Wednesday, January 20, 2021

America has become an oligarchy - at least for now


Prof. Angelo Codevilla, whose concise and erudite insights have for decades helped to clarify what's going on "under the skin" of US politics, has done it again.

Texas v. Pennsylvania et al. did not deny setting rules for the 2020 election contrary to the Constitution. On December 10, 2020, the Supreme Court discounted that. By refusing to interfere as America’s ruling oligarchy serves itself, the court archived what remained of the American republic’s system of equal justice. That much is clear.

In 2021, the laws, customs, and habits of the heart that had defined the American republic since the 18th century are things of the past. Americans’ movements and interactions are under strictures for which no one ever voted. Government disarticulated society by penalizing ordinary social intercourse and precluding the rise of spontaneous opinion therefrom. Together with corporate America, it smothers minds through the mass and social media with relentless, pervasive, identical, and ever-evolving directives. In that way, these oligarchs have proclaimed themselves the arbiters of truth, entitled and obliged to censor whoever disagrees with them as systemically racist, adepts of conspiracy theories. 

Corporations, and the government itself, require employees to attend meetings personally to acknowledge their guilt. They solicit mutual accusations. While violent felons are released from prison, anyone may be fired or otherwise have his life wrecked for questioning government/corporate sentiment. Today’s rulers don’t try to convince. They demand obedience, and they punish.

Russians and East Germans under Communists Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker in the 1970s lived under less ruling class pressure than do today’s Americans. And their rulers were smart enough not to insult them, their country, or their race.

In 2015, Americans could still believe they lived in a republic, in which life’s rules flow from the people through their representatives. In 2021, a class of rulers draws their right to rule from self-declared experts’ claims of infallibility that dwarf baroque kings’ pretensions. 

In that self-referential sense, the United States of America is now a classic oligarchy.

There's much more at the link.  Essential reading, IMHO, and highly recommended.

I have to agree with Prof. Codevilla.  America is, indeed, under the rule of oligarchs . . . at present.  However, if one is a student of history, one thing becomes very, very clear.  Every oligarchy throughout history has been overthrown - many of them violently, with terminally nasty consequences for a lot of the oligarchs.

One hopes our present powers-that-be remember that;  but one suspects they're so drunk with their newly regained power that they think this time, it'll be different.  One trusts they'll be doomed to disappointment.


A day of mourning for our constitutional Republic


On November 19th, 1863, approximately 158 years ago, President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.  It was short and very powerful.  I'll quote it in full.  Passages in bold, underlined text are particularly relevant for us today.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Today, with the inauguration of President Biden, we are perilously close to the death of our Republic.  He was not elected to his office - it was stolen for him by massive, incontrovertible electoral fraud.  All those pontificating that no such fraud took place, or that it's never been proved, or anything along those lines, are accessories to that electoral fraud, and are as guilty of it as the main perpetrators.

President Biden's administration will not be "government of the people, by the people, for the people".  It will be government by special interests, by the "Deep State", by the oligarchs of American society.  It will be inherently, endemically corrupt and partisan.  It will disregard the wishes and true interests of the American people in favor of those who engineered its accession to power, and who support it.  If they happen to be enemies of all that America stands for, that won't matter.

This is not a day to celebrate.  This is a day to mourn.

Then, when we have done mourning, it's time to accept the reality of our situation, and fight back.

The powers that be are determined that there will never again be a free and fair election in this country.  They are determined that we will be subjects, not citizens, and jump whenever and wherever they say "Frog!"  It's for us to show them that we will not submit, and will not obey, and will fight their corruption and fraud whenever and wherever possible.  I've already discussed some ways to do that.  Other bloggers have their own ideas.  Here's one such discussion.

We have lost a battle.  We have not lost the war.  That will only happen if we give up - and I'm not giving up.  Re-reading President Lincoln's prescient words, it's for us to bring "a new birth of freedom" to this land.  It's for us to ensure that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth".

Let us make sure that our ancestors, for whom the Gettysburg Address was written and to whom it was delivered, do not have cause to be ashamed of our efforts.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Things to keep in mind before tomorrow's Presidential inauguration


As we prepare to inaugurate a President who was not freely and fairly elected, but has come to his office through electoral fraud, let's keep three very important things in mind.  They'll be vital considerations as the new Administration takes over.

1.  The mainstream news media and social media cannot be trusted under any circumstances.

The news media lied to us constantly throughout the Trump presidency.  Their lies became a frenzied cacophony during the election campaign, and they have consistently refused to examine the (abundant) evidence of electoral fraud that should have disqualified Joe Biden from being declared the winner.  They will continue to lie to the American people in pursuit of the progressive left-wing agenda that is about to be unleashed upon us.  The news media are simply not to be trusted.

The same applies to major social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.  They openly chose sides over the past few years, and were effectively an extension of the Democratic Party during the election campaign.  They are now censoring any opposing voices.  Let us give them no credence whatsoever.  They don't deserve any.

2.  Expect fabricated incidents that will be used as tools to stir up public opinion and provide pretexts for new restrictions on our freedom.

I fully expect that something may happen during tomorrow's inauguration, perhaps a fake "attack" on Joe Biden or his entourage, or some sort of "terrorist" incident (whether in or around Washington, D.C., or elsewhere), or anything else you can imagine.  Without solid, incontrovertible evidence, I will not believe that such incidents are genuine.  Instead, I think they'll be manufactured by the progressive left as pretexts to further their agenda.  I won't be surprised to see one or more shooting incidents in the next few days and weeks, designed to whip up public opinion in favor of "assault weapon bans" and the like.  The left knows how to lie, and how to manufacture evidence to support their perspective.  They're experts at it.  (If you doubt that, consider the "Russia! Russia! Russia!" brouhaha of recent years, which was all a lie from start to finish, based on fabricated evidence.)  We can, and should, expect them to redouble their efforts along those lines.

3.  There are millions upon millions of ordinary Americans who know full well that the Biden administration will be illegitimate.  Let us stand together to oppose it.

The left's approach will be to "divide and rule":  set Americans against each other, and then preside over the chaos, using it to impose their agenda upon us.  Instead, let's remember that they only represent half the country.  We represent the other half.  We have at least as much determination and commitment as they do, and we should use that to work together and resist attempts to lever us apart.  Infighting and squabbling do the enemy's work for them.  Whenever we see attempts to say that this or that group are the only true conservatives, or believers, or whatever, and all others are fakers - don't you believe it!  We all have our part to play, and we should support each other as far as possible.  In unity there is strength.  The progressive left has already learned that lesson, and they're marching in lockstep to impose their will on us.  The only way we'll stop them is to offer a united front against their onslaught, a "shield wall" of unity and mutual support.  Furthermore, remember that the best form of defense is attack.  Don't just put up with their propaganda onslaught against us.  Give back as good as you're getting!

