April 13, 2019

A Few Thoughts

...that, even more than submerged utility pipes or dated pop-culture references may cause distress to some readers will be posted 'blow the fold'.

The illustration 'above the fold' is for those who wish to avoid the politics, to which it is hopefully unrelated.


Art by Mocha.



more...

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April 09, 2019

An Actual Conversation

Andrew Yang, (One of the Democrat's surfeit of presidential candidates) actually sits down with Ben Shapiro and discusses policy and they have a long polite discussion about his proposals. While I don't agree with him on a couple of points, and strongly disagree regarding internet regulation, Yang actually seems mostly sane as he presents and defends his positions.



Its a sad commentary on our civics that this interview is worthy of note.

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January 02, 2019

Dark Times and Their Avoidance


It's a long post but I strongly suggest that you read it all, it is...sobering.

When people stop talking to one another, when they cannot communicate with or understand the other side...when the speech stops...the war begins. 

With that in mind, Peterson and Rubin have both decided to leave Patreon, effective the 15th.  


It's 31 minutes, but I again recommend you watch the whole thing. They do touch on something that I noted as the main concern when I did a post on the subject two weeks ago

The financial services issue. 

That Patreon did what they did to one of their customers who had not violated their TOS, was unprofessional at best and somewhat worrisome for anyone on the platform. However, what, to my mind at least, elevated this to "Serious Business" was the fact that Pay-Pal and the other online payment outfits pulled the plug on Subscribe Star when Subscribe Star did not refuse service to the clients ejected from Patreon. 

At that point the situation became a blacklist..one with teeth.

In that vein, over at Ambient Irony, Pixy links to an article at One Angry Gamer that describes similar actions being taken against a Death Metal band.  

The piece points out that the precedent for this was Obama's Operation  Choke  Point which weaponized financial institutions against businesses the Administration did not like, like porn stars and gun dealers. Choke Point was put down in 2017, but some of the electronic and informal infrastructure and more importantly the precedent for such counter constitutional restraints of trade presumably still exist.  about 15 paragraphs down though the  OAG article proposes that Pay-Pal and company are still getting their marching orders for these bans from the FDIC and this is all a deep state conspiracy.

Here's the thing. 

I don't think the FDIC took a stance on Sargon of Akkad. 

However, the same article links to a rather scattershot video by SFO that has some things to say about MasterCard. (He's really dug deep into Mastercard)

THAT is less silly, because Master Card (and financial bottlenecks in general ) came up not only in the Peterson/Rubin video above in the transcript of the much discussed phone call  between Matt Christensen and Jaqueline Hart concerning the larger matter of free speech on Patreon.
JACQUELINE: The problem is is patreon takes payments.  And while we are obviously supportive of the first amendment, there are other things that we have to consider. Our mission is to fund the creative class. In order to accomplish that mission we have to build a community of creators that are comfortable sharing a platform, and if we allow certain types of speech that some people would call free speech, then only creators that use patreon that don’t mind their branding associated with that kind of speech would be those who use patreon and we fail at our mission.  But secondly as a membership platform, payment processing is one of the core value propositions that we have.  Payment processing depends on our ability to use the global payment network, and they have rules for what they will process.    

MATT:  Are you telling me that this was Patreon’s decision then, or someone pressured you into this? 

JACQUELINE:  No - this was entirely Patreon’s decision.  

MATT:  Well then I don’t understand passing the buck off to somebody else.  

JACQUELINE:  No, I’m not passing the buck off.  The thing is we have guidelines, but I’m trying to explain, #1 it is our mission to fund the creative class and obviously some people may not want to be associated.  

MATT:  Well if it’s your mission, then payment processors are irrelevant.  It’s your mission.  That’s what you’re pursuing.  

JACQUELINE:  We’re not visa and mastercard ourselves - we can’t just make the rules.  That’s what I’m saying - there is an extra layer there.  

MATT:  Right, but that extra layer is not necessarily relevant if your own goals that you’re pursuing are already doing that anyway.  

