GIVE TIL IT HURTS!

Government of, by, and for halfwits

Fani “Fuck-me buxx” Willis amounts to just the tip of a very large—and sub-moronic, and venal, and corrupt—iceberg.

It used to be that prosecutors displayed some level of respect for the office they held. These are people with the power to use the force of law to imprison and bankrupt pretty much anyone in the state. They’re elected, supposedly, to uphold fundamental principles of fairness and justice — without which we do not have the rule of law. When D.A.s start acting like sassy waitresses, or trashy pop stars, then people, understandably, lose all faith in the judicial system. If they have no integrity, then the system has no integrity.

As a result, right now it looks like Willis stands a real chance of getting booted off this case. Her performance was that bad, to say nothing of the fact she apparently lied to the court. But even if she and Nathan Wade are ultimately disqualified from continuing this prosecution, the reality is that there are many more equally incompetent prosecutors waiting to take their place in the state of Georgia.

The problem isn’t just confined to Georgia, of course, although it appears to be especially acute there. We’re living under a tyranny of mediocre morons. These morons are representing the government in court, where they can send you to prison for the rest of your life. In some cases they’re also enforcing the law on the street, as police officers. And they have the complete and total backing of the government. There’s no effort underway to restore competence to any of these positions. What you see is what you get.

But really there’s only one bit of good news in all of this, especially when you look at the Fani Willis case — which is that the mediocre morons who have power over us are extremely easy to expose. They’ll go on television and reveal how incompetent and corrupt they are. They just can’t help themselves, that’s the good news. The bad news is that there’s an endless supply of these amoral half wits out there, waiting to replace their bosses when they’re gone. And in some cases they’re even worse, somehow, than the failures they replace. Get rid of Paul Howard, and you’ll get Fani Willis. This is the pattern.

What happens when you get rid of Fani Willis? Very soon, for better or worse, we might find out.

Kinda tough to see how we can possibly include “for better” in any realistic list of probabilities here, I must say.

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Dereliction of duty

Andrew Malcolm says can his sorry, diversity-hire ass. Seconded, wholeheartedly.

Secy Austin’s Blunder Was Arrogance or Stupidity – Either Way, He Needs to Go
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who presides over 1.4 million U.S. military volunteers, left his Pentagon post without notice or authorization and kept his absence a secret for almost a week. That’s called AWOL, even if you’re in charge.

Austin was a four-star general with 41 years of service, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, there is no question about his character or devotion to the service of his country.

There is, however, now a serious question about his intelligence, integrity, and, most importantly, his judgment. Colleagues describe the veteran as an intensely private person.

Sorry, you give up privacy when you take on an appointed job that’s high up in the chain of presidential succession, leading the men and women volunteers who comprise our national defense.

How’s he going to prosecute the next Bowe Bergdahl who leaves his guard post without notice and his fellow troops vulnerable?

He can’t.

He wouldn’t anyway, because he won’t want to, anymore than his ideological confrere Bathhouse Barry Soetero did. Which, regardless of his presumably honorable service wearing the nation’s military uniform, DOES call his character into question, like it or not. Right along with his (nonexistent) intelligence, integrity, and judgment.

Now that he got caught and caused a serious political uproar, we’re told his unexplained absence involved the discovery, removal of, and complications from prostate cancer. That’s a shame. But it’s an explanation, not an excuse.

No one wants to hear such news. No one wants to get shot at, as Austin was. But he kept his diagnosis, operation, surgical complications, and residence in an Intensive Care Unit a secret, even from his second in command, the president, and those gossipy toads in Congress.

That may be very human. Given his privacy penchant and the sensitivity of such a diagnosis for a man, especially one in a masculine warrior culture, that’s understandable. But it’s also quite unacceptable.

Well yeah, to normal, sane Americans who don’t despise their country and wish to see it weakened and ruined like his putative boss, Pedo Peter, does. So yes, he certainly “needs to go”—but he won’t. The unkindest cut of all is that, in America That Was, a “man” like him would never have been installed in the first damned place.

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Attributing to Malice

Things go wrong. Sometimes things go catastrophically wrong, with hundreds to tens of thousands of lives lost and millions to billions in property damage.