There you are, friends.  What say you?  Do you have any other cogent thoughts as we are on the brink of installing an illegitimate Administration, with the full knowledge, connivance and complicity of most of our politicians, Republican as well as Democrat?  If so, please share them in Comments.


The threat to our freedom posed by new security legislation


Caitlin Johnstone raises some cogent issues about where our "security state" is heading.

Biden has often boasted of being the original author of the Patriot Act years before it was rapidly rolled out amid the fear and blind obsequiousness of the aftermath of 9/11. Now in the aftermath of the Capitol riot we are seeing a push to roll out new authoritarian laws around terrorism, this time taking aim at “domestic terror”, which were also in preparation prior to the event used to manufacture support for them.

. . .

The only way to sincerely believe more Patriot Act-like laws will benefit Americans is to believe that the US will only have wise and beneficent leaders going forward, and the only way to sincerely believe the US will only have wise and beneficent leaders going forward is to be completely ****-eating stupid. The trajectory has already been chosen, and that trajectory is the one that has already given rise to Trump. Continuing along that same trajectory can only give rise to something far uglier, and that something far uglier will have whatever new authoritarian powers are added by Joe Biden.

They’re not actually worried about “domestic terror”, they’re worried about any movement which threatens to topple the status quo. They want to make sure they can adequately spy, infiltrate, agitate and incarcerate into impotence any movement which provides a threat to America’s rulers and the system which funnels them wealth and power at the expense of everyone else. The movements which most threaten this are not rightists, who are generally more or less aligned with the interests of the oligarchic empire, but the left.

This is who they’ll end up targeting going forward, and whatever Biden and Company wind up rolling out to fight “domestic terrorism” will help them do so.

There's more at the link.

Ms. Johnstone is a left-wing commenter, but also a pragmatist.  On this issue, I agree with her.  More security legislation, arrogating more dictatorial and authoritarian powers to the executive branch of government, will inevitably be misused by those with a penchant for rule by decree.  It'll also be used against potential political opponents, just as the Obama administration weaponized various departments in the administration (the IRS, the ATF and others) against its critics.

Any law that can be misused by, or distorted to the advantage of, the powers that be, will be abused.  Take that as a given.  The solution is to give them as few laws to abuse as possible - not to multiply laws for them to abuse.  We already have more than enough laws to protect our nation and our institutions.  Better to apply them - fairly, and across the board, not just against potential political threats - than to add new ones.


Blue states vs red states - the economic difference is striking


Brandon Smith, whom we've met in these pages several times, points out the real impact of politics on the people in an economic comparison of blue versus red states.

Blue state economies are dying because they are oppressive and this stifles trade and business.

. . .

According to the U.S. Postal Service, New York City alone saw over 300,000 residents pick up everything and leave from March to October. This is an unprecedented spike, an exodus the likes of which New York has not seen in a long time.

On the other side of the country, California is witnessing its own exodus, and it started well before the pandemic struck. In 2019, California saw over 653,000 residents escape the state’s suffocating bureaucracy and high taxes. In 2020, the state has hit its lowest population growth rate in history, even after accounting for babies born. More than 200,000 people left the state than moved in in the past year, and before anyone claims that these people are “liberals” invading red states, even the California media admits they are mostly conservatives seeking to escape the socialist sinkhole.

. . .

But what does this mean for leftist states in economic terms?  First, a huge loss of tax revenue, and this is dangerous for blue states in particular. California was projecting a $5.6 billion surplus in January of last year, only to face a $54 billion deficit by August. The state’s net tax revenue fell by 42% from March to May year-over-year, far outpacing losses in the rest of the country. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom begged Congress for $14 billion in federal aid, claiming that the government has a “moral and ethical obligation to help the states”.

And this seems to be exactly how states like California are surviving, by stealing tax dollars from people in other states that have been more responsible in caring for their economies.

. . .

What leftist cheerleaders often refuse to mention is the deep and insidious debt problems and deficits blue states suffer from. Looking at a list of the most indebted states in the U.S. in terms of total assets and liabilities, you will find that the vast majority of them are Democrat controlled.

Furthermore, blue states tend to have the highest levels of unfunded pension liabilities. In other words, their public pension obligations are only partially funded and are suffering a net loss ... Red states top the list in terms of the best funded pensions and the lowest debt per capita.

These debts are caused by irresponsible spending policies and endless socialist welfare measures, and as with most socialist systems, they always end up spending more money than they can bring in. They also end up wasting money more than they effectively spend money. This translates to much higher taxes, as blue states refuse to admit policy errors and fix their mistakes. Instead, they punish the citizenry with increased taxation. A list of the highest personal income taxes across the country is dominated by blue states.

Blue states like Illinois also stack the list of highest property taxes.

. . .

This dynamic has led to red states outperforming blue states across the board in terms of economic recovery. Job recovery in red states far outpaces blue states, along with recovery in GDP. As a result, a call has been rising for a “Blue State Bailout”, and with Biden ostensibly entering the White House they may very well get what they are asking for.

The problem is, the amount of bailout money that would satiate the hunger of blue states would have to be in the multi-trillions. As more and more people and businesses leave these places for more free states, it’s inevitable that tax revenues will dry up. And, as leftists raise taxes to cover the deficit even more people will relocate. It is a vicious cycle that will lead to complete dependency on federal dollars for blue states to survive.

. . .

It is also important to consider at a fundamental level the types of people that make up the populations of red states versus blue states. Blue states have built a culture of dependency and the majority of leftists have no useful skill sets that would allow them to adapt to an economic crisis. Meanwhile, red state culture encourages independence, self-reliance and productivity.

The most likely reaction among blue states or the federal government under Biden will be to try to “redistribute” the wealth and stability from red states to blue states.

. . .

There could also be an attempt to stop people from moving away from blue states entirely. We have already seen a beta test for this in California, where legislators are attempting to pass a bill which would legally require former residents to continue paying taxes to the state for years after they leave.

Of course, this would lead to severe resistance from conservatives, but that is a discussion for another time. The bottom line is this: the economic and pandemic policies of blue states have failed miserably. Their only option is to see the error of their ways, become fiscally responsible and remove totalitarian lockdown measures, or, attempt to leech success from the red states like parasites. Which one do you think they will choose?