JACQUELINE:  I don’t necessarily see it that way.  I sort of see it along two lines - so if we said, we want this to just be a free speech platform - we’re 100% dedicated to free speech - then that isn’t really true to our mission.

MATT:  What percent dedicated are you to free speech?

(Long Multipage Break)


JACQUELINE:  We’re not a free market.  Again, this goes back to - 

MATT:  Okay.  I’m glad you admit that.    

JACQUELINE:  This goes back to what I was saying about that we are a payment processor and that is one of our core value propositions that we have, is that payment processing depends on our ability to use payment networks and we have to abide by those rules.

MATT:  But that is not what you’ve been telling me repeatedly.  You go back and forth between telling me we have to uphold our ideal, and then passing the buck off to payment processors who are holding you to this standard, begrudgingly I suppose.  Either you agree with that standard or you don’t.   

JACQUELINE:  What I’m saying is we have to have policies whether or not I personally believe in something or-or.

MATT:  When I say ‘you,’ I mean Patreon, obviously.   

JACQUELINE:  The problem though is that Patreon itself has to base their guidelines on the people that they work with and that they share information with and so- 

MATT:  But you have been telling me this whole time that you support those guidelines.

JACQUELINE:  I do support those guidelines.

MATT:  Okay. So - 

JACQUELINE:  But you have to base those on something so this is what I’m saying. Even if I personally came into Patreon and said, you know, ‘I believe 100% in absolute free speech’ I-I will not be able to make that the guidelines even if that’s what I personally believe. We have a lot of people here who believe that, but -

MATT:   Well let me ask you this - has there ever been a case where a payment processor has come to Patreon and said ‘you guys are enabling too much hate speech, we’re gonna cut you off?’

JACQUELINE:  As in Patreon?

MATT:  Yeah - is there a reason you have to bend the knee to these payment processors? Have they made you bend the knee before?

JACQUELINE:  I-I’m not going to get into a discussion about our payment partners specifically. 

So...I think this is not a great government conspiracy. 

However, there do seem to be a bunch of like minded people who have decided to determine whose cool and whose not. This is at it most basic the same as a bunch of preppies or mean girls in High School working to protect the exclusivity of their clique, and the emotional sophistication is probably similar. 

Illuminati this ain't.

However, this clique controls banks, so the power they wield and its implications are consequential.

 The upper echelons of our society and the world at large are in many ways a monoculture that has gotten exceedingly provincial over the last decade or so despite their aspirations to cosmopolitanism. The secular faith that they discarded their old timey religion for has at its disposal the manic enthusiasm of the newly converted feeding its own ruthless Inquisition. The Gramscian march that created this intolerant and incurious monoculture is a thing of the left so there is an inherent political aspect and bias to this, but we need to be clear headed about the situation.

 The situation is genuinely troubling, but it is not hopeless. Decentralization and preferably distributed networks  are the best ways to neuter the gatekeepers. Rubin, Peterson and others look to be working on that. 

So be of good cheer in the new year. 
 
And don't bend the knee.

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December 14, 2018

While I Was Out the Situation Deteriorated

Carl Benjamin, a YouTuber who goes by the ever-so-modest online handle of Sargon of Akkad got banned by Patreon earlier this week. 



"'Who?"

Sargon is a Vlogger from the U.K. who opines on everything from video games to human rights. 

He's a bit of a troll.

OK he's a lot of a troll, albeit a particularly erudite one. 

He's definitely a mixed bag, occasionally doing absolutely spot on commentary like this take of the ethics and politics of STARSHIP TROOPERS of all things, and sometimes being an utter, douche, like here where he says mindnumbingly stupid stuff in defense of the Incel asshattery that is the asinine THOT audit. Sargon's a leftie and an atheist and so I disagree with him about a lot of things, but one of the things that I do agree with him about is his uncompromising stance on free speech. 

Here he is on his best behavior...


It seems that almost a year ago, for some inexplicable reason, Sargon used the "N word" while mocking and berating some white supremacists who's loathsome antics he has been reporting on; and who in turn have been getting all stalky and doxxy with his family. 

