2020/11/27

The Big Four

Simon and Penguin House

A predictive model is only as good as its results. That means a reliable way to assess the value of a business strategy is to look at the projections made by people who employ that strategy. If their predictions based on a given model consistently pan out, it's a good bet that their model corresponds to reality.

The newpub moment that hit the scene when Amazon introduced the Kindle offers a useful example of this dynamic. For more than a decade now, independent authors have evangelizing writers away from the old New York publishing houses with the promise of greener pastures on the indie side. Many of newpub's key arguments rely on the prediction that oldpub's decline would force a merger of the Big Five publishers into the Big Four.

Indie authors have anticipated the Big Five's demise for years. A common newpub meme likened oldpub to lumbering dinosaurs obliviously grazing as the asteroid approached. Those dinosaurs proved more resilient than everybody thought. But this year, the asteroid finally hit.

And now, the long-prophesied event has come to pass.

ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAC, VIACA) today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell the publishing business Simon & Schuster (“Simon & Schuster”) to Penguin Random House LLC (“Penguin Random House”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, for $2.175 billion in cash.

This divesture follows a strategic review of non-core assets ViacomCBS undertook early in 2020. Proceeds from the transaction will be used to invest in ViacomCBS’s strategic growth priorities, including in streaming, as well as to fund the dividend and pay down debt.

This transaction is the outcome of a highly competitive auction that attracted interest from buyers around the world, reflecting Simon & Schuster’s position as one of the world’s best known publishing brands. Simon & Schuster has more than 30 publishing units across adult, children, audio and international. Its portfolio of best-selling authors includes Stephen King, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jason Reynolds, and it owns a rich backlist of perennial favorite titles such as Catch-22 and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The transaction is expected to close in 2021, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Upon close, Simon & Schuster will continue to be managed as a separate publishing unit under the Penguin Random House umbrella, and Jonathan Karp, President & CEO of Simon & Schuster, and Dennis Eulau, COO and CFO, will continue at the helm of the publishing house.

Cutting through the Madison Avenue marketing gloss reveals that ViacomCBS sold Simon & Schuster because they're deep in debt and their pet publisher isn't growing. Since newpub now has a majority share of the book market, it's no stretch to conclude that S&S has actually been contracting.

This press release also contains a nugget of information that the "Get woke, go broke" crowd missed all along. Pop Cult front companies don't go under when fans walk away because their Death Cult parent companies serve as multibillion-dollar safety nets. When a woke publisher, movie studio, or record label spills too much red ink on one megacorp's balance sheet, the parent company just swaps subsidiaries with another megacorp. It's a fiscal juggling act that makes sure the poz keeps flowing.

It also ensures that the parent companies' debts are never paid off. The enormous expense of keeping a dead business afloat does seem to put brakes on the megacorp gravy train. ViacomCBS is willing to lose a billion dollars shilling for Stephen King. But two billion? That's stretching plausible deniability.

What's significant about this deal is that ViacomCBS sold S&S to a fellow megacorp that already has its own publisher. In fact, that publisher is the result of a merger between two other publishing houses. That means the power players aren't just moving rooks around the board anymore. Pieces are being removed. A decade ago, there were six. Now there are five. Next year, there'll only be four.

That's exactly what the newpub oracles predicted--if not exactly when. It's easy to understand why their timetable was about five years off. Everybody thought of the Big Five as businesses out to make money, however ineptly. Nobody imagined back in 2014 that these companies are run by fanatical Death Cultists bent on destroying Christendom.

Simon & Schuster's merger with Penguin Random House confirms a core tenet of newpub. We can now be sure that the indie publishing model more closely aligns with reality than the oldpub model. The next test for newpub will come soon, since their follow up prediction is that the number and rate of oldpub mergers will increase. So far, those forecasts are right on track.

For more expert insights into oldpub's slow-motion collapse, see best seller Jon Del Arroz's video:


And for thrilling sci fi from an author dedicated to your entertainment, buy my new military mech adventure, Combat Frame XSeed: S!

Combat Frame XSeed: S - Brian Niemeier

2020/11/26

Give Thanks

Give Thanks

If the crises gripping the world, and our elites' inept yet draconian responses to them, are good for anything, it's to make us aware of what we take for granted. Ironically, one of those things is Thanksgiving. Who'd have thought just a year ago that the holidays might be cancelled in some states?

It's easy to forget that Thanksgiving was a minor regional celebration largely confined to New England before Lincoln made it a national holiday. He did so in large part to help ease the people's sorrow over the great crisis of their time.

This Thanksgiving offers all of us a much-needed chance to let the world's troubles mind themselves for a day while we take stock of our many blessings. As dire as the situation looks, it helps to put current circumstances in perspective. We didn't just lose 1/3-1/2 of the population, which makes the current plague look rather mild in comparison. America is not in open civil war--yet. If you're reading this, you probably have a standard of living to rival the pharaohs.

And even if all of that were to change tomorrow, we could still take solace in the fact hat Jesus Christ has already triumphed. His people are predestined to win. We're just waiting to see how our final victory unfolds in history.

So gather your family, disconnect from the internet, and set politics aside for the day. As you enjoy a feast that many in this world can only dream of, take a moment to thank God for the manifold blessings He has bestowed upon you. And ask for the grace to become worthy of them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

2020/11/25

Antecedent Passions

Passion

At this advanced stage of the West's decline, even the least observant have noticed that our rulers' increasingly absurd dictates aren't expected to help anyone. Instead, cruel farces like Drag Queen Story Hour, mandatory intersectionality indoctrination, and Zimbabwe-style land transfers are intended as humiliation rituals to demoralize the conquered populace.

It's only natural to feel a surge of anger when this hideous truth dawns on you. Dwelling on wrath and anxiety, however, is exactly what the enemy wants.

The command for Christians not to fear occurs more than any other divine precept in Scripture. That proscription doesn't require a Vulcan-like suppression of emotion. Human passions naturally move us toward material goods and away from temporal evils. What the Bible is warning against is letting your passions run wild to the point of overriding reason. This injunction extends to the other passions like sorrow, anger, and even love.

Man is a rational creature. In the natural order, all human emotion should be subject to right reason. Thus, consequent passion--emotion occurring after the intellect has evaluated the emotional stimulus and judged it licit--is perfectly moral. It's antecedent passion--a knee-jerk emotional response unexamined and ungoverned by reason--that can actually cloud the intellect, override the will, and lead us to sin.

That's not to say that the imperfect human intellect can't knowingly consent to illicit emotion, but that's unambiguously immoral. Getting carried away with snap emotional reactions is a far bigger and more common problem.

Ultimately, the main reason to rid oneself of antecedent passion is that it obscures man's vision of God. That means a saint has no antecedent emotion. Zero.

Again, the saints aren't Vulcans. What they have is consequent passion governed by right reason, which means that their emotions are perfectly proportional and fitting to their causes. They are also far more intense than the passions of dopamine junkies who soon become jaded from running on the hedonic treadmill.

No matter the political situation, self-mastery remains the key to personal tranquility and fulfillment. The philosophers agreed that the good life lay in perfecting virtue. By the same token, the Death Cult's humiliation rituals only work on those who are still beset with antecedent passion. The advanced disciple of the spiritual life knows that he deserves to be humiliated for his sins and doesn't let his pride kindle to uncontrolled anger. At the same time, he knows that man has great dignity by virtue of his creation in God's image, so he feels righteous indignation corresponding to the offense.