When reviewing events afterward, a pattern frequently appears: people made mistakes which made things worse. The most obvious mistakes happen at the time, in the tumult of emergency calls and rushing to action. Often the more severe mistakes happened well beforehand, in setting up policies, in designing equipment or systems to handle both ordinary events and emergency overflow, in setting schedules to check equipment and to replace components, or in setting up funding to cover all that.

In reviewing the events, and the mistakes, we constantly need to remind ourselves of the maxim, Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence. That’s generally good advice. Yes, there are malicious people around who will screw someone over for fun and profit but there are a lot more poorly-trained newbies, people who wouldn’t have the job if they weren’t related to the owner, and idiot neighbors.

Sometimes the Incompetence theory is strained. When half a dozen independent decisions or evaluations all go wrong, and go wrong in the same direction, an honest observer would suspect Malice. My go-to example is the review of Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, the plan for putting up satellites to kill ICBMs. The “independent, nonpartisan” scientists published a report which claimed that the number of satellites needed was more than 10,000 times the number which was later calculated. At every step of the way, they made an estimate for the amount of laser power needed to disrupt a missile, the kill rate needed to make an attack not worth kicking off, and so on. Almost every estimate, every assumption, and every calculation was wrong, and they were all wrong in the same direction, that of showing that the space portion of the SDI was infeasible both technically and economically.

Jerry Pournelle, who had worked with many of the scientists making that erroneous estimate, defended them by saying that surely they didn’t deliberately tank their work, surely it was a matter of making mistakes and letting them be if they matched the scientists’ prior beliefs but rechecking if they went the other way.

I don’t buy it. First, just slopping something together and only half-checking it isn’t the way a scientific review is supposed to go, especially one performed by luminaries in the field. Second, the report was allegedly peer-reviewed, meaning that either the reviewers made exactly the same errors or they didn’t bother to check the work, only the conclusion. Put these together and it’s much more plausible that all of the estimates and assumptions were deliberately high-balled, and that the fact checkers went along with it because they, too, opposed the SDI on ideological grounds.

Many other examples abound. Some are obvious lies, with blatant malicious acts being written off as simple mistakes or happenstance events. The American elections in 2020 give a lot of examples, with voting machine failures predominantly in Republican-heavy districts. Preloaded test data “accidentally” left on the tabulating machines before the counting began, and always giving Democrats several thousand votes. And so on. (This doesn’t address poll watchers being thrown out and then bags of ballots being pulled out of boxes rather than official transport cases, as caught on video. I’m talking only about events which are claimed to be simple, honest mistakes.)

Other examples are less clear. A highway bridge in New York collapsed about 40 years ago. Somehow it had fallen through the cracks, pun intended, in the inspection schedules and one day it just fell down.

An engineering office lost hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of data, and thousands of dollars of hardware, because the building’s power line got cut by a construction crew a couple hundred yards away, no one had set up backup power for those servers, and no one had made data backups in a couple years. The person whose job it was had left and no one had thought to assign the job to someone else.

A municipal water system had to issue a boil water advisory because maintenance had been deferred and deferred again and then something failed and one branch couldn’t hold pressure and potentially allowed untreated water to contaminate the purified drinking water.

These three examples all involve engineering. That’s because I’m an engineer, these types of things catch my eye, and I understand how they’re supposed to work and how they failed. (All three also affected me, which helped them to stick in my memory.) As with the above, other examples abound, such as business reports being put together with the wrong client’s data, reviewed by several colleagues and at least one manager, and then sent to the correct client, thereby leaking proprietary information. (I saw that one happen, too.)

These are always presented as an unfortunate series of bad luck or at worst mistakes, regrettable but certainly not malicious. It strains belief, though: how is it possible that decades of engineering best practices and written policies and a list of every vehicular bridge in the state could have let one bridge (at least one bridge!) be dropped from the lists to be inspected? It boggles the imagination that no one at DoT noticed that there are 1000 bridges in the state but the crews inspected only 999 each year for ten years in a row. It has to be deliberate, doesn’t it? It couldn’t be that everyone missed it?

I propose that this is exactly what happened: Everyone honestly, though incompetently, missed that the bridge was not being inspected. Everyone honestly, though incompetently, let valuable, non-backed-up data reside only on servers which were known to fail completely if the power flickered.

