I’m afraid this posting says it all for me, about birds and their incessant “singing”.
LATER: Plus, these owls don’t think they’re being cute at all.
This is a link to yet another of those huge-flock-of-starlings videos, where a bewildering number of starlings do lots and lots of coordinated – but not militarised, if you get my drift – swirling.
The only slightly unusual thing about this video is how very numerous this particular assemblage of starlings was, and, especially, how very black they manage, or the guy processing the video manages, to turn large chunks of the evening sky. Worth just over a minute of your time to watch.
To start with, a pre-emptive grovel. I am not a fully fit person just now. I can just about manage photoing photos and posting photos. I can even manage stating my opinions. What I shrink from doing, in my present state of seemingly permanent lethargy, coughing-ness and achiness, is embarking on any sort of argument to the effect that my opinions are correct, with someone who does not share them. You’ll either take these opinions of mine, or leave them. I am now only up to stating what they are.
And when it comes to the rows and ruckuses now happening in the USA about how Donald Trump should turn over a new leaf, become “presidential”, and now let Joe Biden become the next president, I have two opinions, which I will now state.
First, it is my understanding that the scale of cheating by the Democrats this time around was something else again. I won’t persuade you if you don’t agree, and I think I am open to the idea that the gap between where Biden is said to stand now and where Trump has to stand to remain President is just too great for a few legal judgements to make any difference. I just watched Megyn Kelly, whose attitude on things generally seems to resemble mine, say exactly this, and I didn’t blow any gaskets. But for whatever it may be worth, I found this, and this from the BBC, rather persuasive, and in the case of the BBC piece, highly relevant.
The Democrats hate Trump, but last time around they were caught by surprise. This jerk? He’s won this? They just were not prepared for that outcome. That’s why they didn’t cheat much last time around. They hadn’t thought they’d need to.
This time they were ready. They hate Trump just as much as ever, but this time around they grasped that, hateful down-market nincompoop embarrassment though Trump definitely is, he is also, for whatever clutch of mysterious and deplorable reasons, a formidable foe. And they were ready. But they weren’t quite ready enough. The scale of Trump’s achievement shocked them again, and this time around their cheating is, as Americans like to say, off the scale.
My opinion. You have a different opinion? Fine by me. I get it. If you do not share my admiration for Trump, fine by me again.
But here’s another opinion, which it seems to me is a bit less generic, a bit less predictably Trumpist. Because something else has changed.
Democrat electoral cheating is not a new story. I’ve been reading stuff about America and American politics all my life, off and on and mostly off, and like a thread through it all is the fact that in big cities that they run and are determined to go on running, Democrats cheat in elections. So Democrats cheating in elections this time around is not the big change.
The big change is a Republican refusing to retreat in the face of it. Why? Why is Trump being so unpresidential, so undignified, so … just so ghastly? The answer is that the big political picture has been transformed, partly by him, but partly by him responding to the fact that it has already changed so much.
Time was when Republicans were the party of the Lucky Winners. Country clubbers, corporate executives, yacht owners, owners of houses with several garages, presided over by perfectly manicured wives, in charge of several well behaved children and subservient servants. The Democrats, meanwhile, were the party of the workers, of people struggling to do work or even to get work. Any plutocrats who were attached to the Democrats, like the Kennedys or (FD) Roosevelt, were numerically insignificant oddities. (Whether that was true, I don’t know. But this was the dominant narrative, as people say now.)
But that’s all changed. The Democrats are now the party of the Lucky Winners, and also of the unlucky losers at the very bottom of the heap who can only now depend on the crumbs of comfort bestowed upon them by the Lucky Winner class. The Republicans have become the party of the workers in the middle, the middle class, as Americans accurately describe them. The Republicans are the party of the people who still struggle to work and to stay working, and who hate the whole idea of giving up and becoming dependant upon the Lucky Winners.
Not all “workers” voted for Trump. A lot of workers, especially in things like IT, are still solidly Democrat. But the heart of the Trump vote was workers of a certain sort. The heart of the Trump vote was no longer the Lucky Winners class. They have migrated over to the Democrats.
Okay, now for the key bit of what I’m saying.
In olden times, if you were a member of the Lucky Winners class, and your guy lost an election, complaining about cheating was frankly a bit, well, undignified. You and your pals controlled almost all the leavers of power in society. You owned the big corporations. Your children were creaming off most of the expensive education. The world was yours. Were you going to bitch about electoral corner-cutting by a few machine politician Democrats in big cities who had enough clout to say boo to you, every once in a while? This was not a good look. And on the whole, Republicans took their defeats, and if Democrat cheating cost them a win or two, well, that was how it crumbled, cookie-wise. Legally, that may not have been the rule, but actually, that was the rule. Noblesse oblige. Let the people picked by the struggling class have their turn. Suck it up. Go play golf.