What offense would that be? Since man images God, an act which deliberately seeks to demean human dignity sins not only against one's neighbor, but against God. This goes doubly for those whom God has marked with the name Christians. The Death Cult violates the Second Commandment by putting to shame the people Christ has anointed prophet, priest, and king.

How does one break free from antecedent passion? The Scholastics likened it to a slender thread that we have the strength to break easily, yet most choose not to. A necessary step toward mastering our emotions is making a firm resolution to exercise mental discipline.

Thankfully, we're not on our own. Many times in Scripture, Jesus Christ promised to grant us peace. The interior peace of mastering our passions is part of what He promised. As with any attempt to grow in the spiritual life, turning to Christ must come first.

Master your emotions, and no one can trouble you.

Let reason govern you, and even the worst misrule can't touch your dignity.

Trust in Jesus Christ, and He will hand you the victory, regardless of human and demonic princes' schemes.

For a more thorough treatment of Christian detachment, watch this video by the inestimable Fr. Chad Ripperger:


Goes beyond analysis into action

2020/11/24

The Pharmacopeia

Pharmacopeia
A linguistic quirk that's become a hallmark of dissident jargon is the convention of referring to one or more "pills" as shorthand for certain mental states. Being bluepilled means uncritically accepting the official narrative on one or more issues. Taking the red pill indicates that one has wised up to a lie peddled by the Death Cult.

These original pill memes made their way into popular use from the pickup artist scene, which ironically cribbed the imagery from a movie made by a fraternal pair of degenerates. Their dubious origins aside, the red pill and the blue pill are handy methods of quickly conveying more complex ideas, so they naturally caught on.

As subcultures are wont to do, the dissident movement expanded their binary pharmacopeia with new pills to describe other mindsets. Whereas the red and blue pills connoted awareness or obliviousness to reality, a second set of pills was added to reflect one's reaction to eye-opening epiphanies. Thus, the red-blue X axis was joined by the black-white Y axis.

To give you the short version, a black pill is a bitter truth; while a white pill is a cause for optimism.

Another phenomenon you always see with subcultures is the hijacking of their slang by the wider culture. A case in point was when Con Inc. grifters co-opted the term "black piller" to tar supporters of the Groyper War. The insinuation was that stopping ex-Never Trumpers from imposing support for gay marriage and open borders on right-wing politics was somehow pessimistic.

Unfortunately, the bigger megaphones wielded by Con Inc. outfits like TPUSA and YAF gave them victory in the semantic battle over the black pill. Whereas before, blackpilling meant, "accepting a grim truth", it now means "spreading despair". You saw similar sleight of hand occur with the phrase "shooting right", whose meaning was completely inverted from an admonition for moderates not to countersignal hardliners to a bludgeon used by the bluepilled to stave off red pills.

These days, an accusation of blackpilling just means you've stated facts that have instilled cognitive dissonance in the listener. It' s a disqualifier used by moderate right-wingers in the same way that Leftists throw around the term "problematic".

Many on the Right are understandably baffled in the face of the fact that the Left keeps winning despite embracing a worldview based on bat guano crazy make-believe. The reason is that the Death Cult is animated by fervent, if misplaced zeal, while Conservatives seek refuge in practicality. An ironclad rule of history is that zeal beats pragmatism any day of the week.

That's not to say that the truth doesn't matter. What it does mean is that, all else being equal, the most fanatical side wins. An important conclusion to draw from the Cult's march from victory to victory is that so-called Conservative principles aren't as grounded in reality as Conservatives assume.

In fact, most Conservative principles are just Liberal principles from ten years ago. The Mammon Mob buys into the same basic assumptions about human nature as the Death Cult; they're just lukewarm about it. Their practice of standing in the path of the Cult's march shouting, "Slow down!" therefore looks arbitrary.

Ask a Conservative why he wants to win, and the most common answer will be, "So they'll leave me alone." The next most popular responses range from appeals to creature comforts to a shrug.

Ask a Death Cultist why he wants to win--not that you have to; they shout it from the rooftops--and you'll get a fiery sermon about the post-national, post-racial, post-Christian utopia in store for the world if we can just pile up enough corpses.

Yes, the latter is a horrifying vision, but it has the advantage of being a vision. The zealot can effortlessly dismiss your desires to be left alone, not pay taxes, and live with people like you as selfish impediments to progress.

Here's the ultimate truth at the heart of our current crisis: The triumphant Death Cult is a fanatical heresy fueled by stolen Christian zeal. It can be defeated if and only if enough people submit to the one true faith with equal zeal. 

Without Christ, you cannot hope to stand firm against the diabolically inspired Cult.

Without Christ, you will break under the random, selective, and irrational terror campaigns of our corrupt ruling class.

Without Christ, there is no victory, and no victory without Christ can be worth winning.

That some consider the above to be black pills says more about them than the alleged blackpillers.

Go to church. Stop sinning. Make atonement for your sins and those of all the world.

And win.

Happy, hopeful, and practical

2020/11/23

Combat Frame XSeed: Pocket War

Over the weekend, I attended a special three-day workshop organized by fans of Combat Frame XSeed. Soc Con wasn't your typical convention intended to lavish praise on the IP creator. All of the organizers and attendees are serious subject matter experts who convened with one goal and one goal only: to design a CFXS card game fit for cardboard crack connoisseurs.

I'll let their results speak for them.

Grenzmark C Card

Ein Dolph Card

XSeed Prometheus Card

Those of you who follow me here and on Twitter may have gleaned hints of a special XSeed-related project in the works. You heard right, and this is it. I'm delighted to introduce Combat Frame XSeed: Pocket War!

Special thanks to CardAnon, ArtAnon, and ComicAnon for their invaluable work on bringing a CFXS-themed card game to life. The first set is planned for 180 cards based on the awesome mechs and pilots from the first book. The rules are currently in play testing, but everyone who tried it agrees that there's a game here with legs.

Keep your eyes glued to Kairos and my Twitter feed for upcoming details!

In the meantime, I recently stopped by best selling author Jon Del Arroz's channel to chat about the latest book in my mecha thriller series, Combat Frame XSeed: S. We also chatted about general sci fi geekery. Give it a watch!


Tour the galaxy, fight the alien invasion!

Combat Frame XSeed: S - Brian Niemeier

2020/11/19

The Optimate Moment

Optimates

 A reader comments:

You seem to be taking the present situation pretty hard. I think you will find that, as Trump was unable to implement his agenda due to the "swamp" that the same effect also works on the Democrats. The country is too big and the Constitution puts too many blocks in the road for massive changes that you envision. The big challenge to the country occurred in 2008 when the GOP alone was blamed for the meltdown and the most left wing Democrat assumed the office of POTUS with a filibuster proof Senate and full control of congress. The people rose up and gave the GOP full control again. I don't think the Democrats are going to be anywhere near as powerful this time around.

I answer:

This is a misread of my reaction to the establishment's theft of the election. Longtime followers of this blog know I've been calling out the GOP's complicity since before Trump ran for office. Right after he was elected I gave him a < 1% chance of success.

The main reason is that the Swamp is a crooked police precinct, and the GOPe are just the good cops to the Dmes' bad cops. They're not going to help the new chief clean up the corruption. The silence of hacks like Mitch McConnell, Nimrata Haley, and Brian Kemp speaks volumes.