There's more at the link.

It's a very serious concern that tax-and-spend progressive liberals now control the US government.  I guarantee you that they're going to try to do as Brandon Smith predicts.  (Nancy Pelosi tried, but failed, to do exactly that with her so-called "stimulus" packages last year.)  Since the Democratic Party now controls Congress, the Senate and the Presidency, there's a very good chance they'll succeed.  That might be the final nail in the coffin of the already debt-laden US economy, overloading it with a burden so great that it collapses under the strain.

I'm preparing a series of articles about inflation and the threat ahead.  It's growing worse by the day, and I believe we may be facing a very serious economic headwind as a result.  If we are, decades of tax-and-spend politics (which occurred, let's be honest, on both sides of the political aisle) will be at the root of it.


That's telling 'em!


I had to laugh at one response to a British man's tweet about firearms.  Paul Samuel asked on January 16th:

Many of the responses were supportive - but this one put things in proper perspective, IMHO.

As so many commenters have pointed out for so long, owning a firearm isn't a question of whether we need one, or even if we want one.  It's a natural right, rather than merely a legal right, and predates the US constitution (which recognized that natural, pre-existing right rather than conferring it - big difference!).  Anyone trying to prevent us exercising that right is going to run into all sorts of resistance, whether they like it or not.  It matters not whether they approve or disapprove.  That's the bottom line.

Self-defense - a natural right - automatically implies the tools needed to do that.  Both are natural rights, defense and tools.  The Catholic Church goes so far as to explicitly recognize that in its basic teaching, the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's.

2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

Most, if not all major religions have a similar perspective on our right to self-defense, and (of necessity) our right to possess the tools necessary to exercise that right.  Kinda puts things in perspective, no?  What's more, paragraph 2265 above doesn't only apply to governments and their agencies.  Parents hold the moral authority to defend those in their care against attack;  and each of us holds the moral authority to defend ourselves and other innocent persons against attack.  Since all of us "legitimately hold authority" in that sense, we also have the right to use the necessary tools to do so.


Monday, January 18, 2021

Political activity in a surveillance society


Progressive extremists have made clear their intention to silence any and all dissent, up to and including physical violence against those who openly disagree with them.  Deplatforming and verbal attacks against conservatives are the norm these days.  In some cases, that's extended to mobs threatening their homes, keeping them awake, targeting their families.  There have been arson attacks against political offices, and allegedly even against homes.

I expect this to get worse now that the extremists have taken over the United States government.  Just as under President Obama the organs of state were weaponized against his opponents - the IRS auditing them, the ATF running guns to drug cartels in Mexico to (allegedly) provide a convenient excuse to target Second Amendment rights, and so on - we can expect that to redouble in effort under President Biden and/or those manipulating him in the background.  The scope and complexity of information gathering mechanisms available to the powers that be are extraordinary, and getting more so every day.

Back in 2013, blogger "The Lizard Farmer" put up an article describing how criminals and terrorists could be (and are being) tracked down.  It remains an excellent description of how political extremists can use law enforcement tools and agencies, as well as the intelligence and other resources of the state, to do the same to those whom they see as a threat.  Here's an excerpt.

We just happened to get lucky (from our perspective anyway) and kill one of the insurgents and have possession of his body.  He had no identification, the serial number on his rifle had been removed, and he had even gone to the trouble to remove his own fingerprints (talk about dedication).  Those are some significant hurdles to overcome figuring out who this guy is right?  Yeah, but not something we can’t work around.  A quick phone call to the field gets us a good high resolution frontal image of the DIs (dead insurgent’s) face.  The case officer uploads that image into a work file and sends it off to multiple agencies, say the DoJ (FBI specifically), DHS, and the State Fusion Center (there are more but let’s keep it simple).   The Fusion center comes back a few hours later and identifies the individual as Bob Jones of Llano TX. How did they do that? By loading the pic of the DI into a biometric facial recognition program and running a comparison to Texas’s drivers license photo database. If they hadn’t gotten a hit it could have been compared to other states databases as well.  It would have taken more time  but eventually would have given us the identity.   Now we have a starting point.

First thing we do is get a quickie warrant and pull all of Bob’s home and cell phone records for the last 90 days.  Then we’ll identify every call he made or received in a certain radius say 200 miles.  These calls automatically get categorized into business numbers and residential numbers. All calls will be looked at however we’re going to jump into the residential numbers first.  In that pool we’ll separate the numbers into known and assumed family (by last name, tax returns, public records databases, etc.) and unknown reason contacts.  In the last 90 days there have been roughly 300 calls to personal numbers which belong to a pool of 125 individuals. These 125 are now our short list for the time being.

Now we have an identification and an address it’s time to generate physical warrants.  So the local boys go and raid Bob's home and take any and everything electronic, anything that remotely looks like correspondence, and any credit/debit cards or checkbooks. They even go so far as to search vehicles ... Note at this point we’re not trying to build a case against Bob – hell he’s dead.  We’re looking for cross referencing information to identify other remembers of his group.  Once those items are collected they are handed over to a team of forensic technicians which begin to dissect the information and cross check other databases.  Within 24 hours we have a comprehensive list of who he sent and received emails from, the IPs and cookies of the websites he’s visited,  any purchases he’s made online and quite a few of the offline ones as well.  Remember this isn’t all encompassing but intended to give you an idea of how it works.

All of this information gets laid out into what we’ll call a virtual “starfish” with each bit of info representing a point.  We’ve got systems running the phone records down to individual names associated with those accounts referenced by physical location and date, systems referencing any known purchases referenced by location and date, and any and everything else we can dump into the system to expand the starfish.  Once this part is done it’s time to start looking at known associations.  We do this by take the folks we’ve already identified and trying to determine  their association with good old Bob.  For the sake of simplicity we’ll start on phone records – those 125 individuals.  Those individuals names now generate their own starfish.   As the multitude of systems begin to return information on each individual those starfish grow as well.  at 36 hours to keep things simple we’ll reject all information on those other starfish if they do not correspond to any of the kegs on the starfish that represents Bob.  That narrows down things considerably.

. . .