But now? Now, what is happening is that the Lucky Winners class is telling the class definitely below it in the pecking order that this subordinate class now has to just lie back and let it happen, when the electoral cheating happens all over them.
This is not a good look either, but it’s what the Lucky Winner class now think they can do, and get away with. Maybe they can, in the sense that they may well get their guy over the line this time around. But if they do, but if it then becomes clear that they did this by cheating on a large scale in this election, then the words “reap” and “whirlwind” spring to mind.
Meanwhile, Trumpists do not now give a fuck about Trump being “dignified” or “presidential”. They voted for him because he was none of those things. Yes, he was born into the Lucky Winners class, but now he’s their Lucky Winner. And they now want him to insist on the principle that cheating in political elections is wrong, dammit! And it is especially wrong when it’s done by the very class of people that has spent the last four years declaring itself to be in every way superior to them – richer, better, better looking, cleverer, wiser, more tasteful, more cultured, more intellectually nuanced, less racist, less “deplorable”, you name it. And if those smarmy bastard liars on the television don’t like this, they can just shove it up their Lucky Winner arses.
I trust that the undignified nature of my language in the previous paragraph is getting my point across. Which is that the argument that those now on the receiving end of Democrat cheating should just roll over in the face of it is now out of date, big time.
Cheating is okay – not good, not completely okay, not dignified – when it is done by life’s strugglers to life’s Lucky Winners. But when the Lucky Winners do it to the strugglers, that’s a whole different ball game, and a game that the Lucky Winners will and will thoroughly deserve to lose. And whether you personally agree with that or not, the particular strugglers on the receiving end of this particular bit of cheating damn well do agree.
That’s what’s changed, and it’s a very big change indeed.
Like I say. My opinions. Take them. Or leave them. And comment all you like. Just don’t assume I’ll have the energy to respond to any responses that this gets.
It’s 3 am on Wednesday morning, and yes, I am up again. Truth is, I did sleep a bit, but my actual night’s sleep has been slipping forwards, and it hasn’t actually begun yet.
Originally I was tracking this election by following the PJ Media live blog, but one of the people there said they were following Newsmax TV, and I gave that a try. I’m liking it a lot. No jokes, and constant explanations, for viewers whom they assume to be smart, but ignorant. No prior knowledge assumed. No doubt many Americans would find this insufferable. I am finding it very sufferable indeed.
The only slightly annoying thing is that there are four of them, and often they all seem to be talking at once. They need a chairman, to say: You, shut up. You: talk. Okay thanks, stop, now you. But otherwise, when they can agree who has the floor, it’s very informative.
Took me a while to work out that they are very pro-Trump. Which is exactly what I want. Pro-Trump, but not relentlessly and boringly so.
Is Newsmax TV “television”? Or is it merely stuff that’s live on YouTube? Until now, I had never heard of these people.
LATER: Well, their pro-Trumpery is actually pretty strong and obvious. And, as I’ve not yet mentioned: Trump is winning.
Tucker Carlson is one of my favourite political orators just now. Go here, to see and hear him in typically fluent form. Carlson asks and answers the question: Why do Trump’s meetings attract Trump supporters in such vast numbers?
To put it another way: If – if – Trump wins re-election, how will that have happened?
Trump loves America, and all the actually existing Americans who also love American. (If he doesn’t love America, he does a hugely impressive job of pretending to.) Millions of Americans understandably agree with Trump’s American nationalism.
But there is more at stake than merely the future of America. There’s a whole world out here to be considering.
Since the late eighteenth century, the world has been progressing in a spectacular way, despite all the bad stuff we all know about. Around 1780, there was this kink in all the graphs measuring human creature comforts, and things started getting rapidly better, and this fine trend in human affairs has continued ever since, with many interruptions in such places as Russia and China, but nevertheless unmistakeably. Everyday life, for everyone, even and especially for the very poorest people in the world, continues to get better and better. But will that continue? Might this excellent trend even go into reverse?
The best book I have recently read that grapples with those sorts of questions is The Wealth Explosion by Stephen Davies. Davies argues that what kicked off this spectacular explosion was that, when and where it happened, in Europe in the late 1700s, Europe was not politically unified. That meant that when the materials that went into the explosion began to be assembled – progressive technology and all the thinking that went into it, basically – there was nobody in Europe willing and able to stop this. On the contrary, because the various rulers of Europe were all quarrelling with one another, they all had a powerful incentive to stay ahead of one another in this race. In the world’s other civilisations, that didn’t happen, and technological stagnation ruled.