Far from depressing me, both parties dropping their masks has me excited. It gives us a rare chance to cast off our own blinders and return to a sane society ordered toward God, family, and the good.

At this turning point in history, Classical Liberalism has failed. We're living in the ruins it was fated to crumble into.

Now, I agree that establishment puppet pals Harris and Biden will most likely fail in implementing their agenda--but not because of any checks imposed by the GOP or the Constitution. Which Constitution would that be, anyway: the one that allowed slavery, the one that denied women the vote, or the one that enshrined infanticide as a human right?

Recent history tells us that the pretenders are doomed to fail simply because Democrats can't govern.

Bill Clinton's legacy is banging an intern in the Oval Office. Obama failed to enact any of his campaign promises, with the partial exception of a botched attempt at health care reform. Take careful not that the only reason a shell of the ACA remains is because the Republican Senate blocked a full repeal.

The truth is, the GOP were never going to betray their paymasters. Trump was never going to save the Republic. A system of government is not synonymous with the nation of people it governs. The United States fell a long time ago. The American nation still has a chance at salvation, and we're being given one of those precious chances right now.

A perusal of Scripture shows that God's M.O. is to offer a rebellious people multiple chances to repent between periods of escalating chastisement.

And boy, do we deserve chastisement!

The populist moment that swept the world in 2016 was the previous invitation to mend our ways. Instead, we largely squandered that olive branch to follow grifters hawking lifestyle brands and dig deeper into Red v Blue political theater. Bread and circuses.

Now the populist movement is spent, with little to show for itself. The leaders who rode the wave have either moved on to other things or are being made examples of. Trump is currently hanging on by his fingernails to avoid the latter fate. The party he supposedly leads is nowhere in sight.

Plenty of online pundits will tell you that national populism failed due to the lack of some wonkish plan or the overwhelming power of globalism. The historically proven truth is that victory comes only from God, and He gives it to those who serve Him.

Yes, the proximate end of politics is building up and maintaining the conditions necessary for public order. Low crime, low taxes, and even a secure border aren't ends in themselves, though. The ultimate end of political action is to facilitate the consecration of the temporal order to God.

God made everything. He therefore has sovereign claim of ownership to everything. He allots his property to us as gifts which we are morally bound to return in better shape than we found them. See the Parable of the Talents.

What did for the populists wasn't a failure to know what they wanted. It was a more fundamental failure to understand why they wanted it.

And contrary to Classical Liberalism's claims, there is a right answer.

I shed no tears for a movement that ultimately wanted the same creature comforts that drive small-souled bugmen, but was more honest about why it wanted to live in homogeneous neighborhoods. Trumpism failed because it never managed to counter the prevailing false Death Cult morality with the right morality.

Most of the people currently declaring the end of the world are disappointed Trump didn't take us back to 1988. Yes, a functioning economy, clean streets, and good video games are nice to have. But if they're distracting you from growing in virtue, you'd do well to let them go.

Our enemies are most likely going to gain total power over us. Despairing over that turn of events bespeaks disordered attachment to worldly things. Now, we're not Buddhists. It is licit for Christians to love created goods. But, we are to love them only for God's sake, not as ends in themselves. Getting that relationship wrong is called idolatry, and it's the main reason we've reached this point.

Said point, by the way, has the makings of an Optimate moment. Our only hope is to reorient society away from fixation on freedom as an end in itself and toward the true and the good.

Instead of holing up for the apocalypse, use the Death Cult's oppression as an invitation to humble and purify yourself and simplify your life. Like a muscle, virtue is strengthened through exercise against increasing resistance. Now is the perfect time to cultivate courage, wisdom, and charity.

That's the whole point, really. The Death Cult only has as much power as God allows, and He's allowing it to break our vices, especially the errors of Modernity.

The best action you can take right now is to ruthlessly identify and weed out anything in your life that's obstructing God's grace. Cut it out with the porn, already. Go to church. Get right with anybody who's got a beef with you. Pray--not primarily that God will give victory to the GOP--but that He will give you victory over your sins.

If you do this, and you come out the other side of Clown World holier than before, you can rightly thank Joe Biden's handlers for a gift that's precious above rubies.

And if that's too lofty for you, the insanity doesn't stop until we as a people repent, so you may as well start going through the motions. Who knows? Faking it may just lead you to making it.

Either way, a necessary first step to conquering vice is to stop cooperating with grave intrinsic evil.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

2020/11/18

The Corpse of Conservatism

Ben Shapiro - Conservatism

The 2016 presidential election will go down in history as the last. Now that one party can commit rampant vote fraud, and the other meekly accepts the fraudulent outcome, the US is a de facto one-party oligarchy. Simulated elections will still be held for show, but everyone will know them for shams. Tellingly, the only people trumpeting the integrity of the 2020 elections despite mounting proof of fraud are the same ones who shrieked about Russia rigging the 2016 race without any proof.

Few Republicans realize it yet, but this new political environment is as incompatible with Conservatism as the sulfuric acid atmosphere of Venus is with human life. Decades ago, William F. Buckley forcibly mutated Conservatism into a symbiote that could only survive as an appendage of the Left. The Democrat party's job was to consecrate the political apparatus to a secular Death Cult. In response, Republicans played the role of Cassandra, uttering dire warnings that Democrats wouldn't like the consequences of their actions while remaining powerless to stop them.

On second thought, that's not fair to Cassandra. She tried her best and only failed because of a divine curse. Republicans, in contrast, always excused their failure to act on their own warnings by conjuring ad hoc principles that conveniently tied their hands.

Conveniently for the Death Cult.

No issue tears the thin veil of integrity from inherent Conservative cowardice like the student debt crisis. When Chuck Schumer made noises recently about student loan forgiveness, Principled Conservatives™ dutifully started hyperventilating.

For a movement that lays claim to Christian moral principles, heeding a practice that's explicitly commanded in the Bible shouldn't be controversial. But Conservatism has been so subverted by Buckeyite economic wonkery that Conservatives now react to these verses like rabid feminists waving KEEP YOUR BIBLE OUT OF MY UTERUS! signs.

That's how you know modern Conservatism is really a creature of the Left. The historical Right is founded on ideals of throne and altar, family and order. 18th century economic theories and Cold War-era geopolitics are novel accretions duct-taped to authentic right-wing values.

Conservatism's regulatory capture by the Left is also why the post-Buckley movement is now a walking corpse. The Death Cult only needed Conservatism until the Democrat party could secure permanent electoral dominance. The GOP's job was to keep Americans squabbling about the GDP and tax codes so they didn't notice the Left seizing total power. Too impatient to wait for demographic winter, the Left tore off the mask and stole the last election. They have no more need of plausible deniability and no more need for Republicans.

Don't mourn for Conservatism. At the last, it sold us out. Two-faced hacks like Ben Shapiro, Charlie Kirk, and Dan Crenshaw will slither off to their rewards at the megacorps that are crushing the people who trusted them. It will be interesting to see what kind of genuine opposition to the Death Cult emerges without Con Inc. gatekeepers policing the talent pool.

Goes beyond analysis into action

2020/11/17

The Doomsday Model

doomsday
Russian scholar Peter Turchin has developed a model of societal collapse that's already yielded startingly accurate predictions. Acquainting yourself with his work is probably a good idea because, if he maintains his track record, we probably won't be enjoying the next 5-10 years very much.