A couple of days later the analysts come back with a narrowed list of 16 people that could still be considered suspect however Bob had no contact with those people within 14-21 days of the attack in which he was killed.  How did they arrive at the 16 people? Remember when the forensic team tore apart Bobs computer? They took his known data (his IP)  and ran it across the stored multiple metadata databases to identify which websites he had been visiting.  Of those websites a dozen were considered radical or fringe (at least under TPTBs definition of such).  they then ran a cross check against those 125 folks from the phone records and 16 other people on our list had visited some of those websites.

. . .

One thing that is puzzling is the fact that Bob didn’t have any phone or email contact with our new 16 person  short list in the period immediately preceding the attack. Attacks are typically coordinated so there had to be some form of communication.  By scrutinizing Bob’s debit purchase records we find that he had bought a “disposable phone” at the local big box store one day before his last contact with any of the 16 individuals we’re looking at.  Getting the number to that phone isn’t hard at all with a quick warrant for the metadata for that carriers phones that were activated within a 36 hour period in Bob’s area.  But for timeliness we’re also going to scrutinize those other 16 individuals transactions for the same type of purchase – disposable phones and we come up with nada for them.

The carrier returns the information from the warrant we wanted and two numbers show up as having been activated in the big box store parking lot within that time frame. A quick cross check shows one of the numbers has no association with any of our existing data however one has a call to his personal cell phone.  Bingo we now have his number.  And we can go back and get all of the metadata for that number including numbers called/received, location, time, and length of call.  The phone data itself is built into a starfish of its own and cross referenced against any known contacts Bob had.

There's much more at the link.  It's an eye-opening description of how just one piece of information can be built into a vast network of facts and educated assumptions that, over time, will uncover almost anything one wants to hide.

Sophisticated criminal organizations are well aware of this investigative capability, of course, and have developed some pretty amazing work-arounds.  I know of one drug cartel that routinely had its operatives purchase prepaid mobile phones (also known as "burner phones") by the dozen in every town where they operated.  They would activate them in that area, using false names and addresses, then send them in ones and twos to other towns, or to a central point from where they were redistributed.  In this way, each major geographic branch of the cartel received a big selection of prepaid phones that were not associated with it, or with the area in which it operated.  They would use each of them no more than once or twice, then discard and destroy it so it could never be traced back to them.  It was expensive in money and time, but they regarded this as a normal cost of doing business.

They also used central message repositories, both e-mail and voice messages.  An e-mail could be written, but left in draft form and not actually sent to anyone.  Cartel members who had the password to that e-mail account could log into it from a burner phone, read the message, and act on its instructions, or compose another draft message with their response.  The same thing could be done using Google Voice and similar services, where verbal messages could be left and picked up by all concerned.  Such methods are open to interception as soon as the authorities learn of them, of course, but by using cryptic language and indirect discussion, useful information can still be conveyed.  The accounts set up for that purpose would be used for only a limited time before being abandoned and replaced by others.

All those techniques are well known by now, and have lost much of their usefulness as a result.  Of course, new techniques have been developed to replace them, but it's probably not a good idea to go into them here.  Suffice it to say that law enforcement agencies are well aware of them.  It's a constant struggle between the good guys and the bad guys.  Sometimes one side is ahead, sometimes the other - but it's very, very hard to know which one is on top at any given time.

Sadly, those suffering under political repression may also have to learn to use such techniques in order to continue their activities.  If one is supporting sensitive causes, it's often best to be very discreet about it;  so adopting clandestine means of communication might be safest for all concerned.  I've long since done that in trying to help former convicts and others whom I encountered during my years of prison chaplaincy.  There's a network of people who try to help former inmates, getting them out of their crime-haunted neighborhoods and gang associations, and arranging a fresh start for them.  Some of those gangs are "blood in, blood out" organizations.  If they learned that one of their members wanted to leave them and/or their neighborhood, murder would be done.  Extreme caution must be observed in making such arrangements.  We've learned the hard way to take that very seriously indeed.

It's also worth noting that any overt communication seeking to whip up support for open opposition to the authorities, or the current majority in Congress, or anything like that, is unlikely to be what it looks like.  Law enforcement agencies (as well as political extremists) are old hands at "false flag" approaches.  Recent posters have called for armed demonstrations in all 50 State capitals and Washington, D.C. against the inauguration of our next President are a good example of such activities.  Do you really think that serious politicians or conservative activists would be dumb enough to openly call for such activities, and ask supporters to come armed?  It would be an invitation to their opponents - and the authorities - to crack down on the spot.  Those posters were almost certainly the acts of agents provocateurs, not the real thing.

Distrust almost everyone who tries to join you, or entice you to join their group, in efforts to oppose government policies and actions.  Most will probably be untrustworthy.  It was said some years ago that "the US is crawling with informers and agents provocateurs".  It's only gotten worse since that article was published.  Trust only those you've known for a long time and vetted as thoroughly as possible, and even then be very, very careful.  All sorts of pressures can be brought to bear to "turn" a trusted friend and colleague into an informant.  East Germany was an extreme example, but that sort of all-encompassing state monitoring of its citizens is much easier in a high-tech era like ours.  Much is already known about past efforts to do so in the USA.  I've no doubt that many more such efforts are currently under way.

With so much of our lives laid bare in the electronic spectrum, who knows just how much Big Brother already knows about us?  It's likely a whole lot more than we think - or that we'd like.


George Orwell must be rolling in his grave...


... to see (and hear) the state of politics in the USA right now.  American Thinker points out:

In his classic essay "Politics and the English Language," Orwell spoke of the condition where "words and meaning have almost parted company."  If that "almost" is a measure of Orwellian speech, then today's Democrat leaders are beyond Orwellian.  Their words and meaning have parted company entirely ... When politicians and media begin speaking nonsense, it is the symptom of an underlying corruption of political thinking.

. . .

One might say progressives like Nancy Pelosi have become "unhinged," but that would let them off the hook.  It would suggest that they don't quite realize what they are doing.  But what they are doing is the result of crafty political calculation.  They want to tie President Trump with the Capitol violence to the point that he can never run again.  The same political deviousness lies behind suggestions that he should not be in control of the nation's nuclear arsenal because of his supposed mental instability.

None of these charges has anything to do with the truth.  Those most responsible for the Capitol disturbance were those who rigged the presidential election ... But the charges against President Trump are Orwellian in that they invert the truth.  The president argued, as he had every right to do, that the election was rigged, and he urged peaceful protest to defend our republic.

Even the president's calming words on the afternoon of the Capitol break-in have been met with Orwellian reaction.  When President Trump said, "Go home. Go in peace," the media charged him with inciting further violence because he expressed his "love" for his supporters.  That expression of love did more than anything to get them to go home.