But Davies’s book is not only about the past. In it, he also ruminates upon the future. The big question for him is: What is modernity? Because if we know what it is, we may know better how to keep it in being.
He identifies several processes that might bring modernity to a halt and turn the last two hundred and more years of technological progress into a mere passing phase, like an earlier progressive episode that had happened in China. That episode was ended by a combination of military disaster and a subsequent Chinese ruling class decision to end it. Technological progress was quite consciously and deliberately stopped in its tracks.
One threat to modernity might, Davies speculates, be nationalism, and its associated fixed sum economic fallacies. By reversing international economic cooperation, such nationalism might throw progress into reverse, in the same kind of way that it did when the Great Depression got started, only more so. Trade war, and then perhaps even consequent actual war. That kind of thing. For Davies, good libertarian globalist that he is, Trump and all he stands for looms like a menace to everything good in the world and in its future.
But another threat to progress that Davies mentions seems to me at least as plausible, which is that globalisation will intensify, and create a global ruling class that will then, in the manner of the rulers of Imperial China, all agree that progress, because it is unsettling for the world and in particular for them, is bad and must be stopped. This ruling class might, in contrast, continue to pay lip service to the idea of progress, but will end up stopping it by mistake, in their efforts merely to improve and domesticate it.
I regard the second of these scenarios as a far greater threat to the world than the first. After all, does not Davies himself tell us that it was European “nationalism” that allowed all of this progress to get started in such a big way, back in the 1780s? If the world were now to unify, might that not prevent progress from happening, just as it prevented it everywhere else in the world outside of Europe (with the exception of Japan (which instead became a sort of honorary European country)), at the time when Europe itself was bursting forth into modernity? Ask questions like that, and Trump ceases to be a menace and becomes instead a protector and provoker of continuing global economic dynamism. He is now keeping the world un-unified, by refusing to let America become an outpost of a globalism dominated by quite different impulses centred around places like China and Russia, impulses that could switch off modernity far more thoroughly than continuing national rivalry ever could.
Trump, it seems to me, is a force for continuing global economic dynamism.
Meanwhile I sure hope Trump wins his election. I have no idea what the result of this election will be. I wish I could tell you this beforehand, but I cannot. I can only tell you what I hope, which is that Trump wins it by a stonking majority, so stonking that all those idiot left wing rioters are reduced to a state of spified shock and immobilised immiseration, sitting in their parental homes gibbering with incomprehension, and not a few of them obliging us all by committing suicide, and so stonking that the more civilised Democrats, the sort who prefer indoor corruption to outdoor looting, all decide that they must become Trumpists themselves.
If Trump wins like this, he will also speed up Britain’s escape from Lockdown, because a stonking Trump victory will, among other things, be a victory for anti-Lockdownism.
Like I said, not a prediction, merely a hope.
SAGE being the committee of “experts” who are currently ill-advising the British Government.
Concerning the policy that this advice is now unleashing upon us, Michael Yeadon tweets:
Please spread far & wide.
I’m more certain than ever SAGE is hugely mistaken.
The PCR test has replaced the virus itself as the threat sweeping the country. Completely unreliable.
The number of people dying of respiratory illness Sep-Oct is LOWER than same period last 5y.
And there’s a brief video of Yeadon saying this, that’s more than worth the minute of your time that it will take you to watch.
If you have more time for this guy, and I have a lot of time for him, have a listen also to this interview with Delingpole. Early on, Yeadon asks people to look also at his piece for Lockdown Sceptics about What SAGE Has Got Wrong.
This interview includes, right at its start (in fact before it really starts at all), an amusing way-off-topic anecdote about the WW2 Avro Lancaster factory in Yorkshire, which was at a place called Yeadon.
I listened earlier in the week to this DarkHorse Podcast with Douglas Murray and Bret Weinstein, in which Murray describes what is going on in Portland, Oregon. And it’s not good. Worth a listen, if you have the time. I’ve not heard Weinstein in podcast action before.
But, look who else joined in, as shown in the bottom right of this screen capture:
The cat made its first appearance in this interview at about 9:23.