The year 2020 has been kind to Turchin, for many of the same reasons it has been hell for the rest of us. Cities on fire, elected leaders endorsing violence, homicides surging—­­to a normal American, these are apocalyptic signs. To Turchin, they indicate that his models, which incorporate thousands of years of data about human history, are working. (“Not all of human history,” he corrected me once. “Just the last 10,000 years.”) He has been warning for a decade that a few key social and political trends portend an “age of discord,” civil unrest and carnage worse than most Americans have experienced. In 2010, he predicted that the unrest would get serious around 2020, and that it wouldn’t let up until those social and political trends reversed. Havoc at the level of the late 1960s and early ’70s is the best-case scenario; all-out civil war is the worst.

Current events certainly lend credence to Turchin's prognostications. With the plague of sponsored insurrections, our elites have loosed a demon that's not easily returned to its bottle.

The fundamental problems, he says, are a dark triad of social maladies: a bloated elite class, with too few elite jobs to go around; declining living standards among the general population; and a government that can’t cover its financial positions.  

 Most successful revolts throughout history weren't peasant uprisings. Instead, they broke out when internal strife among the old elite, or rivalries with an upstart new elite, overflowed into the genpop. The ringleaders of the Reign of terror were lawyers and minor nobles, not farmers.

Turchin looks into a distant, science-fiction future for peers. In War and Peace and War (2006), his most accessible book, he likens himself to Hari Seldon, the “maverick mathematician” of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, who can foretell the rise and fall of empires. In those 10,000 years’ worth of data, Turchin believes he has found iron laws that dictate the fates of human societies.

The fate of our own society, he says, is not going to be pretty, at least in the near term. “It’s too late,” he told me as we passed Mirror Lake, which UConn’s website describes as a favorite place for students to “read, relax, or ride on the wooden swing.” The problems are deep and structural—not the type that the tedious process of demo­cratic change can fix in time to forestall mayhem. Turchin likens America to a huge ship headed directly for an iceberg: “If you have a discussion among the crew about which way to turn, you will not turn in time, and you hit the iceberg directly.” The past 10 years or so have been discussion. That sickening crunch you now hear—steel twisting, rivets popping—­­is the sound of the ship hitting the iceberg.

Spend some time on social media these days, and you'll see people on both sides of the political divide wishing for a new Caesar. But we passed the point when a Caesar could have done any good last decade. Even Trump came too late to right the ship.

Liberal democracy is built for deliberation and compromise, not drastic, swift, and decisive action. That's in the best of times. Now we get to hear our rulers dither over Death Cult esoterica and tax codes while the West burns.

“We are almost guaranteed” five hellish years, Turchin predicts, and likely a decade or more. The problem, he says, is that there are too many people like me. “You are ruling class,” he said, with no more rancor than if he had informed me that I had brown hair, or a slightly newer iPhone than his. Of the three factors driving social violence, Turchin stresses most heavily “elite overproduction”—­the tendency of a society’s ruling classes to grow faster than the number of positions for their members to fill. One way for a ruling class to grow is biologically—think of Saudi Arabia, where princes and princesses are born faster than royal roles can be created for them. In the United States, elites over­produce themselves through economic and educational upward mobility: More and more people get rich, and more and more get educated. Neither of these sounds bad on its own. Don’t we want everyone to be rich and educated? The problems begin when money and Harvard degrees become like royal titles in Saudi Arabia. If lots of people have them, but only some have real power, the ones who don’t have power eventually turn on the ones who do.

That's the real story behind Donald Trump. He's not a member of the elite. He's an outsider tapped by a dissenting faction of the elite in a bid to overturn the existing order. Hence why the ruling faction among both parties fought tooth and nail to expel him.

Elite overproduction creates counter-elites, and counter-elites look for allies among the commoners. If commoners’ living standards slip—not relative to the elites, but relative to what they had before—they accept the overtures of the counter-elites and start oiling the axles of their tumbrels. Commoners’ lives grow worse, and the few who try to pull themselves onto the elite lifeboat are pushed back into the water by those already aboard. The final trigger of impending collapse, Turchin says, tends to be state insolvency. At some point rising in­security becomes expensive. The elites have to pacify unhappy citizens with handouts and freebies—and when these run out, they have to police dissent and oppress people. Eventually the state exhausts all short-term solutions, and what was heretofore a coherent civilization disintegrates.

Turchin’s prognostications would be easier to dismiss as barstool theorizing if the disintegration were not happening now, roughly as the Seer of Storrs foretold 10 years ago. If the next 10 years are as seismic as he says they will be, his insights will have to be accounted for by historians and social scientists—assuming, of course, that there are still universities left to employ such people.

The collapse is coming. We're not voting our way out of it. What each of us can and should do is draw close to Jesus Christ and grow in holiness.

Because there's nothing they can do to touch you if you're holy.

It's worth noting that my military thriller series Combat Frame XSeed has proven rather accurate at predicting the course of the collapse. For a look at the possible post-future, read the first book in an all-new XSeed arc now!

Combat Frame XSeed: S - Brian Niemeier

2020/11/16

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

Maltin Gremlins 2
 The recent post I did on beloved 80s horror-comedy Gremlins hinted that a review of the sequel was forthcoming, so here it is.

First off, I mentioned that Gremlins 2: The New Batch belongs to that rare breed of sequel that surpasses the original. Much like the follow up to another little picture that could from the 80s, Gremlins 2 improves upon its predecessor, and it does so for similar reasons.

The original Gremlins is the perfect example of a movie that shouldn't have worked, yet somehow did despite itself. Director Joe Dante was keenly aware of the first film's deficiencies. As a matter of fact, the reason we had to wait six years for the sequel was that Dante held out for full creative control.

There are two general types of directors: craftsmen of clear vision and steady hand who are only encumbered by studio meddling, and big idea dreamers whose flights of fancy lose cohesion without a strong producer to rein them in.

Joe Dante fits firmly into the former category. Warner Bros. let him make Gremlins 2 the way he wanted it to be made, and his workmanship shines through in the final product.

Here is a list, in no particular order, of the ways in which Gremlins 2 is superior to its predecessor:

  • Watching Gremlins, one gets the sense that it never quite figured out what it wanted to be. Not so Gremlins 2, which maintains a consistent comedy-horror mood (heavy on the comedy) throughout.
  • The first film's lack of a clear protagonist with a readily identifiable goal is solved early in the first act of Gremlins 2. Billy Peltzer wants to earn enough money to marry Kate. Simple and compelling.
  • Because it lacked a protagonist with a clear goal, the ending of Gremlins doesn't bring closure to the problems the characters had before the Gremlin attack. Instead, the town is left in ruins, and many characters are seriously injured or dead. Yes, Mrs. Deagle met a karmic death before she could foreclose on her poor tenants, but their houses probably burned down, anyway. At the end of Gremlins 2, Billy lands a lucrative deal with a real estate tycoon after helping to save his billion-dollar brand. Money problems solved!
  • A minor but important point: Dante had wanted to open the original Gremlins with a classic Bugs Bunny cartoon, but the deal fell through. He made up for it in Gremlins 2 with a new Looney Tunes short directed by Chuck Jones.
  • Having been made six years later, you'd expect Gremlins 2 to have better special effects than the first movie, and you'd be right. The creature effects take the cake with some truly creative designs.
  • The vital inclusion of Sir Christopher Lee.
  • Not only does Billy get a full plot arc complete with a satisfying payoff, so does almost every supporting character.
  • Gremlins 2 pulls off the difficult comedic trick of lampshading its own nonsensical rules without undermining the audience's suspension of disbelief.
  • Hulk Hogan cameo, Andy Kaufman style.
  • Genuinely funny--as is the first one, but Gremlins 2 is primarily a comedy--and comedy takes greater technical mastery to execute properly than any other genre. The Canadian restaurant brings me new sources of hilarity on every viewing.
I could sing this movie's praises all day, but Red Letter Media has already done it for me. See their insightful Gremlins 2 analysis for more.