Many systems today are too complex for anyone but a genius to fully understand. Engineered systems, business systems, economic systems, organizational systems. Most systems start simple but as needs change or problems are found they gradually increased in complexity, from something comprehensible by an bright but not outstanding man to a Gordian knot of relationships and dependencies and “don’t change this section; we don’t know why but if you touch it the whole thing breaks”. Others were complex from the start, set up by a genius and then put into the hands of the only-slightly-above-average to operate.

Regardless of how they became complex, while these complex systems work well enough, so long as nothing goes wrong, something will always go wrong sooner or later. Someone will do things out of order, someone will use a tool or a web page in a way that the designer didn’t expect, power will fail, data will be garbled in transmission, some boss will demand a trivial change with unforeseen ramifications. Something will go wrong.

The problem is that our expectation is for everything to go right. Any deviation from perfection is seen as a problem.

When mistakes are made or things just go wrong, the result is a failed product popping out of the assembly line, a loss of efficiency, or a bridge falling down. Hardly ever does something going wrong result in things going better than expected. (This does happen but it’s rare enough that tales of fortuitous discoveries are endlessly repeated until they seem commonplace.)

Why don’t mistakes make things go better? Because the system has been optimized over the years to be as good as people can make it. Doing things differently is probably going to be worse. You can think of it like assembling a flatpack: swapping parts or doing steps out of order sometimes doesn’t matter and sometimes will screw up the product. Only very rarely will a change make the product better. For the most part the parts list and the instructions were arranged in pretty much the best possible order. The same goes for getting timecards processed and people paid or for keeping a power plant running for years.

This isn’t a contradiction with what I said before, about people not being smart enough to set up a complex system. Trial and error over lots of years and lots of sites will usually settle on a system which is about as good as we can get, even if no one fully understands it.

We can make allowances for things going wrong, and in particular for people not doing everything right. Sometimes the system will include checks to make sure the less-capable or less-conscientious or even the less-honest are doing their jobs right, and fail-safes for when they don’t. Sometimes checks are not included. Checks and fail-safes make a complex system more complex.

If a system is too complex for people to fully understand, they can’t anticipate all the ways in which it can fail. Worse, some systems can be so complex that even known failure modes can’t be properly addressed, often because fixing this thing over here breaks that thing over there.

One of the forms of “breaking that thing over there” is making part of a system too expensive, whether in terms of requiring more highly refined source materials, needing more computing resources to thoroughly check all data inputs before processing them, or having humans follow more detailed checklists with more supervisor approval.

More complex systems with more thorough checks are more expensive to run, too. Every check has a cost as the system runs, as people have to follow more steps or fill out more paperwork or as additional components have to be powered. Every fail-safe has a cost to create and sometimes a cost as the system runs.

It often happens that the executives or the bean-counters insist on reducing scheduled inspections and maintenance because “once every other year is really enough” or cut back safety margins because “it was overdesigned from the beginning”. Then, when the electrical substation catches fire because it was running at 200% for five years, the spokesman will tell reporters that the power company had been following appropriate guidelines regarding use, maintenance, and replacement of the equipment, not mentioning that the company is the entity which set the guidelines and that they’d been revised annually.

OK, so we see the problem: Most systems, of any type, are either too complex for most people to understand now or they will become so in the future. Attempting to make them more tolerant of errors makes them even more complex. Making the problem worse, the systems are often unintentionally sabotaged in order to save money.

What to do about it? That’s a fine question. The obvious solution is to put very smart people in charge of creating and maintaining the most important and most complex systems, leaving the less bright to operate them or to set up the less important systems. The problems with this are that there might not be enough very smart people to go around, given other demands such as scientific research, and that few executives and managers are willing to turn over control (and funding and implicit power) of something they don’t understand. I’m sure that that is not universal but it’s almost so in my experience. There are the related problems that most corporations and probably no bureaucracies are willing to pay a top performer what he’s worth and that few managers and no HR departments are able to distinguish between a genius and a fraud.

Another approach is to scale back large, complex systems to the point that they can be understood by the people available to work on them. That’s not going to happen, not willingly. The lure of ever-bigger government and economy of scale are too strong. The urge to make just one more little tweak to a repeatedly tweaked system rather than redesigning it to properly address new requirements is just as strong.