What this illustrates is that cats who have been well treated by humans typically enjoy human company. When humans are doing things, cats often like to be part of it. Their anti-social reputation is rather undeserved, I think. Basically, they are not as insanely desirous of human company as most dogs are. By that standard nobody, cat or human, can possibly win any sociability contest. But by any reasonable standard, cats, provided, as I say, that they have been well treated by their human companions, are very ready to be companionable with humans.
How do Dark Horses feel about cats? Does this cat appear regularly on these podcasts? Does it boost traffic? I can’t be the only one who has commented on this feline participation.
So, what creatures does SteveStuWill have for us today?
Mother bird refuses to abandon her eggs. || The amazing diversity of caterpillars. || Sarcasm alert: Nature is so delightful. || Some baby owls sleep face down. || Like humans, wild chimpanzees focus on fewer yet more meaningful friendships as they grow older – that’s me. || Things aren’t always what they seem – butterfly faking it. || This bizarre-looking creature is a long-wattled umbrellabird. || A hognose snake faking its own death. || Who hurt the little sea toad? || A great-backed gull swallowing a rabbit whole. || Cat’s tongue under a microscope. || Scary octopus. || Baby gorilla. || Feline civil disobedience.
LATER STILL: Albino squirrel, demonstrating white supremacy by the looks of it.
If, when I choose to bang on about politics here, I further choose to bang on about the USA’s presidential election now, rather than about British political matters now, well, that’s because there’s so much more at stake over there just now. Here in Britain, our Corbyn moment came, and went. Corbyn threatened to turn us into Venezuela, but then we voters sent him packing. Would a Starmerian Labour British government be that much more of a disaster than how the Boris Johnson regime is turning out? Hardly. So here, we’re now back to a world where they’re all as bad as each other, approximately speaking. I would still prefer Labour to lose every forthcoming election ever, but Labour in their current state, winning? I could live with that, as could many others of my inclination.
But in the USA everything is still to play for, for as long as the Democrats remain in thrall to their lunatic fringe of Woke-fascist wreckers of everything civilised. I have long hoped, and am actually now starting very tentatively to even think, that Kamala/Biden will get such a thrashing in the election now under way that the Democrats may then decide to mend their ways, much as Starmer is now mending the ways of Labour. But it has to be a thrashing. A modified dead heat like last time won’t suffice. A lot of normals must change their minds in a way that the Democrats won’t be able to ignore. That happened in the recent election in Britain, and it changed everything.
The above paragraphs began life as the intro to something more specific about the US elections, but that didn’t work out. Also, I am off to the laundrette. More later, I hope.
Meanwhile, I did enjoy this.
This looks rather promising. It’s a new design for an e-scooter which, by the look of it, is still portable, but which answers some of the doubts that are now being expressed about e-scooter safety.
Carson Brown, the designer and public face of TAUR argues that a basic cause of e-scooter danger is the ungainly body posture demanded by the current and less bulky versions of the e-scooter:
One thing that sets TAUR apart is the foot platforms, which provide a dedicated place for the rider to stand. Instead of placing your feet behind one another with your hips twisted awkwardly, you stand fully facing forward with your feet side by side. The platforms are 2.5 times wider than the deck of a typical scooter and help the rider with stability. The benefit of facing head-on with your body aligned is that you are able to twist 180 degrees in either direction — giving the rider maximum ride awareness.
There are other tweaks added to achieve much greater safety, like much bigger and tougher wheels, and lights to signal your presence. In general, the TAUR, Carson says, is an e-scooter designed to travel on roads, rather than merely on super-flat surfaces like shopping centre pedestrian areas.
Having been watching the e-scooter story unfold, I note that a big problem now is that to achieve maximum portability, safety seems to have been sacrificed. That’s a deal breaker for many and probably most people. I’d sum up the TAUR by saying that the “traditional” e-scooter, the one we now see trundling about in London from time to time, is the smallest and cheapest and most portable e-scooter you can have that still goes reasonably well. The TAUR, on the other hand, is the safest e-scooter you can still carry by hand when you’re not travelling on it. It’s not as light as it can be, so you can lift it easily. It’s as heavy and bulky as it can be, while still remaining liftable.
This reminds me somewhat of the definition of, I think it was, the General Motors Cadillac. A car like the Ford Model-T was the cheapest car you could have, and that of course was mass produced, to make it as cheap as possible. And of course GM had their version of that also, at the bottom end of their range. But, the top-of-the-range Cadillac was the most luxurious car GM could still sell in sufficient numbers for it to be mass-produceable. This notion of satisfying a basic requirement while maximising another very desirable variable is a powerful way to think about the design of manufactured things, I think. The trick being to choose exactly the right variables, to be satisfied, and to be maximised.