I pointed out that the first Gremlins was surprisingly redpilled, especially as it pertained to globalism and the plight of the working man. Gremlins 2 is even more based in its comedic demolition of corporate bug man culture and consumerist urban life. Clamp Center is one giant malfunctioning Peltzer invention in the heart of New York.

That brings us to the character of Daniel Clamp himself. The New York real estate mogul is an admitted homage to Donald Trump. He was originally intended as a villain, but Joe Dante turned him into a somewhat air-headed but sincere deuteragonist, which goes to show how universally well-liked Trump was before he decided to threaten the establishment.

There's also the little detail that brings us full circle and almost qualifies this as a high strangeness post: A deleted scene from Gremlins 2 prefigured the Trump presidency over a quarter century before the fact. Skip to 3:30.


Gremlins 2: It's even better than the first one. It holds up. Give it another watch!

Absolute hit

2020/11/13

Combat Frame Data: MCF-Re124 Refined XSeed Prometheus

MCF-Re124 Refined XSeed Prometheus
  
MCF-Re124 Refined XSeed Prometheus

Technical Data

Model number: MCF-Re124
Code name: Refined XSeed Prometheus
Nickname: ReXPro
Classification: general purpose combat frame
Manufacturer: ISBC
Operator: CDF, UCA, UCAF, UCMC, UCN
First deployment: CY 60
Crew: 1 pilot in cockpit in chest
Height: 19 meters
Weight: dry weight 95 metric tons, full weight 110 metric tons
Armor type: "1D" carbyne laminar armor
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 2870 KW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 4x 41,790 kg, 4x 20,910 kg, 2x 12,500kg; top speed 2780 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 21, 180° turn time 0.85 seconds; legs: top ground speed 200 kph
Sensors: gravitic, radar, thermal, optical array; main binocular cameras mounted in head
Fixed armaments: 2x plasma sword, power rated at 0.55 MW, stored in recharge rack on back, hand-carried or affixed to plasma rifle in use; plasma assault rifle, power rated at 2.3 MW, stored on back, magazine or capacitor-fed, hand-carried in use
Optional hand armaments: carbyne shield, mounts to either forearm
Special Equipment: ion field projector
Pilot: Kaiser Eckhart

General Notes

The Ynzu first struck the Earth Sphere in CY 60 with a lightning attack on the moon's Von Braun City. When the swarm moved on to Earth, it easily overwhelmed the Coalition Defense Forces, despite humanity's twenty years of preparation.

All seemed lost until ISBC delivered its first run of mass-produced XSeeds to the battlefield. The CDF's sole-surviving combat frame carrier Sovereign Protector led a desperate counteroffensive. The SP's new XSeeds, aided by the XCDS-00M0χ, captured the Ynzu Controller and repelled the rest of the swarm. That engagement proved the worth of the MCF-Re124 Refined XSeed Prometheus.

Based on ISBC's XCD-001-4 prototype, the Refined Prometheus was the first successful mass-produced XSeed. Its carbyne laminar armor, bolstered by a carbyne-reinforced shield and an ion field projector, boosted the ReXPro's survivability beyond any other mass production combat frame. Its weaponry featured a fully automatic plasma rifle inspired by the HBC-40 Stapfen. A traditional pair of plasma swords rounded out the ReXPro's loadout. Though rather unremarkable individually, the ReXPro proved a match for the Ynzu given a modest numerical advantage.

The next year, the newly formed UC Military adopted the ReXPro as its standard combat frame. The UC Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy all used ReXPro variants until the introduction of the MCF-121 Defender XSeed.

Even after UCAF's adoption of the MCF-122 Emancipator and the UCMC's deployment of the MCF-123 XSeed Marine, the UC Army continued fielding the ReXPro as its main front line CF. Rumors began circulating in CY 97 of ISBC testing prototypes for the highly anticipated Two-Series XSeeds. Many of the same rumors claimed that the UCA would be the first to receive the breakthrough CFs.
Top mecha action
Combat Frame XSeed: S - Brian Niemeier

2020/11/12

Gremlins

Gremlins

A common malady among aspiring artists is to get hung up on an established set of rules. That's not to deny that any rules exist. Art is a work performed to a standard. Where artists run into trouble is when a type of creative myopia sets in that sees only one narrow path to achieving that standard.

Hollywood is notoriously enamored of paint-by-numbers formulas. It's easy to see why. If you could figure out the magic recipe for making every movie a blockbuster, you'd be set for life. Again, the problem isn't that hit movies are random events. It's that the conditions necessary for them to happen are so complex as to be non-reproducible. The cinema graveyards are full of  "surefire hits" that misfired.

On the flip side, sometimes flicks that shouldn't work by any accepted metric defy the conventional wisdom and strike a chord with people. I recently re-watched Gremlins, and it struck me as a perfect example of David Stewart's IP explosion phase. Shot on a shoestring budget from B movie material not even the director believed in, it became the fourth biggest film of 1984.

What's even more amazing is that according to the rules, there's no way Gremlins should have been a hit. The film makers somehow managed to cram nearly every screenwriting mistake in the book into the first act. The magic system is infamously illogical and arbitrary. It takes forever for the first gremlin in a movie called Gremlins to show up. Entire subplots and characters are introduced, only to be forgotten by act two. It takes until act three for a clear protagonist with a concrete goal to emerge. Same goes for the main antagonist. The horror often clashes; not just with the comedy, but with other kinds of horror.

And despite all those demerits that would have turned a lesser movie into cringeworthy schlock fest, Gremlins quickly achieves an intoxicating level of fun that it maintains all the way to the end.

Loyal readers will be reminded of another 80s gem that mixed genres, lacked a clear antagonist, and had nonsensical rules yet became a surprise hit. Also like Bill & Ted, Gremlins pulled off the rare trick of spawning a superior sequel. But that's another story.

Why did Gremlins catch on despite its warts? A music analogy might be helpful. I've compared other aspects of storytelling to a mixing board before. Picture the elements of a script as slides on a mixer. If, say, character or plot are at low levels, sometimes you can compensate by cranking something else up.

That's what Gremlins did. Specifically, that's what executive producer Steven Spielberg and director Joe Dante did. The former snapped off the cuteness dial to get the audience invested. The latter pushed the more dissonant horror elements until they broke through and went from jarring record scratches that distracted from the scares to disturbing points of contrast that enhanced them through added context.