Now, using the "N-word" is always an inadviseable thing for us honky crackers. Indeed, this rule applies even when talking down to literal nazis...as is evidenced by the fact that the literal nazis he was responding to reported his unwoke language to Patreon's reassuringly named Trust and Safety Council,* which promptly banned him....for something he'd said on a livestream that was not in any way associated with Patreon.


"And we should care because...?"

Here's why this bit of internet drama is a concern...

A solid argument can, of course, be made that Patreon should be allowed disallow any behavior on their platform that gives them hives. 

That's freedom.

However, if they are going to do that then that needs to be in the TOS, you can't just nuke someone who has not violated any of your terms of service. Which is exactly what Patreon did.  Worse, the offending behavior was not even on their platform. 

This is unethical. Highly unethical and means that Patreon at this point cannot be trusted to honor contracts. 

Thus Patreon sucks and will screw you over as soon as you're on the outs with the "cool kids".  The fact that the deplatforming seems to have been initiated by neo-nazis it not technically relevant but adds another layer of dreadfulness to the affair.


"'kaaay...So patronize someone besides Patreon."

INDEED! There ought to be no need for concern here. 
Sargon should take his money to a competitor who wants it. Everybody wins.
That's FREEDOM...enabled by capitalism.

Lo and behold, it turns out there is at least one Patreon-esque outfit struggling to get out of Patreon's shadow and find some killer ap to differentiate themselves from Patreon

Well, that killer ap is freedom of speech.

So, Mr. Benjamin went to Subscribe Star.
He was followed there by other creators** who were also de-platformed by Patreon. More significantly, he was also followed by a surprising number who feared that they might be banned due to their views and Patreon's demonstrated perfidy and lots of others who migrated in solidarity with some outre' concept called "freedom of speech".


"See. Competition works."
"Now, why are people saying that a limey s**tlord's bad 
customer service experience is DEFCON 5 for free speech?"

Well, it most assuredly wasn't.

Until it was. 

You see, Pay-Pal , the ubiquitous online payment service then told Subscribe Star to ban Sargon and the other Patreon refugees. Subscribe Star refused and Paypal has now just cut off Subscribe Star's payment system. Stripe did too, and according to Subscribe Star, appears to not be releasing the creators funds it is holding!

Subscribe Star, to their considerable credit, is not buckling.

 
15 Dec 06:57

Dear friends.
We are here now not to tell you that "we are sorry but they made us to shut our shop down and now we are going to cry ourselves to sleep goodbye”.
Just the opposite - we are fighting back and integrating new unbiased and predictable processors that will allow us to grow with you. This takes time, we estimate anywhere between 2 and 3 weeks from start to finish. This may require us to extensively travel across the globe for the best possible solution.
Stars, you have to know - all your money were successfully rescued from the PayPal and will be paid out to you in a timely manner. We had less luck with Stripe, but it all manageable.
Subscribers - we temporarily paused accepting new subscribers, as well as new donations and tips. All previously contributions are safe and will be distributed to corresponding Stars properly. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Our team is working tirelessly for all of us being able to secure our future without fear of being bullied by the crooks in corporate suits and their subservient weasels.
We are online and will stay so. We wish you the same.
Talk to you soon!
Truly yours, 
SubscribeStar.com Team


"OK. That's actually scary."

That is the sort of thing that can lead to lead to idiot conspiracy theories, but this is where it gets scary. Here, is Jack Conte, founder and CEO of Patreon  on Dave Rubin's show a few months back discussing the culture of Silicon Valley.

If the embed doesn't cue right, the money quote is from 30:17 to 32:30

So these tech CEO's are all sitting down together or via conference call and deciding (amongst other matters of import) what their workers salaries are going to be. 


"Oh God. That's his COVER STORY!?" 

Conte is describing the smoke filled rooms of Gilded Age trusts. These guys are also talking to each other about the issues of the day and who should and should not have a platform. This is a syndicate.

It get's worse..