In a further Orwellian twist, Biden and his cronies appear to have adopted many of President Trump's ideas for running the country, but they can't admit where those ideas came from.

. . .

The most important line in Orwell's famous essay is this: "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible."  The progressive inversion of the truth is just that: an attempt to defend the indefensible.

If progressives were honest and straightforward, they would be forced to state that they are radical environmentalists and socialists who want government to control the economy and equalize wages; who want socialized medicine for all; who think religious expression should be outlawed; who believe in a universal guaranteed income; who want to outlaw the use of fossil fuels; who want to expand affirmative action putting blacks and Hispanics farther ahead of whites; who believe that any reference to biological sex should be outlawed; who believe that America should be not a global superpower, but merely one nation among others; who believe that abortion at any stage is a universal right; who believe that American aid should go to the Palestinians and not to Israel; and so on.

. . .

The coordinated effort to impeach and convict the president is nothing less than a propaganda campaign, and the associated suppression of free speech on social media and elsewhere is the beginning of a dangerous national decline.  It's not possible to say where it will end, but we must be entirely clear about what is happening.  A progressive government will attempt to further limit free speech, assembly, religious expression, gun rights, access to employment, and other basic liberties.

. . .

Don't think it can't happen here.  It begins with "the defence of the indefensible" — and that is already well underway.

There's more at the link.  Recommended reading.

It's not only Orwell who saw this coming.  In his novel "Brave New World", Aldous Huxley foresaw psychological manipulation and mental conditioning as tools to reshape society.  The use of language as a tool to accomplish this purpose is something all authoritarian societies have sought to impose on their citizens.  For example, I experienced it at first hand in South Africa under apartheid.  It's profoundly disturbing to see it take hold here in the very cradle of political freedom and individual rights, the United States.  This country, of all countries, was not made for groupthink!

On the other hand, the use of Orwellian language is a pretty useful identifier as to the character and motives of the person or persons using it.  Whenever we see or hear it being used, we can be fairly sure that the ideas being espoused are worthless, and those espousing them are corrupt charlatans.  It's a dead give-away, and has proved to be so among extremists and ideologues everywhere.

Orwell recognized this, of course.  From his concluding remarks in the abovementioned essay:

Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

True dat!

It's up to us to counter such spurious language with truth.  There may not be many who will listen to it, or to us, but if we don't, how will anyone learn to recognize the truth amid the barrage of politically correct propaganda that's being unleashed against it, and us?  Those of us who believe in truth will have to build our own platforms to get it out there, in the face of de-platforming and other tactics designed to silence any and all opposition.  If we don't, we have only ourselves to blame.


Memes that made me laugh 41


Harvested from the Interwebs over the past week.

(Click the above image for a larger view)

Speaking of Ghostbusters, will the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man administer the oath of office on Wednesday?  Everything else about the ceremony will be fake, thanks to electoral fraud, so why not Hollywoodize the oath as well?


Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sunday morning music


Last Sunday we began a two-part article on the guitar concertos (and some other guitar pieces) of Mauro Giuliani.  This week we conclude that series with more outstanding performances from Pepe Romero and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner.

This video comprises:

  1. Concerto No.3 in F, Op.70  (0:00)
  2. Introduction, Theme with Variations and Polonaise in A, Op.65 - Introduction  (27:55)
  3. Grande Ouverture, Op.61  (47:28)
  4. La Melanconia  (55:10)
  5. Variations on a Theme of Handel, Op.107  (58:15)
  6. Variazioni Concertanti, Op.130  (1:05:44)

Modern guitar music is all very well, but there's something innately peaceful and mentally soothing about baroque and classical music for that instrument.  Clearly, it's intended for the highly strung!


Saturday, January 16, 2021

Saturday Snippet: Things Cops Know


Police work is often a closed book to many of us.  So much goes on that can't be described to outsiders, because it's too brutal, or too agonizing, or too gut-wrenching.  As a result of this and other factors, cops carry a terrible load of stress, resulting in much higher divorce and suicide rates than most other professions.

In an attempt to help the rest of us understand how cops think and feel about their job, Adam Plantinga wrote a book titled "400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman".

It was very successful, so he followed it a few years later with a sequel, "Police Craft: What Cops Know About Crime, Community and Violence".

Obviously, he has to "sugar-coat" certain aspects of the job, because they're too raw and brutal to be shared without that precaution.  I've worked in a law enforcement supporting role (as a prison chaplain, and a visiting chaplain to local agencies), and I've seen some of that rawness at first hand.  Nevertheless, even being a little reticent at times, he does a great job of conveying the reality of police work.

I'm going to quote several excerpts from his first book, "400 Things Cops Know".  I hope they give you a taste of the book as a whole.

Once in a while, even with the deep-rooted cynicism that comes with the job, you’ll get a casualty so raw that you carry it with you long after you clear the assignment. Like a seven-year-old girl who is struck by stray gunfire while playing outside her house and who dies at the scene in front of her family. One minute she is skipping rope. The next, she’s gone. And you read the rest of the news headlines that day. The government is unveiling a new food pyramid, which recommends one more serving of vegetables and one fewer of grains, and the price of gas is up three cents, and Paris Hilton has a new fragrance out. And it all seems so stupid and petty. And no, the whole world doesn’t come to a grinding halt just because a little girl is murdered on some corner in some city in America. But maybe, just for a little while, it should.

* * *

You’ll get hurt on this job. It is a certainty. It is the cost of doing business. After thirteen years, I’ve been socked in the face, kicked, and head-butted; had a chunk taken out of my right palm; and been hit by a car driven by a fleeing felon while I was on foot. During melees, I’ve sprained both my wrists so badly that I couldn’t put on socks for a week and smashed up my left elbow to the point where, even years later, whenever I rest it on a hard surface, it feels like it’s on fire. I’ve been black and blue from head to foot. My right ankle still makes unnatural sounds after I rolled it going over a fence in pursuit of a suspect. But my injuries pale in comparison to those of other cops I know who have wrecked lower backs and bulging disks in their necks from traffic accidents, who have sustained broken ribs from fights with combative suspects, who are convalescing after being shot multiple times in the chest during close-range gunfights, or who have had fingers bitten clean off by plumb-crazy people. You tend to get excellent health coverage with this job. That’s good because you use it all the time.