Kate's notorious story about her father dying on Christmas perfectly illustrates this effect. One of Joe Dante's oft-overlooked director trademarks is the inclusion of a story-within-a-story that encapsulates the movie in miniature. Like the coroner's tale from The Howling or the legend of Skip the soda jerk from The 'Burbs, Kate's personal mundane horror helps to ground her movie's citywide paranormal horror.

There are other elements that I only noticed on my most recent viewing. As a kid, it flew over my head, but the conspiratorial whispering of the five evil Mogwai when Billy goes to feed them; unwittingly, after midnight, could have come out of Lovecraft.

Gremlins has a surprising amount going on under the surface. The most trenchant realization I had this time was how Joe Dante sets up a solid and consistent sense of place. He masterfully shows you where key things and characters are in relation to each other and uses that sense to amplify the horror.

A great example happens when Billy rushes to the school after the Gremlins first hatch. He has a fleeting brush with one of the as-yet unseen creatures in a darkened classroom which ends with Dante showing us a torn up wall vent. It's clear that Billy's attacker fled through the ducts. The camera follows Billy as he exits the room, turns in the direction opposite the way the Gremlin went, and enters the nurse's office to bandage his wounds.

Dante subtly instills feelings of safety here. The nurse's station is a place everyone is conditioned to think of as safe, and we retain the image of Billy fleeing in the exact opposite direction of danger. That's why it's more than a cheap jump scare when the Gremlin pops out of the cupboard right next to Billy and attacks him again. That deceptively complex scene conveys the knowledge that these creatures could be anywhere, and no one is safe.

It definitely helps that Gremlins has one of those iconic 80s soundtracks that masterfully sets the mood and tone. The score is right up there with fellow 1984 sensation Ghostbusters for quirkiness and originality.

Rather unremarkable at the time, parts of Gremlins seem downright red-pilled in hindsight. After all, the main threat is a horde of invaders from China that decimate a sleepy American town. A major subplot that's still hinted at involves the town's main industry falling prey to vulture capitalists who hold their blue collar neighbors in contempt. The character of Mr. Futterman even makes the first verbal mention of the titular creatures while ranting against foreign encroachment. Hollywood types still feigning solidarity with the working class is how you know this movie came from the 80s.

Gremlins is a fun example of a genre expert using his expertise to defy expectations in ways that are more fun that playing it straight. I took a similar approach to livening up the rather stale mech genre in my new martial thriller Combat Frame XSeed: S. Check it out!

Combat Frame XSeed: S - Brian Niemeier

2020/11/10

Forensic Geekery

2003 room post cultural ground zero

Spend enough time on this blog, and you'll soon discover that contextualizing the generations, especially in regard to pop culture, gets a lot of page space. The memory-holing of Generation Y that came down from Madison Avenue at the turn of the millennium and only recently fell out of fashion comes up a lot because it's an easily proven example of media gaslighting. 

Marketing in a youth-obsessed culture is necessarily youth-oriented. The Gen Y category fell out of use when Ys entered their 20s and the ad agencies lost interest in them. Millennials held corporate marketeers' attention longer due to their extended adolescence, but even that coddled cohort is falling out of vogue now that Millennials are turning 30.

This article, wherein a Gen X Pop Cultist surveys the Low 90s moonscape and tries to make sense of the ensuing and ongoing stagnation, is a promising sign that normies are starting to notice Cultural Ground Zero.

Is it odd to anyone else that stuff from the year 1999 gets mixed in pop culture from the 1990s? I am familiar with the Gregorian calendar like everyone else, but culturally, 1999 did not feel like a 90s year. The clothes, toys, movies, books, and tv shows of 1999 were all too modern to have appeared in the 80s or very early 90s.

What our Xer's forensic geekery is fumbling to grasp is the end of the IP explosion phase that rocked all media in the 80s and whose aftershocks lasted into the mid-90s. All major entertainment brands have been stuck in a Milking --> Hibernation --> Reboot --> Milking cycle ever since.

Playing a Nintendo Entertainment System would bore the 2000s teen and the 2000s teen would not have any idea what a CD long-box is. I bet Will Smith in 1990 would faint after hearing that a SONY PlayStation would be launched in 5 more years. The 2000s teen in that photo was an XYer and Will Smith is a member of Generation X. In 1999, I was into the same pop culture icons that that 2000s teen liked. The Bride of Chucky, H20 (the Halloween movie), The WB, early South Park, the New York Yankees, Kid Rock, Eminem, N'SYNC, Britney Spears, and Austin Powers were all on my radar. For that reason alone, I could never call 1999 a year of the 90s (I was old enough to tell the difference).

Besides some general incoherence, what's interesting here is that the author gets the generation breakdowns right. Will Smith is indeed a member of Generation X. The clunky term "XYer" clearly refers to Generation Y, most of whom would have been teenagers in 1999.

1999 Gen Y Teen
The photo to which the OP is referring depicts a teenage boy chilling in his room sometime in 1999. Note that he is neither listening to grunge nor glued to a cell phone. He is instead playing a PS1 on a CRT TV. This is Generation Y. Note that this photo could easily be an alternate angle shot of the 2003 teen's bedroom in this post's header image.
The very early 2000s (1999-2001) were the most definitive part of the 2000s and it was the last time the world was anxious to turn on the radio or MTV before rushing out to buy the whole album from their favorite artists. There was some great music in the 2002 to 2004 era, also, but the songs released from 1999 to 2001 were so futuristic sounding that they are in a class of their own. There was a lot going on in the world in 1999. Gen Zers were beginning to watch TV, Late Millennials were starting elementary school, Core Millennials were on their way to middle school, Late XYers were teens, Early XYers were college students, and Late Gen Xers were producers for the first time.
Again, his terminology is a little unwieldy, but the categories the terms represent are largely accurate. The only outright error is that the first Zoomers were only just being born in 2001. Otherwise, the earliest Millennials were indeed in grade school, Ys were in high school and college, and Xers were advancing into those positions of middling authority which Boomers would allow.

The stark reality which the Retro Junk author comes close to grasping, only to shrink back from, is the dearth of anything new breaking into the mainstream since the High 90s. What started out as major studios, labels, and publishers playing it safe has now curdled into an all-out assault on audiences.

Look off the well-worn mainstream path, though, and you'll find myriad thriving indie scenes where creators are working hard to break new ground and please audiences. If you're in the market for a spacefaring adventure that blazes fresh trails with beloved tropes, check out my new mecha thriller Combat Frame XSeed: S!

Combat Frame XSeed: S - Brian Niemeier

2020/11/09

Be Not Afraid

Fear of a Pod Planet
 

The protracted election circus that's dominated the news all week has my inbox filled with urgent questions from folks who are heavily invested in the outcome. These queries range from asking if the American Dream is really dead (it died a long time ago) to speculating that all this chaos is really a chess master gambit to trap the bad guys. In the middle are the majority throwing out reams of arcane election law like spaghetti on a wall.

Spitballing about politics is a time-honored pastime. If you get a kick out of it, more power to you. But when it stops being fun and starts resembling astrology for men, you should consider taking a break. Unless you are an elector, a Democrat machine goon, or a federal judge, your participation has a statistically insignificant effect on the process. Wearing yourself out trying to move that mountain verges on superstitious grasping for control over what's out of our hands.

Since much of this blog's audience are people of faith, it behooves us to consider what a just result would really look like. The point of politics is to establish temporal conditions wherein a people can most easily actualize their potential, and we are given that potential by God to attain the highest degree of holiness we can.