The only realistic approach is to be more structured about learning from mistakes and problems and creating systems based on best practices. Yes, I recognize the irony of setting up a complex system for creating complex systems. Some engineering disciplines do this to some extent, spreading around lessons learned from problems and setting up best practices which professionals are expected to follow. Commercial aviation is well known for doing so and it’s almost managing to overcome the increase in incompetence at airports. The medical profession also does this, though I’m not sure how much is actually just lip service.

I’m not confident that this approach will be followed, not in general. What I expect is that things will fail or fall apart more and more often in the future. The few bright spots of improvement will be outnumbered by the failures.

Sorry to end on a down note, but that’s the way I see it going. And, hey, at least now you have a better understanding of why you have no electricity in the middle of Winter.

There are two additional points that I want to make which didn’t fit into the narrative above.

First, be aware of bias in noticing and reporting. When things go wrong in a big way, it’s noticed and it’s reported on and the cause (or scapegoat) is searched for. When things go wrong but the checks or failsafes work, it counts as the system working and no one talks about it much except perhaps grumbling about the production line being halted for three hours because someone shipped the wrong thickness of steel sheets.

Second, sometimes things go wrong not because of incompetence or intent by the operators but because someone had a hidden motivation. This can result in a system set up to fail. A number of government projects in the US seem to be this way, especially IT projects. The conflicted mess of written requirements could not possibly be implemented correctly by the best team under the best of circumstances. Constant interference and changes by politicians on high-visibility projects makes it worse. As I started out in this article, I’ll take it that in most cases this truly is because of incompetence rather than because a Moriarty in the bureaucracy is setting it up to fail for some purpose of his own.

EDIT: Francis Porretto has expanded on these thoughts with a valuable contribution of his own. Hie thee hence.

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To laugh, and to cry

Pretty funny one, if bitterly so, from Kurt Schlichter.

America Is Becoming a Joke

Becoming, Kurt?

The United States just lost an F-35 as part of its campaign to reduce itself from the greatest superpower in human history to a pitiful punchline. Ah, the magic of leftism – only it can make a great country like America ridiculous. From an inability to find its fighters to an unwillingness to defend its borders or prosecute criminals – with the exception of conservatives framed for the crime of conservativing – our country has become the Three Stooges without the dignity.

The first question that arises from the mystery jet is not what happened – we can safely assume it was some manner of gross incompetence – but what the plane’s pronouns were. We had the spectacle of the Marine Corps high command dragging itself away from one of its drag shows to ask regular folks if they could pretty please give the jarheads a hand finding their wayward fighter. They couldn’t even spin this fiasco effectively and brag about how their not being able to detect the $100 million aircraft just goes to show how darn good our stealth tech is. No, instead it was just exactly what it sounded like. We can’t keep track of our jets. The only ones happy about it had to be the Navy, since this was a welcome respite from the mockery it earned smashing its destroyers into other boats. Our Army – with its colonels running sex kennels – used to recruit with slogans like “Be All You Can Be,” and now it would probably be better off with “We Suck Less Than That Other Service That Lost The Jet.”

Over on Capitol Hill, where the People’s House that you get sent to jail for peopling inside is located, we have the Republican Charlie Browns once again teeing up to kick the football held by the Democrat Lucys. Yeah, this time will be different! The GOP has only had the better part of a year to get ready for this debt ceiling thing and to plot out a course of action to get some concessions. But have they? Ha! Why win when you can lose?

And on the Senate side, our minority leader keeps freezing up like a Windows blue screen as everyone explains how it is perfectly normal for McConnell to stand there rebooting every time someone puts a mic in his mug. And, of course, there’s Chumley the Congressman insisting that the august institution conform to his desire to dress like a guy playing $2 blackjack hands at Circus Circus on a Monday morning.

We have a president who sounds both like English is his second language and that he’s gotten into the cooking sherry. We have a vice president who, if not for fractured cliches and bizarre cackling, would not be speaking at all. Biden takes the short stairs to get up to the short bus, which is what Air Force One now is. Hey, at least they haven’t lost it. Yet.

Heh. I especially like that “what the plane’s pronouns were” bit. He carries on in like vein from there, all of it good, juicy stuff. Best of all, he resists the urge to start up with the usual blibbering in the last two ‘graphs about how we’re gonna vote so hard we kick their sorry asses black, blue, and purple in the 2024 presidential “elections,” yo! Maybe Col Schlichter has at last outgrown all that airy-fairy horseshit.