You see, there was another Patreon-like outfit until very recently. Thunderclap was very much the same thing as Patreon although worked largely through Facebook

In August of this year, Thunderclap was shut down when Facebook disallowed it from using their services.

Being a Russian company Subscribe Star is somewhat outside of Silicon Valley's more direct sphere of influence,  certainly they are more immune to the social pressures of acceptance in the virtual Versailles of the San Jose' virtue signaling clique. However, like all online businesses, Subscribe Star is still dependent on online payment services, which, as we are seeing, do feel those pressures. And of course, it's run out of...Russia...so it has all sorts of other potential issues, particularly regarding freedom of speech, election meddling and dangerous ursine bicyclists.

We're in a situation where the current bolt hole for free expression is a sketchy site run out of Russia, a situation that is so transcendentally wrong that it has left even the foul mouthed Razorfist temporarily unable to cuss...

Razorfist embed atypically SFW              

I understand if one doesn't want to click on a Razorfist link, but he's right. When speech is disallowed, violence becomes the medium of discourse. This is a bad highway to be on. 

We often joke that Animal Farm, 1984, and Brave New World are not a three volume how to manual. For some people though, they are, we've got we've got fricking "Trust and Safety Councils" that turn anyone with the correct politics who hate the right people this minute into members of their little Stassi. With the power to control the information and to deny people financial services if they hold unpopular views, comes incredible power for mischief.

We've covered the Chinese Sesame Credit System before and that, I am convinced, is where many of the individuals behind this policing of speech want to be.

All it takes to bring about this dream of the anointed is for each of us to say "That guy's an asshole! He deserves what he gets. That bitch over there had it coming too, serves her right." and be silent, or smug, or report the asshole to the Trust and Safety Council. Then, because every one of us is an asshole to someone, we'll be kept in our place by the very crab bucket culture we are nurturing. Meanwhile, the archdukes and marquesses of Palo Alto "tend their fields" by cutting off any poppies that grow too high

With that coming to pass, like the Greek City States before it, the 300 year aberration that is the enlightenment will disappear into the 300,000 year+ history of humanity as a short lived deviation from the mean. Things relating to freedom will go back to much as they were for the majority of that time, albeit with rather less ability to express heretical thoughts.

We're not there yet though.

There are people who will hold there noses and stand up for the rights of shitlords to opine on the matters of the day and who understand that words are not violence but rather the way violence is avoided. There are still search engines like Duck Duck Go and Epic that offer the ability for a Z-list blogger in Virginia to look up a news story that some seem to want to want to bury and we still have access to books written by great minds who saw where the path we are on leads and warn us from the grave*** to avoid the mistakes their societies made and take a different exit.  

Despair not, the fact that this post and every link in it exists is proof that all is not lost. 

But be aware. Be vigilant, and  keep your eyes open for the inevitable rough patches on the unlit road ahead.

UPDATE 12/16: Fixed links/syntax and made small caption edits.

UPDATE 12/16: Removed Google screencap and associated text as it could not be duplicated and was not germane to the post (see comments).


*and totally not Orwellian at all.
**at least one of whom seems to have actually been a genuine racist degenerate
***So perhaps a Russian site being the guardian of liberty is not so incongruous as we might suppose.

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October 26, 2018

Whelp

Trump-supporting, bodybuilding, Native American, Florida strip-club worker and Chippendale is the 'MAGAbomber'.


It is exactly as we secretly suspected.


"Yep. Florida Man."

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October 24, 2018

Oh This Will Help Calm Things I'm Sure (UPDATED)

It looks like some creep has sent pipe bombs to prominent Democrats. I guess he/she decided that the actions of the Unabomber and James Hodgkinson are examples and not horrible warnings.


UPDATE

Oh good grief.

Also. Regarding today's outbreak of TwitterMadness: We really don't know anything about these things or who sent them other than the silly logo, so holding forth about False Flag ops, Incel edgelords or Larry The Cable Guy fandom is the exact opposite of helpful.