Low taxes, freedom of association, and even high social trust are means to the end of human sanctification, not ends in themselves. A lot of folks forgot that in all the drama of the past four years. 

Our society has been wallowing in sins that cry out to Heaven longer than most of us have been alive. God answers those cries in one of two ways: the Sodom reply or the Nineveh reply. 

Sometimes God sends a Hezekiah figure to attempt eleventh-hour reforms. We got that kind of reprieve in 2016. Instead of using the extra time to root out our own sins, we largely succumbed to the worldly distractions of infighting, grifting, and superstition.

God might grant an extension. We don't know. It's in His hands. Either way, the Christian response isn't to fret over every move of secular bureaucrats. More than any other precept in Scripture, we are commanded to be not afraid. Fortitude is not optional. The day's troubles are sufficient to themselves. 

Stop seeking control over what is not proper to your state in life, and get to work on what you are given power over--your interior spiritual state.

God is the center of the universe--not any other individual, not any political ideology, and not you. The worst sin besetting the West isn't promiscuity. It's not globalist nation-wrecking, or even industrial infanticide. It's Christian blindness to rampant, ubiquitous offenses to God.

For context, remember that profaning God's name is more serious matter than any sin of the flesh. Now reflect on how casually His name is vainly thrown around by practically everyone, including in all media.

The only fear that should motivate you at this moment is filial fear that drives you to make amends for your sins and others' and so grow in holiness.

Author David V. Stewart and I went on-stream together to talk about the elections, the Christian response, and my new top 40 Christian sci fi novel Combat Frame XSeed: S

Take heart, and watch the stream:

2020/11/06

Combat Frame Data: MCF-123 XSeed Marine

MCF-123 XSeed Marine
  
MCF-123 XSeed Marine


Technical Data

Model number: MCF-123
Code name: XSeed Marine
Nickname: Marine
Classification: mass production heavy assault combat frame
Manufacturer: UC Arms
Operator: UC Marine Corps
First deployment: CY 81
Crew: 1 pilot in cockpit in chest
Height: 19 meters
Weight: dry weight 95 metric tons, full weight 145 metric tons
Armor type: “1D” carbyne laminar armor
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 2700 KW
Propulsion: EM drives: 2x 104,800 kg, 4x 36,615 kg, 4x 15,785 kg, top speed 2800 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 20, 180° turn time 0.83 seconds; legs: top ground speed 190 kph, gyro-balanced for ground use
Sensors: gravitic, radar, thermal, optical array; main binocular cameras mounted in head
Fixed armaments: x2 plasma sword, stored in recharge racks on back, output rated at 0.58 MW
Standard hand armaments: heavy plasma rifle: output rated at 3 MW, magazine or internal capacitor-fed, each magazine holds 40 charges; carbyne kite shield: stored on left pauldron clip, attaches to either arm in use
Optional ranged armaments: 3-tube missile pod: attaches to right pauldron, can load high explosive, anti-armor, and other specialized ordnance; x2 3-tube micro missile pod: attaches to legs, loads spray missiles, anti-beam cloud missiles, ECM “chaff” missiles, or any combination thereof
Special Equipment: ion field projector

General Notes

The MCF-123 was the second of two original BEC One-Series XSeeds to be picked up for mass-production by the UC military. Like the MCF-122 XSeed Emancipator, the MCF-123 was chosen based on the success of its predecessor, the XCD-103 Eisenpferd

Unlike Emancipator, Eisenpferd excelled at only one mission profile: totally flattening the enemy. As such, the XCD-103 design was handpicked by the UC Marines as the basis of their standard-issue CF.

Although the official UC Armory was tasked with handling all production on the new XSeed, they were also charged with a strict mandate to come in under budget. Once again, the military turned to Browning Corp with the twofold mission of updating the unit's design while keeping the government's purse strings tight. 

BEC launched a detailed study of the original XCD-103 design. Their goal was to trim features made redundant by the new unit's squad-based deployment profile while retaining its legendary hardiness on the battlefield.

The BEC/UCA engineering team's first step was to remove half of Eisenpferd's missile hardpoints, leaving one standard missile launcher and two micro-missile launchers with three tubes each. They also removed the largely obsolete twin shoulder Vulcans to reduce weight. Eisenpferd's heavily reinforced frame was pared down enough to further reduce weight while still leaving enough protection to make it the most resilient XSeed in the UCP forces.

These weight-saving measures gained the MCF-123 significant speed increases over its notoriously ponderous predecessor. Plus, because some of the load was taken off of the engines, the XSeed Marine could make do with a generator almost ten percent less powerful than Eisenpferd's reactor.

Eisenpferd's only hand weapon had been a large heat axe, which proved impractical in a squad setting. Instead, the MCF-123 was equipped with two plasma swords and shield for close attack and defense. A heavy plasma rifle capable of dispersing a Claviceps' ion field in one shot compensated for the reduction in missiles. The rifle also made up for the MCF-123's inability to drain its capacitor by launching graphcap warheads. At the pilot's discretion, a given shot could draw from the weapon's magazine or the XSeed's capacitor. The same held true for the unit's plasma swords.

Early field tests proved the MCF-123 a true force to be reckoned with, but even its rock-solid armor eventually succumbed to Ynzu attacks. UC Arms added the same model of ion field projector installed in the other three branches' XSeeds. Their ion fields gave marine teams precious added seconds to achieve victory.

The MCF-123's high-performing yet economical design impressed the top brass, and in CY 81 it was awarded the title of XSeed Marine, replacing the MCF-Re124 as the UC Marine Corps' standard-issue combat frame. This decision aroused the envy of the UC Army, who suddenly found themselves fielding the least advanced CF in the UCP military.

The XSeed Marine received a baptism by fire that same year when a surprise Ynzu attack besieged the earth. A single Marine garrison in Uruguay managed to hold off an entire Zue swarm until help arrived. The survivors gave their new CFs a fair share of the credit.
Combat Frame XSeed: S - Brian Niemeier

2020/11/05

They Just Can't Say It

Secular scolds who try to co-opt Christian morality to puff themselves up just cannot confess Jesus' Lordship and divinity.

A commenter on a recent post demonstrates.

Not a Catholic

As you can see by the timestamps, the customary 24 hours, and more, have elapsed with no reply. Witch confirmed.

Don't let wolves in sheep's clothing claim the moral high ground, and don't give money to people who hate you.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

2020/11/04

BananAmerica

BananAmerica 2020
 

Rarely do I quote myself on this blog, but in this case, I think it's warranted. On this year's anniversary of 9-11, I wrote:

Those mail-in ballots are the key. Far more Democrats than Republicans--a majority, in fact--plan to vote by mail. Most of those ballots will not be counted until after election night, thus inviting two likely scenarios:

  1. Trump appears to win on election night, since he'll get most of his votes at the ballot box. But mail-in ballots counted over the following days flip the race to Biden.
  2. Trump does in fact win on election night, but Democrat apparatchiks conveniently keep finding mail-in ballots until Biden snatches away the victory. As AE points out in the article linked above, the fact that most Republicans will vote on election day will tell the Democrats exactly how many votes they need to fake to beat Trump.

In either event, the Party have their Big Tech hatchet men prepping the public for a contested election and the massive, nationwide unrest that's likely to result. Zuckerberg and Dorsey's job will be to silence Trump and his supporters, ensuring that the MSM's narrative dominates.