* * *

If you respond to a holdup alarm at a bank with a suspect potentially still inside, you’ll tape everything off and cops will be covering the perimeter with shotguns, awaiting the order to go in. This will not stop citizens from driving up and asking if the bank is closed. One time I told a guy, yeah, it’s closed because of a bank robbery that could still be in progress. He then asked if he could just pop in briefly to use the ATM. “I have to get money out,” he explained, as if this ATM possessed magical money-producing properties that the dozens of other ATMs at nearby unrobbed banks did not.

* * *

As a cop, it’s easy to get discouraged about the state of today’s youth. You don’t see much of the honors student bound for Dartmouth, because he doesn’t do anything that would cause him to come into contact with you. You mostly see the teen hustler wearing a jacket with dollar signs written on it gearing up to break the Ten Commandments but good. You patrol neighborhoods where toddlers chew absently on cigarette butts from the ground and two-year-olds with matted hair and jam-smeared faces play unsupervised in the street. You see fifth graders with girls’ names tattooed on their arms. You talk to teenagers whose dad is locked up and whose mom is strung out on dope. The kid’s breakfast is a bag of chips and his lunch is a butter sandwich—which is exactly what it sounds like—and his friends are all just like him and some of them are carrying guns. Does it really come as a shock that these young people tend to fall out on the lawless end? They’re just little criminals waiting to become big criminals. The shock would be if they turned out halfway normal. You marvel at the few who make it. It’s the equivalent of muscling their way out of quicksand.

* * *

One of the reasons you have your hands so full with wayward youth is that people who arguably shouldn’t be reproducing are having two, six, nine kids and counting with a slew of different partners. I ran into a guy named Milton once, a foul-mouthed con on parole for homicide who proudly boasted that he has sired thirteen kids, none of whom he could support, but most of whom were named after him. He was going to have even more kids, Milton told me. He was going to create an army of little Miltons.

Or take twenty-one-year-old bipolar street hooker Veronica, who sports a tattoo on her left shoulder that says “Bitch” and has a small bandage on her arm from a recent gonorrhea shot. Veronica has given birth to two children, one a four-month-old boy and the other a one-year-old girl, and the Bureau of Child Welfare is a regular visitor to her house regarding allegations of child abuse and neglect. Veronica is having problems with one of the children’s fathers, a man named Andre. Veronica has a domestic abuse injunction against Andre, and Andre has a similar injunction against Veronica, legal orders that both of them routinely violate. Ask Veronica how it’s going with Andre and she’ll tell you matter of factly that she “bit his ****” during their last encounter because he tried to rape her.

These parents make one think of a passage from The Closing of the American Mind: “But they have nothing to give their children in the way of a vision of the world, of high models of action or profound sense of connection with others.”

What they have instead is the ability to create generations of family units that are at best tangled and at worst hopelessly broken. Some of these kids may claw their way out of their situation through a combination of determination and luck, but the deck is stacked. This influx of maladjusted, physically and mentally unhealthy kids is at the core of many of our societal problems, especially when they grow up into maladjusted, unhealthy adults who commit a boatload of crimes.

* * *

In winter, some families who can’t afford rent still string a hundred dollars’ worth of Christmas lights down their front porch, and suspects flee from the police on foot and often shed their jacket or hooded sweatshirt to avoid detection. In rough weather, this doesn’t always help them, because if you respond to the pursuit and see someone badly underdressed for the climate, you know something is up. Guys don’t walk around in just a T-shirt when it’s 15 degrees out, unless they’re fleeing from the police or they’ve just lost a bet. If you don’t find the suspect but do find his jacket abandoned in the bushes, you set up containment on the block and wait him out. If you’re tooth-chatteringly cold in your heavy winter cop jacket and long johns, you know he’s hurting without a coat at all. After about five minutes, suspects have been known to walk out from their hiding spot and turn themselves in, electing for jail over dying of exposure. If the suspect doesn’t emerge, you pack up shop and leave. Maybe he’s frozen in mid-stride, in which case he’ll turn up come spring thaw.

* * *

Sometimes you’ll find dope on a suspect and then later, when you’re back at the station typing up your report, you may struggle to remember where exactly the stash was on that guy. Was it in the left side of the coat? The front of the hoodie? The back of the shorts? Right rear pocket? Left rear? Front lower right? Perhaps for this reason, an inordinately high number of police reports indicate that the narcotics were recovered from the suspect’s right front pants pocket. This particular pocket has been known to serve as a universal fallback when memory falters. Although once in a while, this can lead to complications. I’ve heard a story, perhaps apocryphal, about a street officer who indicated in his incident report that he recovered drugs from that very pocket.

“That seems a strange place for this man to put drugs,” the reviewing sergeant said.

“Why?” the arresting officer asked.

“Because,” the sergeant pointed out, “he’s got no ****ing right arm.”

* * *

Longtime officers and detectives from Sensitive Crimes often look physically and spiritually weary, as most people would if they were exposed to a steady diet of crimes against children. If you talk with them for a spell, they’ll describe the unique nature of pedophiles to you. You could take Halle Berry, they’ll say, and parade her around naked in front of these offenders and they won’t care. They’ll push past Halle to get to that seven-year-old boy or ten-year-old girl. You see, they’ll continue, most crimes are a means to an end. A guy robs a store because he wants money, not because he necessarily likes robbing places. If he had another way to get money, he probably wouldn’t rob the store. But for a pedophile, the means—sexual contact with a child—is the end. He has no other way to get what he wants.

Perhaps the other reason they seem weary is that their work involves conducting investigations into child pornography, especially those cases where the suspect has documented his or her own sexual contact with children. And you understand this. Because as a patrol cop, you never forget the first time you have to see it, especially if you have young children yourself. It is representative of a broken world, and there is such a disconnect between those vile images and the way things should be that your mind recoils at what goes on in the dark corners. You may think, even with everything you experience as a street cop, that there is still more good than evil in the world. When child pornography is in front of you, you question this assumption. You question it deeply. And you realize that if a suspect is in custody for such an offense, he may not be safe from you. You contemplate, just for a moment, how it would be well worth it to go into the cell and get your hands on him, worth it to lose your job and be charged criminally just for the chance to spend a few minutes physically punishing him for his unthinkable crime, as if this violence would somehow restore the balance of things. But you don’t do that. You lock it away. When you get home that night and watch your own sleeping children, you may weep. And if those same children ask you at some point if there are really such things as monsters in the world, you wonder if you may truthfully answer no.