Remember, whoever did this was probably a nutbar. This would make trying to figure out motive via inferring who logically and rationally stands to benefit a fools errand since logic and rationality may not be in play. 

UPDATE 2:
Finally! Some actual facts from Pixy in the comments.
...those fake ISIS stickers are literal false flags.

So THERE! No matter how this turns out, certain people will be able to save face. Thanks Pixy!

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I'm Sure This is a Story of Low Importance

...that has no ramifications for our national discourse whatsoever.


Also in Colorado, some of the voting instruction books are missing pages.



It's unclear if the Adams county ballots have been found or replaced, but according to the article, the Weld County Ballots were duplicated, meaning that there are thousands of extra ballots floating around in the wilds of Colorado.

Oy.

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September 20, 2018

Dispatches From the Department of Disquieting Developments

Pixy linked to this the other day and I think it really deserves rather wider distribution. 


On the surface, it's a very dry, inside baseball discussion by a Paul M. Jones  discussing a proposed Code of Conduct for open source code and IT work. This sounds both benign and banal until you realize that where benign and banal cross is their...intersection

The Contributor Covenant version on which the RFC is based is authored and maintained by intersectional technologist and transgender feminist Coraline Ada Ehmke. 


"Well, I'm sure THAT won't 
 immediately go pear shaped."

And yeah...It's about as much a dumpster fire as one might expect, but, like so much else today has some really creepy undertones. 

I strongly urge you to read the whole thing, which is replete with links to various other takes on the issue including Ehmke's. I further urge you to bring it to the attention of people with larger readerships.

The apparent importance of one proposed COC may seem deceptively limited in scope,  but the implications are quite troubling and reflect what is already happening. Several examples from the tech world over the last few years are been brought up in the notes at the end. 

This far beyond coders, pretty much everybody can be burned by this. 

Very related is this recent piece from The Phantom Soapbox which, while Twitter related takes a look at similar impulses...
They are watching other people be drummed out for the sin of "not a team player" because their hobby is shooting, or hunting, or even fishing. (Fish have feelings too, you murderer!!!) Or somebody found a pic on-line of them at a Pro-Life rally, or somebody saw them walking into a church on Sunday morning.

Speaking of the Stassi, this video that keeps popping up on Instapundit every few months is also relevant and shows where we are going to end up if we as a society don't get off the PC train. 

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August 28, 2018

Slightly Less Fun Than the Last Post


This video is three years old and it looks like Extra Credits was not only ahead of the curve on this story, but, due to their area of expertise, had some very interesting perspectives about the Chinese social credit system. The video also has some facinating bits of info regarding the Orwellian nightmare in question that haven't been widely reported.

One of the entities that runs the SCS is Tencent, the company that owns Riot Games, Epic Games and... Blizzard. 

Furthermore, it looks like a couple of specific features of the social credit system seem to have been given beta tests in Blizzard's popular MMO, World of Warcraft.

The whole social credit system is the stuff of nightmares, but the fact that western game companies are so heavily involved in the development of this is even more worrying as this has some...implications.

Perhaps Twittermobs are a beta test to explore more social manipulation of a more kinetic nature. 

This might sound paranoid. And you might think to yourself "That's retarded!" ...but if you didn't just think that...but you tweeted it, well, then you just got banned.

So who's retarded now?

UPDATE: OK, so you so you  just got suspended for a week. These things add up.

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August 24, 2018

THIS JUST IN: Stupidity Still Rampant



 "He should change his name to Jack"


more...

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August 21, 2018

Today's Facebook Follies

Facebook is instituting a TRUST-RATING FEATURE because their Panopticon is not just creepy enough yet. 




Also: If your Facebook page gets...big*...then you need to let Facebook know where you live


People who manage these pages that have significant followings are going to be asked to complete an authorization process in order to keep posting on their page.

"Well...that doesn't have any troubling implications."

Oh lighten up Sarcastic Coffee Girl. It's obvious that the idealistic nerds are just building a road to a glorious** future that we can get a glimpse of in this two year old Wired article and these two pieces that (entirely coincidentally I'm sure) ran on Drudge today. 

