Playing the Indian Card

Monday, November 23, 2020

People of the Lie


Some people wear masks. Some people seem to speak, not spontaneously, but on a sort of internal tape delay. Their faces tend to fix in one expression: as often as not, a permanent smile; sometimes a neutral expression. There often seems to be a strain around the jaw. They are consciously controlling their faces, and it takes some effort.

If they laugh, you can hear that it is feigned, something they are imitating, not something from within themselves.

If they are not necessarily bad people, they are obviously people who feel they have something to hide. They have some sense of guilt; this may be deserved or undeserved.

Technically, these are “hypocrites.” The word, New Testament Greek, literally means an actor, or one who is wearing a stage mask, as Greek actors did.

M. Scott Peck calls them “People of the Lie.”

The one certain thing is that you cannot trust them. 

A Journal of the Plague Year


The year 2020 is not getting any saner. Toronto is going back into lockdown for 28 days, which will wipe out the Christmas shopping season and probably assure that all the independent brick-and-mortar retailers go bankrupt. It is generally only during the Christmas season that they ever turn a profit, and that is gone now.

Winter kicked off yesterday, after an eerily warm fall, with a blizzard.

Today, also news that the Oxford-Astro-Zeneca vaccine is 70% effective, adding to the Moderna and Pfizer entries. We now seem poised for a mad race to get everybody vaccinated before everybody gets the virus and dies. Latest estimates are that we will all be living with this crisis for another year; still masking and distancing. Hope that is wrong, but the experience so far is that everything has taken much longer than predicted.

Things are wild on the US election front as well. Several states are set to certify their votes today; in the meantime, Sidney Powell has been fired from the Trump legal team. This looks grim for Trump because she was the one claiming she would “release the kraken.” If Trump is pulling away from her, it sounds as though there is no kraken.

Jordan Peterson, back from near-death due to tranquilizer addiction, has just announced a sequel to his Twelve Rules for Life. It is titled, ominously, Beyond Order.

We will long remember this year. But probably not fondly.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The End


It is snowing outside my window; the first snow in Toronto this year. This is also the Solemnity of Christ the King, the end of the liturgical year.

The readings reflect what Christians believe will happen at the end of time. 

They give no support for the common secular “I’m OK, you’re OK” attitude. They see good guys, and bad guys, and a war of good against evil.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory,

and all the angels with him,

he will sit upon his glorious throne,

and all the nations will be assembled before him.

And he will separate them one from another,

as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the king will say to those on his right,

'Come, you who are blessed by my Father.

Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’

Then he will say to those on his left,

'Depart from me, you accursed,

into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’

And these will go off to eternal punishment,

but the righteous to eternal life."

And this repeats a motif in the Old Testament reading from Ezekiel:

Thus says the Lord GOD:

I myself will look after and tend my sheep. 

The lost I will seek out,

the strayed I will bring back,

the injured I will bind up,

the sick I will heal,

but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,

shepherding them rightly.

As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD,

I will judge between one sheep and another,

between rams and goats.”

The middle reading, from the Epistles, says that when Jesus comes again, he will 

“destroy every sovereignty and every authority and power. 

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.”

You can’t be complacent or play both sides. Everyone can’t be your friend. You are either a sheep or a goat.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

No Flies on William Golding


I had not read Lord of the Flies since high school. When William Golding won the Nobel Prize back in the Eighties, people generally thought it was for too slender a body of work, and I more or less agreed. I had read a couple of his other novels, and they came nowhere near LOTF. Was he really winning the Nobel Prize for one novel?

I just reread the book; I am teaching it. Golding absolutely deserved the Nobel. If one book says all that needs to be said, isn’t that the greatest accomplishment of all?

Friday, November 20, 2020

More of the Press Going Berserk


Trump's Second Term?


Red: state houses under Republican control.

In this insane year, what happens next with the US election? Whatever the courts decide, as I understand it, state legislatures have the option of refusing to certify that state’s results if they believe them fraudulent. The Republicans hold a majority of the state legislatures, including at least partial control of all the disputed states except Nevada.

If they refuse to certify results, the selection of the president goes to Congress: each state gets one vote. In Congress, too, the Republicans hold more states than the Democrats. So the presidency goes to Trump.

This would no doubt bring the left out into the streets claiming a coup. But it is the proper constitutional procedure; and the left is already out in the streets, and will probably remain in the streets, no matter what happens now. So the process might as well be followed; the alternative of approving a clearly fraudulent election might bring both sides out into the streets, and end in civil war.

I think the left sees this writing on the wall; for their behavior has become hysterical. Witness this piece from Vanity Fair; CNN refused to carry the Trump legal team’s press conference. It is like a childish tantrum.

The shock waves extend further: given the fraud the lawyers seem to have uncovered, without drastic and immediate steps, what elections in the US are secure? And what elections in other countries? Who is in office now due to fraud?

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Kraken Wakes


I think the stuff Trump’s lawyers alleged in their press conference today are enough that, even if Trump is not able to overturn the projected electoral college count and hold the presidency, a Biden presidency is untenable unless they can be fairly convincingly refuted.

Let Biden occupy the White House: his party has been repudiated in the Senate and has lost ground in the House. He has little mandate to do anything, and little chance of accomplishing anything.

Now, unless the charges can be credibly disproven, half the nation will also believe he stole the election, and is not a legitimate president.

What is the point, at that point?

Moreover, if they cannot be disproven, the Democratic brand looks irreparably tarnished.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

A Guilty Confession


I know it's sick. I know she's not good for me. 

But I do find Kamala Harris cute.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Journalism Dies in Darkness


It seems indisputable by now that the modern left has gone insane. It has been insane for a long time, really, in a low-key, narcissist way. But narcissists, called out, can sometimes become outright psychotic: disconnected from reality in an obvious way.

In his latest column, my leftward pal Xerxes writes “the US media [has at last] acknowledged that they have ethical responsibilities.” Yet what he cites as indicating this is the breakdown in US media of journalistic ethics. War is peace; ignorance is strength.

Specifically, he lauds six US networks for cutting off their president on-air in mid-sentence.

The first job of a journalist, self-evidently, is to report, not to suppress, the news. The US president addressing the nation is self-evidently important news in the US. If he speaks immediately after a contested election, they could hardly be more newsworthy. His remarks are false or inflammatory? That makes it more newsworthy still. You are encouraging journalistic malpractice: “journalists” suppressing news. This is morally equivalent to doctors poisoning their patients, policemen running shakedown rackets, or teachers actively preventing learning.

He more grudgingly lauds two other networks for showing Trump’s full speech, then following it with members of their own staff contradicting his claims. This is an unambiguous violation of the journalistic obligation of fairness: “journalists must present facts with impartiality and neutrality” (Wikipedia entry on journalistic ethics). Proper procedure is to get quotes from both sides of the argument--not to take sides. Nor would it have been difficult for an honest network to have gotten an immediate response to the president’s statement from some Democratic spokesman. If the journal wishes to express an opinion, this is done in a clearly-marked editorial or opinion segment. To simply declare a source’s statement false in the process of supposedly reporting straight news constitutes fraud. 

Sadly, this abandonment of journalistic ethics is becoming the norm. As a result, journalism in general is in dire straits. “Old media” is not dying simply because of the technological competition from new media. New media sources like Vox or Vice too have been losing readership and viewership, so long as they employ professional journalists and the same ethical standards; established brands cannot transition their existing news operations to the new platforms. They cannot compete with the new “citizen journalists” because they are no longer trusted. Surveys show this as well.