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Hey, did somebody misplace a Turducken?

It would seem so, yeah.

Search for missing F-35 Lightning II fighter jet continues after pilot ejects during ‘mishap’
U.S. military officials are searching for a missing F-35 jet after a “mishap” caused its pilot to eject on Sunday afternoon.

Joint Base Charleston said on Facebook that the aircraft was a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II belonging to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. The pilot ejected safely and was transported to a local medical center.

The base is working with Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to help locate the missing aircraft. Emergency response teams have been deployed to find the jet.

“Based on the jet’s last-known position and in coordination with the FAA, we are focusing our attention north of JB Charleston, around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion,” Joint Base Charleston said in a statement on Facebook.

Anyone with information about the jet’s whereabouts is urged to contact JB Charleston Base Defense Operations Center at 843-963-3600.

That strange sound you hear is hilarity, ensuing. For his part, BCE has a question.

Let me get this straight…
An 80 million dollar aircraft
Known as the “Flying Turducken” or “The Turd”
80 fucking million dollars, and they don’t even have the fucking thing LoJacked!?!
My car is fucking LoJacked FFS.

Not only that, but as I recollect, commercial airliners; boats/ships of a certain size both civilian and military; tractor-trailer rigs; and even most cars nowadays are all equipped with some sort of locator-beacon/tracking device or another. Have been for years, in fact. Yet somehow, a fully-tricked-out, state of the art, next-generation air-superiority fighter—supposedly the very best Amerika v2.0 can design, build, and deploy, the very tippy-top of the top of the line—ISN’T?

Naah, not sketchy AT. ALL. Now look, everybody, over there: SQUIRREL!!!

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The Over the (Capitol) Hill gang

Ron Hart has way too much fun making sport of our enfeebled gerontocracy.

Even though Joe Biden could throw himself a successful surprise party, he is not the only one aging out in Washington. Senators Mitch McConnell and Dianne Feinstein are on their last legs. They have too much power for their parties to let them step down. Along with Biden, they have become Weekend at Bernie’s politicians.

Propped up by their lobbyists, staff and benefactors to perpetuate their power for the benefit of those who bought and paid for them, our gerontocracy shuffles on.

Maybe I am too hard on lobbyists. We need them. Who else would pay $550,000 for Hunter Biden’s artwork? “Three Dogs Playing Poker while Smoking Crack” art is in the eye of the beholder.

It probably does not matter how mentally impaired those in Congress are (Senator John Fetterman of PA comes to mind). With votes dictated by their party leaders, D.C. is shirts and skins; everyone votes as they are told along party lines. For years now, there has been no real debate or intellectual swaying of opinions.

Yet it seems none of these folks will let go. Power is too seductive and too compelling. When I worked in Washington while attending Georgetown, folks called Washington “Hollywood for Ugly People.” I did not get the joke until troll Alan Greenspan married NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell.

Henry Kissinger said it best: “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”

Let’s face it, few politicians have any other marketable skills. The difference between a prostitute and a politician? No one would walk up three flights of stairs at one in the morning to spend time with a politician.

Biden has the ability to hide his own Easter eggs, which then begs the question: who is running our government? Elected politicians or this permanent political class in Washington, D.C.? Clearly, with the actions of the DOJ, FBI, DOD and the medical/industrial complex, it is our unelected Deep State.

Forget term limits, what we need are hard and fast AGE limits for all Mordor on the Potomac ProPols. It’s no more than fair; if Americans in certain occupations other than politics can be required to retire at (usually) 70, then why shouldn’t politicians be subject to same? Say, forcible retirement at 65 and, for any who have been roosting in DC for a period of more than ten (10) years, a mandatory spend-more-time-at-home-with-your-constituents age of no more than 50.

As Insty quips: “Caligula sent a horse to the Senate. We just send part of the horse.” Myself, I think Caligula was really onto something there, although Glenn’s imputation would suit me just fine also. I mean, could it really be any worse than what we have now?

The real solution, of course, is to remove the excess of power, prestige, and bribe-money from the current seat of national government: disperse the federal bureaucracy entire out to various locations in the once-again-Sovereign States, then shrink FederalGovCo itself drastically, thereby removing the source of all temptation for the diseased, power-and-control-obsessed fucksticks who scramble to get themselves into position to succumb to it. But alas, that’s just another item on the long, long list of things that ain’t ever gonna happen, I’m afraid.