* definition of "big" is not firmly established at this time.
** definition of "glorious" may involve momentary discomfort.


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August 08, 2018

On the Spectrum of Lothsomeness

Alex Jones is a jerk, a creep, a lunatic, deeply offensive, societally corrosive, and an affront to all decency. 

He also, to the best of my knowledge, is not advocating anyone get banned for saying things that he finds disgracious to his demented world view.

This makes him vastly less loathsome to me than the people who advocate de-platforming him, and somewhat less loathsome than those who think that this is 'not the hill to dies on' .


More in depth thoughts on this here, here, and here. A less current but more succinct take on this issue has been making the rounds as well.


UPDATE:
Oh good Lord!

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April 26, 2018

Oh My.




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April 21, 2018

I'm on Campus This Evening, Working on my Last Three Papers.

Take heart though.


In stark contrast to college today, this will likely make you smarter.


Trigger Warning: Not recommended those who are easily disturbed, or suffer from anxiety or depression.

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April 19, 2018

Astonishingly, There are Things Happening in the World Besides Term Papers and Exams

This is one of the most interesting...



The bit about the Black Financial University site getting demonetized is interesting and downright scary. It looks like algorithims and outrage mobs are threatening to turn the internet into something as bland and even more risk averse than the 3 networks were pre-cable. 

As a child growing up in the era after the first attempts by network standards and practices departments to appease the outrage mobs, I can attest to the sort of place that leads to.


 

Oh. Dear.

Yeah kids, the future's gonna be THAT bad if GoogleFacebookAmazon runs it. 

A quick perusal of Maven's activism page leaves me somewhat less sanguine than Mr. McCollum, but still very hopeful. We eagerly await further developments there and elsewhere.

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April 12, 2018

Oh

Some years ago I was taking a class on historical methods. This involved learning proper citation and research techniques for HISTORY MAJORS. This was a 300 level course. Everyone in it was at least interested in HISTORY. 


The course was taught around the Holocaust, on the third day of class (my first day) a young lady tapped me on the shoulder and quietly asked a word that the instructor kept repeating in his lecture, but had given no explanation for, as if it was somehow supposed to be common knowledge...

"What's  an Auschwitz?"

"A NAZI concentration camp. One of the big ones."

"A what?'

"..."

The scariest thing about this is that in the course of the class it became clear that his young woman was not actually stupid. She was quite bright. She just didn't know.

People don't believe me when I tell them this.

However, via Instapundit, come indications that she was not a fluke....

More than one-fifth of millennials in the U.S. -- 22 percent -- haven'theard of, or aren't sure if they've heard of, the Holocaust, according to a study published Thursday,
...
...
Two-thirds of millennials could not identify in the survey what Auschwitz was

In other news, I note what is surely an unrelated trend.

And that taps out my bitter sarcasm reserves so I have no words left for the revelation  that Winston Churchill is widely thought to be a fictional character


This 2D lass sums up my thoughts on the matter though...




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April 05, 2018

Slow Clap


Yes.
Yes.

This fellow, no doubt, represents the greatest fear of the identitarians. The fate of our society hangs on how many of us define themselves this way.


Minor Quibble: OK, a select fire switch does not confer magical combat prowess, and its absence does not render one helpless, as our troops have learned from all those Martini-Henrys and Mosins in the Hindu Kush.

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March 11, 2018

That Train's Not Coming


Art by Pochi (A.K.A. Poti1990)

Not unless and until it's fixed...and that's going to take some work. 

more...

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October 25, 2017

Some Thoughts on the Politics of the Moment

He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
— Friedrich Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil

The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.
— Marcus Aurelius: Meditations

As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy.
— Christopher Dawson

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
— George Orwell: Animal Farm (Last line)

I may elaborate on this later. 

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September 22, 2017

Something That Reassuringly Bucks the Gestalt of the Age

Here's a right-winger and a left-winger who disagree on much, having a rational and friendly conversation about the issues of the day.

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