne County is a prelude to the real strategy here. Team Trump isn’t necessarily out to prove that the president beat Biden by x number of votes in Georgia and y number of votes in Pennsylvania and z number of votes in Michigan, etc. Instead, what his lawyers are going to try to do is point out that because of the irregularities and manifest illegality in the vote-counting in these disputed states the results cannot be certified. There is no way to prove, because of the electronic and paper fraud in the counting, who won those states.

And while they’ll be in court presenting this evidence to judges, it won’t be in an attempt to have Trump declared the winner of the election, though they’d take that if it was available.

It will be in an attempt to enjoin the certification of the results in those states.

. . .

And if the judges stop the certification of the results, because the true results can’t be known due to computer data being corrupted and fraudulent mail ballots mixed in with legitimate ones, all in violation of state law set down by the state legislatures as the Constitution provides, then it falls to those state legislatures to decide which slate of electors to appoint.

. . .

Let’s understand that should it fall this way it’s almost literally the worst way to win an election from a public relations standpoint. The Left will howl that Trump stole the election, and there will be documentaries and news reports about his “theft” and “coup d’état” and “assault on democracy” for decades. Almost certainly rioting that dwarfs what happened this summer will break out everywhere the Antifa/BLM crowd doesn’t believe local law enforcement will intervene. There could be assassination attempts. Physical assaults on people in random places for wearing Trump shirts or hats. “Resistance” on a scale that greatly exceeds what happened after Trump won in 2016. A campaign to generate faithless electors that dwarfs the obnoxious 2016 efforts at pressuring or intimidating Trump electors. Those electors would likely need round-the-clock protection from law enforcement or other security personnel.

And the Democrats will do everything they can to make America ungovernable, leading up to, and perhaps into, civil war.

Of course, based on the evidence Giuliani, Powell, and the team have presented, a Biden inauguration could potentially have the same effect with roles reversed.

Run a failed Latin American election, and you’ll get a failed Latin American country.

There's a lot more at the link.  It's well worth reading in full.  If it's true . . . then this country may be perilously close to becoming a failed state.

The good news is, there seem to be two separate but complementary lines of attack for President Trump.  One is problems with the election software;  the other is problems with the voting.  Either one, in itself, might be enough to overturn the election results in any state where they were a factor.  If both can be proved, that becomes a virtual certainty instead of a possibility.  On the other hand, if both can't be proved, or - and this may be the biggest single problem - if there isn't enough time to prove them before the election results must be finalized, then we can look forward to President Biden . . . whose election many Americans, including myself, will never accept as genuine.  For us, civil disobedience will become the order of the day.  The "Resistance" in America will now be right-wing, rather than left-wing.

As Ernest Hemingway put it in dialog form, in his 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises":

“How did you go bankrupt?”

“Two ways. Gradually and then suddenly.”

That sounds suspiciously like our political environment right now.  How did it get to this ridiculous state?  Gradually, because we, the electorate, kept on electing scumbag politicians;  and then suddenly, when the accumulated weight of scumbags became too much for the system to bear.  I suspect we're at the "suddenly" stage right now.

May God have mercy on us all as we work our way through this.  As I said a couple of weeks ago, civil war is not an unimaginable result of this crisis.