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America That Was: what happened?

From Dream Factory to Dystopian Nightmare.

America was once the world’s dream factory. We turned imagination into reality, from curing polio to landing on the Moon to creating the internet. And we were confident that more wonders lay just over the horizon: clean and infinite energy, a cure for cancer, computers and robots as humanity’s great helpers, and space colonies. (Also, of course, flying cars.) Science fiction, from The Jetsons to Star Trek, would become fact.

But as we moved into the late 20th century, we grew cautious, even cynical, about what the future held and our ability to shape it. Too many of us saw only the threats from rapid change. The year 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the Great Downshift in technological progress and economic growth, followed by decades of economic stagnation, downsized dreams, and a popular culture fixated on catastrophe: AI that will take all our jobs if it doesn’t kill us first, nuclear war, climate chaos, plague and the zombie apocalypse. We are now at risk of another half-century of making the same mistakes and pushing a pro-progress future into the realm of impossibility.

As with almost every problem in the Western world, if you want to find the roots of what Pethokoukis calls the Great Downshift there’s but one place you need to look: cherchez le shitlib, mon frere. Sounds like another likely candidate for Mike’s Iron Laws, I believe.

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MYOB, serf

Know what quite possibly the best thing of all is about living in a free, open society? Gotta be the total transparency on the part of our dedicated, conscientious public servants, who always see to it that their employers are kept fully informed about what the government Of, By, and For The People is getting itself up to.

Regrettably, this is assuredly NOT that society.

IRS special agent killed at Phoenix gun range during training exercise
The FBI is investigating after a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service was killed at a gun range at a correctional facility in Phoenix on Thursday afternoon.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the shooting happened at the firing range at the Federal Correctional Institutional in Phoenix, located near Pioneer Road and Interstate 17 in north Phoenix. Aimee Arthur-Wastell, spokesperson with the FBOP, said the range was being used by multiple federal agencies at the time.

The FBI specified that the agent was there for “routine” training when they were killed, but didn’t offer specifics as to how the agent was killed or if anyone was in custody.

According to Phoenix police, officers who responded to the area found a person shot, later determined to be the IRS agent. The agent was taken to a hospital with serious injuries. It wasn’t immediately clear if the agent died en route or at the hospital.

According to Arthur-Wastell, no FBOP or firing range employees were injured.

“To preserve the integrity and capabilities of the investigation, details of the ongoing process will not be released,” the FBI said in a statement. “Findings of the FBI investigation will be turned over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona for review.”

Phoenix police remained on the scene assisting the FBI, which took command of the investigation.

Arthur-Westell directed all inquiries regarding the incident to the Department of Treasury’s Office of Inspector General, which as of Thursday evening had not responded to a request for comment.

And there you have it—that’s it, the news “report” in its entirety, nothing redacted,  expurgated, or left out by little old moi. Not a jot or tittle therein of anything resembling actual information, other than  that one of our notional “employees” went to the range and then “was killed”—somewhere, somehow, somewhen, who really knows? Inquiring minds would surely wish to know more, but in Amerika v2.0, inquiring minds can just go suck themselves a fat dique for all their “public servants” give a shit.

From the notable lack of interest on the part of our dogged media establishment in pursuing things any further, one can safely assume that no Ultra Mega Mucho MAGA Americans© whatsoever were involved. As such, expect this story to disappear quicker’n lightning, no further elaboration sought or neccessary, as far as They’re concerned.

Multiple indictments of one Donald J Trump for causing this “tragedy” to follow, naturally.

Via Insty, who quips: REMEMBER, ONLY TRAINED GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS CAN BE TRUSTED TO USE FIREARMS SAFELY. Yes, if there’s any reasonable takeaway here, that would have to be it.

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Power failure

Coming all too soon to an aging, overburdened, decrepit electric grid near you.

A Silent Threat to the Energy Transition: America’s Broken Infrastructure Policy
So much of the conversation focuses on the tired and misleading narrative about Oil & Gas villains vs. Renewable heroes. The true enemy of our sustainable energy future is the nation’s broken infrastructure policy. We could greenlight every renewable project in development today and innovate every piece of technology needed to meet our climate goals, and it wouldn’t matter because we lack the ability to utilize and store the energy we create.