* * * 

Police psychologists have testified that the typical police officer will see more human tragedy in the first three years of their career than the average person will see in a lifetime. You wonder if this is the aftermath you have to look forward to. You retire, bitter and iconoclastic and fifty pounds heavier than when you began, and get in four to twelve golden years of retirement, fighting heart disease and gout now instead of crime. And then you die. I heard a veteran sergeant once talking about his retired cop neighbor, a neighbor who spent most of his post-career days looking vacantly out on his lawn, a man whose sole focus was to mow immediately after the sergeant did so his grass would be more freshly cut than the sergeant’s. “You lose your mind after a while on this job,” the sergeant mused.

What’s more, recent FBI statistics show that police officers are six times more likely to kill themselves than the general public, a figure that more than triples after retirement. I know five people who have committed suicide. All of them were cops.

All of this is enough to make you vow to treat yourself better. Eat more raw vegetables. Listen to classical music. Maybe buy a smoothie machine. You gotta do something.

You also have to find a way to get meaningful sleep. Because as a working cop, you will battle the kind of sleep deprivation that any doctor or firefighter will understand. Whether it’s from working unanticipated overtime because your district station is awash in gangland shootings, or having morning court after a long night’s shift, fatigue sets in and has its way with you. You’re typing a police report that could put a dangerous felon away for life and you’re so tired you can’t remember what day it is. You get up from the desk to walk into another room to get something and you stop still because you can’t remember what you came in for. The defense is grilling you on the witness stand and your head feels like it’s stuffed with cotton. The instructions on your bottle of caffeine pills say just to take one but you pop three. It’s no way to live, and your job performance suffers for it.

* * *

The job will change you. It changes everyone, for better and worse. You will become far more alert to your surroundings. You will keep your gun hand free even when off duty. You will become hyperaware when taking money out of ATMs, day or night. You’ll look inside convenience stores and banks before you enter to make sure you aren’t walking in on a holdup in progress.

If you didn’t curse before you became a cop, you probably will once you have six months in on this campaign. You will curse like a dockworker. You will also become angrier. More disillusioned. Far more skeptical about the inherent goodness of humankind. The constant exposure to toxic social conditions and dealing with people at their hopeless worst solders an extra layer onto your skin. You see too much darkness, and it becomes part of you in ways you may not fully understand. Some describe this condition as compassion fatigue, the main symptom being a vague sense of loathing for human frailty and for one’s self. Maybe this extra layer is good. It keeps you from being emotionally invested and affords you the detachment you need to be an objective investigator. It acts like a suit of armor against the elements. But part of you may want to be, well, illusioned again. Part of you wishes that guy you used to be, the one in the police academy with the fresh haircut and the extra-shiny shoes, wasn’t such a stranger to you now. You know that for the most part, it’s good that guy is gone. He meant well, but he wasn’t an effective street cop. He was too hesitant, too trusting. He’s been replaced, and you don’t expect him back.

But once in a while, you sort of miss him.

When you get frustrated about cops and law enforcement, it helps to think about what they go through every day.  It's a different world behind the badge, one that many of us can't even begin to imagine.


Friday, January 15, 2021

The trials and tribulations (and triumphs) of rifle upgrades


In the run-up to the Presidential inauguration next week, a number of friends asked me (as others did earlier last year) to work with them to bring their personal defense rifles "up to speed", fully in order to protect against possible unrest, riots, etc.  I'm not a firearm dealer or gunsmith, so I don't take guns in and keep them while repairing them - that would mean I'd have to get a gunsmith's Federal Firearm License.  Instead, I work with them to diagnose what's wrong and/or what's needed, they and I order the parts, and then we get together and I show them how to install them.  It's simple and legal.

I've been doing a fair amount of that over the past few weeks.  It's been rendered far more difficult because everyone and his brother appear to be buying any and every part available, to fix up their own rifles and/or build more, in case the next Administration tries to make it more difficult to do so.  That means some critical parts (e.g. enhanced triggers, quality barrels, etc.) have been sold out most places we've looked, and stay that way every time we check.  However, the vendors are getting more supplies in - it's just that they sell out within minutes of being posted on their Web sites.  The only way to "get yours" is to check their sites daily, sometimes multiple times daily, and pounce on something when it appears.

That happened to me yesterday - twice, in fact.  I needed several of a particular part, which is extraordinarily hard to find at present.  I logged into the Web site of one vendor to find that they had stock of it, after weeks of having none.  I instantly ordered what I needed, and the transaction appeared to go through:  but then the display changed at once to "out of stock".  Puzzled, I got hold of a support person at the vendor.  She confirmed that they'd gotten just a few of that part, and listed them only a few minutes before.  They'd all been sold within 5 minutes, and I'd scooped the last available examples.  I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  I guess a lot of other people were doing the same thing as I, visiting the Web site frequently in the hope of finding what we need.  I got lucky this time.  Color me happy!

I also dropped into my local firearms dealer, on the off-chance that he might have received new stock.  Sure enough, he had - a bolt carrier group from a particularly well reputed manufacturer, one that I buy preferentially whenever they're available.  He quoted me a price that's higher than what one would normally pay for it, but still less than it's being sold for by some online vendors (when they have stock, which isn't often these days).  I didn't hesitate, and walked out with it in my hot little hands.  One of my friends is going to be very happy to get it - his is rather worn, and there's a crack developing in the metal.

My stock of spare parts is getting very depleted through all this.  I daresay that by next week, I'll be down to one or none of most parts;  but given the timeline of events, I'll accept that in the interests of getting this done before the 20th, and resupply as and when I can.  Who knows what might happen after that date?

If you own an AR-15 and intend to practice with it a lot, I strongly suggest that you keep in stock at least the following spare parts for it, in case of future need.  (Frankly, if you shoot a lot, have a second rifle on standby as well!)  I'm going to link to particular vendors and manufacturers here for simplicity, but remember you can find equivalents from many other suppliers - you're not limited to what I mention here.  These are just examples.