Welcome to BananAmerica. 

That was two months ago. Now, to the surprise of no one who was paying attention:

While Donald Trump amassed huge, seemingly insurmountable leads in key states across the country, Democratic officials went quiet in their cities, releasing no results until it was clear exactly how many they would need to win. And then, like a cascade, they poured out the numbers on Wednesday morning, claiming staggering early-vote margins that washed away the president’s lead in state after state.

Democrats have terrible policies for America, but give them credit for one thing: They know when to count their ballots.

In his razor-thin win in the 1960 presidential election, John F. Kennedy carried Illinois by less than ten thousand votes out of 4.7 million cast. Kennedy’s narrow victory was enabled by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s political machine. An investigative journalist found anomalies such as 56 votes cast from a single house, votes by the dead, and other stunts like swapping cash for votes. Following the election, three members of that machine were sent to jail for voter fraud activities, and more than 600 others were indicted before being acquitted by a judge allied to Daley.

Now, the same stunt is being pulled, on a far grander scale. The con was in the works long before Election Day. For months beforehand, the press bombarded the public with bogus polls showing huge leads for Biden in almost every swing state. On election night, these worthless polls were exposed, but they were still used by the press to justify not calling states for Trump. Now, they will be used to justify dramatic last-second swings into the Democratic column.

The left always telegraphs exactly what they plan to do. This time, they used mail-in voting as a smokescreen to spread the meme of a red mirage as outlined above, giving them cover to fake ballots. Folks in the know warned that the Dems would employ their patented Cook County strategy on a national scale. 

That's what we saw overnight, as the in-person vote gave Trump big leads in key states. Election officials in Democrat-controlled areas conveniently stopped counting votes once they knew the margin of victory. Today, even more conveniently, they've produced exactly enough absentee ballots to flip Trump's leads to Biden.

The banana republic behavior on the part of Democrats is unsurprising. They've been at it since at least 1960. But there's no word for the GOP establishment's failure to act on the many, urgent, and now correct warnings of vote fraud than complicity.

Trump, to his credit, knows better.

Frankly, We did win this election...

This is a major fraud on our nation... We'll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court.

We want all voting to stop. We don't want them to find any ballots at 4 o'clock in the morning.

Prioritizing the confirmation of his third SCOTUS pick now looks prescient on Trump's part. We are now likely in for a replay of the 2000 election circus, but orders of magnitude larger. For the indefinite future, it would be smart to avoid crowds.

Whatever the result of the courtroom battle royale that will soon ravage the country, one conclusion is inescapable: The United States of America as conceived in 1776 is over. Perhaps it has been for a long time. The depraved oligarchs who feign to rule us have taken the final plunge into naked tyranny and lost the Mandate of Heaven. Their misrule is not law. Fear of reprisal is now the only reason to heed it.

The first big steps

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

2020/11/03

The Order of Charity

 

Catholics for Biden

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches as follows on the reciprocal rights and responsibilities of citizens and legitimate leaders:

Those subject to authority should regard those in authority as representatives of God, who has made them stewards of his gifts:43 "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution.... Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God."44 Their loyal collaboration includes the right, and at times the duty, to voice their just criticisms of that which seems harmful to the dignity of persons and to the good of the community.

It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. the love and service of one's country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.

Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country:

If you're reading this on election day, stop and go vote.

And in case there was any doubt, casting a vote for Joe Biden is a mortal sin.

2020/11/02

Combat Frame Data: MCF-122 XSeed Emancipator


MCF-122 XSeed Emancipator

MCF-122 XSeed Emancipator

Technical Data

Model number: MCF-122
Code name: Emancipator
Nickname: Mance
Classification: mass production transformable combat frame
Manufacturer: Browning Engineering Corporation
Operator: United Commonwealth Air Force
First deployment: CY 73
Crew: 1 pilot or 1 pilot, 1 navigator/gunner in cockpit in head
Height: 19 meters
Weight: 98 metric tons
Armor type: “1D” carbyne laminar armor
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 2950 KW
Propulsion: EM drives: 5x 16,800 kg, 2x 30,600 kg, 4x 35,200 kg; top speed 3230 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 25, 180° turn time 0.79 seconds; legs: top ground speed 195 kph
Sensors: gravitic, radar, thermal, optical array; main binocular cameras mounted in head
Fixed armaments: x2 plasma cannon, power rated at 1.4 MW, mounted on skirt armor, detach to form plasma carbines, hand-carried or clipped to forearms in use, barrels detach to form plasma swords rated at 0.46 MW, hand-carried in use
Special equipment: ion field projector, transformation system
Pilot: Dex Trapper, Saad, Akita, Brock, Moser, Dimitriy

Fighter configuration

MCF-122 Fighter
Art by ArtAnon Studios

Length: 17 meters, wingspan 16.70 meters
Propulsion: EM drives: 5x 16,800 kg, 2x 31,600 kg, 4x 35,200 kg, 2x 25,000kg; top speed 4215 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 26
Fixed armaments: x2 plasma cannon, power rated at 1.4 MW, mounted under wings


General Notes

The third mass production XSeed to enter service before the Extrasolar Colonization Project ended, the MCF-122 answered UCAF's need for a combat frame capable of conducting orbit-to-air and orbit-to-surface strikes. Martian God Emperor Theodore Red personally suggested the transformable XCD-102 Emancipator prototype to Browning Corp. The BEC engineers dutifully turned in a design nearly identical to its HALO predecessor. After speedy field tests, UCAF enthusiastically approved the Mance as their standard CF.

Though BEC took advantage of subsequent technological advancements to update their design, the MCF-122 was nearly identical to the XCD-102 in appearance and performance. The mass production type mainly distinguished itself from the prototype by shedding its antiquated chemical rockets for state-of-the-art EM impellers. These electromagnetic drives afforded smoother acceleration and maneuvering at a slightly higher energy cost balanced by a corresponding weight reduction.

With its trademark carbyne-laminar armor outclassed by Ynzu weapons, the Emancipator needed a boost to its defenses. BEC took a cue from the MCF-121 Defender XSeed and gave the Mance an ion field generator capable of repelling a limited number of CF-scale energy attacks. Even this feature didn't restore the XSeeds' former invulnerability, but it extended pilot survivability to meet UCAF mission requirements.

The addition of an ion field also required a trade-off. With the unit's One-Series reactor taxed to its limits, a further reduction in weight and energy consumption was necessary. BEC designers removed the pair of 30mm Vulcans from the unit's standard loadout, reasoning that weapons intended for use against ground vehicles and infantry were of little avail against Ynzu combat frames. 

Removing the Mance's Vulcans left its pair of variable plasma cannons/carbines/swords as the unit's only weapons. BEC coaxed additional output from the plasma emitters, but the final Mance design suffered from much the same lack of firepower as the prototype. UCAF pilots compensated by making the most of the unit's blistering speed--in fighter mode, the highest of any standard XSeed. Mance teams relied on hit-and-run attacks to mitigate the Zues' defensive and offensive advantages. Most often, MCF-122s were deployed to soften up the enemy with air strikes in advance of UCA or UCMC teams.

See the MCF-122 XSeed Emancipator in action! Read Combat Frame XSeed: S today!

Combat Frame XSeed: S - Brian Niemeier