  • At minimum, a spare bolt;  if possible, a complete bolt carrier group.  Have one for every different cartridge you shoot - I keep 5.56x45mm and 7.62x39mm bolts in stock, plus a single bolt carrier that can accommodate either of them.  Also, I highly recommend keeping a spare bolt repair kit for each bolt, including a spare firing pin.
  • A spare buffer spring.
  • At minimum, a field repair kit;  if possible, a full lower parts kit, to replace any plunger, pin or spring that may be damaged or go missing during disassembly.
  • A spare gas block, gas tube and gas tube roll pin that will fit your barrel's gas system.
  • If you use an electronic sight (e.g. a red dot sight), consider keeping a spare unit in reserve, in case something happens to your primary sight.  This doesn't have to be as good as the primary unit;  you can save money on the backup.  For example, I know one shooter whose primary sight is an Aimpoint Micro H-2, costing over $800 at current prices.  His backup sight is a Bushnell TRS-25, similar in size and function, but costing less than $100.  (For less affluent shooters like myself, we'll use the TRS-25 or equivalent as a primary sight, thank you very much!)  Also, keep sufficient spare batteries on hand for everything on your weapon (sights, lights, etc.) that may need them.
  • The necessary tools, lubricants and cleaning agents to use all of the above, plus an understanding of how to do so.  If you've never built an AR-15 yourself, a good book(s) about it is essential (for the most comprehensive treatment, I highly recommend Patrick Sweeney's 4-book series), plus watching some of the instructional videos on YouTube.  I recommend those from Midway USA and Brownells for conciseness and accuracy.

SurvivalBlog offers advice on "investing" in firearms and components as early as possible, before the new administration can impose more restrictions on us (scroll down at the link to "Some Suggestions").  I can only endorse their recommendations.  I'm doing what off-paper, face-to-face deals I can in my area, as part of my own preparations.  Prepare before the emergency, not during or after it!

Happy shooting!


How health insurers make money at our expense...


... or, at least, it seems that way to many of us!  Stephan Pastis explains in his comic strip, "Pearls Before Swine".  Click the image to be taken to a larger version at the comic's Web page.

I wonder if the tax people follow a similar procedure?  It's like the old joke about the new, simplified tax form.  "How much money did you earn last year?  Send it!"


How to interpret the news in a totalitarian society


Sarah Hoyt has published a very useful article on her blog, describing how she learned (the hard way) to read between (and behind) the lines of news bulletins in the totalitarian society in Portugal where she grew up.

The first step is easy:

Assume nothing you read is true. This is regardless of whether you’d like it to be true or not ... Believe it or not, even when everything you read is a lie, you can reason your way to the truth. Or at least know sort of the shape of the truth and where it’s hiding.

Some of it, I’ll concede it’s practice. You sense a shift in governance, the president for life is old and you go “he’s dead and in a freezer.”

But some you can learn. Here’s the questions you should be asking yourself.

Why is this being published at all? ... Like when son and I were shopping for an apartment for him, and in one otherwise perfect apartment complex, the very nice manager out of nowhere felt the need to tell us “Cars rarely get boosted out of our parking lot.”

I mean, I’m glad. it’s better than the alternative, but why tell us that at all. (Btw, we later found out cars often got boosted from that place, so she was trying to warn us without breaking her contract or whatever.) And that is your first signal. Why tell us that?

The all too perfect choir. This is particularly noticeable when it comes to something happening and we’re immediately informed by every outlet that it was because of “thing someone on the right said or did.”

. . .

When they’re all screaming in unison, particularly when it’s way too early for them to know everything (and they never know everything) you know not only that they’re not telling the truth, but also that they want you to believe THIS.

. . .

You’re not allowed to dissent: As the FICUS (Fraud in Chief of the US) puts it “Don’t you dare call them protesters. They’re rioters. Insurgents” etc. etc. etc.

Real news can be and are debated. “Don’t you dare” and “How dare you” is a sign they’re afraid the lie won’t stick.

. . .

People acting at variance with what is being reported ... the current clown car coming into DC tells us they totes won, with the most votes ever, but the way they’re acting, tamping down all dissent, screaming the big, and ridiculous lies, and trying to get us to accept they’re totes legitimate or be punished if we don’t?

That’s not the way legitimate winners act. That’s the way nervous (and stupid) embezzlers act, when they don’t want you to open the package and find out it contains cut up pieces of newspaper, instead of bank notes.

There's more at the link.

I agree with almost everything Sarah says.  She endured the Communist-led "Carnation Revolution" that displaced the Estado Novo fascist regime.  I saw that same revolution from the other side, in Africa, where thousands of Portuguese residents of that nation's former colonies were abandoned by the new left-wing government of the colonial power, and left to their own devices in the face of takeovers by Communist terrorist/guerrilla movements.  They streamed across the borders to any country that would take them, many having abandoned everything they possessed in a frantic rush to get out ahead of the terrorists and their bully-boys.  (Yes, they were terrorists, formed, trained and supplied by Moscow and - in some cases - Beijing.  The "Red Admiral" basically handed the colonies to them after the revolution, doubtless instructed by his own Communist masters.)

I saw attempts to impose the same totalitarian control of the news media in South Africa.  More and more restrictive laws were passed, limiting what could be legally reported, and imposing swingeing penalties on journalists and editors who transgressed those limits.  Many ended up under so-called "banning orders", effectively destroying their careers.  Others fled abroad, to continue working for freedom as best they could at a distance.  Reading the news inside South Africa became an exercise in deduction.  "If they're telling us this, what do they really mean?  If they're not talking about this, but we know it's happening (from foreign news sources), why are they hiding it?  What are they really up to?"  Some of the restrictions were ludicrous:  for example, insisting that various items of military hardware were indigenous designs and locally produced, when anyone with any knowledge at all of military affairs could identify their real origin in a heartbeat - but woe betide you if you actually said that!

A classic example is the adamant denial by the "ruling class" in the United States, and its allies in the mainstream media, that no electoral fraud took place during the November 2020 Presidential elections.  It's as plain as the nose on your face that such fraud not only took place, but determined the outcome of the election.  It's impossible to deny that on the basis of the facts - therefore, they deny or ignore the facts.  "They've never been proved in a court of law!"  So what?  The powers that be have made very sure that every time they came into a court of law, they were ruled out before they could be judged, on the basis of this or that extraneous factor.  The media parrot the "party line" daily - "There's no evidence!  The allegations are baseless!"  Meanwhile, we all know better.

To obtain accurate news in future, we're going to have to learn to read between the lines of news reports, and read more widely than the mainstream media.  If we don't, they'll keep us in a state of perpetual ignorance.

In the old Soviet Union, there were two major newspapers:  Pravda (meaning "Truth") and Izvestia (meaning "Information" or, more colloquially, "The News").  Both parroted the "party line", spouting propaganda rather than the facts.  This led to a joke among Soviets that "There is no Pravda in Izvestia, and no Izvestia in Pravda!"  Sadly, something along those lines might become common in the USA before too long.

Deception has become the normal modus operandi of the progressive left.  It's up to us to detect it, expose it, and defeat it.