Infrastructure isn’t top of mind for most people, but it has gotten more attention in recent years, particularly after Congress passed the massive $1 trillion infrastructure bill in 2021. The legislation included funding for everything from airport repairs to clean drinking water. It also contained the largest investment in clean energy transmission and the electric grid in U.S. history – $65 billion – to be used for new transmission lines for renewable energy, advanced transmission and distribution technologies, and research hubs for next-generation technologies, including carbon capture and clean hydrogen.

But what good are new transmission lines and next-gen technologies if they never make it past the black hole of red tape, interminable delays, supply-chain problems, and exploding costs that derail so many energy projects?

Much of the U.S. grid was built in the 1960s and 1970s, and over 70% of it is currently more than a quarter-century old. But age isn’t the grid’s only problem. The U.S. power infrastructure was built to bring energy from where fossil fuels are burned to where the energy will be used. The nation’s electricity industry, meanwhile, grew via a patchwork of local utility companies whose targets were to meet local demand and maintain grid reliability.

Emissions-free energy sources like sun and wind are, by nature, intermittent. They’re abundant only in places where the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, and therefore need to be stored and transmitted to other locations where there is demand for power. 

Along with the need for new ways to transmit and store sustainable energy, the existing grid will need a major upgrade as demand for electricity rises to meet the needs of electric vehicles, heat pumps, and other replacements for conventional energy sources. A modernized and expanded grid “will be the backbone of the energy transition – and a requirement of any realistic decarbonization pathway,” according to a 2022 report by McKinsey & Company.

There is no silver bullet to fix this complex set of issues. But it’s clear we need a strategic approach to infrastructure investment, and fast. Part of that investment needs to come from Washington in the form of comprehensive policy and regulatory reform, which is the single biggest blocker to private investment and healthy competition in the energy sector. 

Simply put, building energy projects is complicated. Who pays for what is even more complicated, as processes, permitting, payment, and incentivization are all misaligned. Current policy doesn’t support the buildout we need; in fact, it slows it down and exacerbates the problem. Without policy and regulatory reform, we’ll continue to pay more and more to maintain our quality of life. Even worse, we’ll never reach the finish line in the race to a sustainable energy future.

I’ll say it yet again: funny, innit, how almost all of our contemporary woes have their origins in the same place: a greedy, grasping, over-powerful central goobermint?

(Via Bayou Peter)

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There they go again

Another day, another “FBI is baffled as to what the motive might have been…” jihadist with big, big plans.

Philadelphia teen charged with planning national terrorist attack
Heavily armed law enforcement officers swarmed the Philadelphia home of a teenager who was plotting to launch a national terrorist attack, authorities said.

The suspect, an unnamed 17-year-old, was in contact with a global terrorist group affiliated with al Qaeda and had access to a “significant” number of guns and was building bombs, FBI Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire said during a Monday press conference.

The teen, who was arrested Friday, “conducted general research” into potential targets that weren’t confined to one location, and they were not just in Philadelphia, she said.

Bold mine, and the only reason I find this story at all interesting. I mean, leaving aside the distinctive aroma of “false-flag SQUIRREL!!™ psy-op to distract from (insert latest BuyEm crime family scandal HERE)” wafting from this, OF COURSE the targets were “not just in Philadelphia.” Really, at this point who the hell would bother with bombing poor old Philly? That would be like bombing Baltimore or Detroit or Mogadishu or something. How could one even tell any of those places had been bombed, and if somebody did bomb one, what would look any different afterwards there?

(Via BCE)

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“A Retirement Home for American Politicians Who Won’t Retire”

AMPO: an idea whose time has clearly come.

Only flaw I see here is this: “At AMPO, we actually let you live the retirement life without actually having to retire…in the rare event your relative does need to leave the premises to vote on America’s future we have chaffeurs ready to go, as no sane person would let someone of that age drive themselves.”

Funny, yes, but I’d much prefer that these decrepit, corrupt scum-lickers be forced into full and complete retirement—no more influence; no more power; no more graft or influence-pedding; no more preening for Praetorian Media cameras. Nothing but the continued long, slow slide into the obscurity, senile dementia, and physical helplessness they so richly deserve.

(Via Ace)

2

No reason it can’t be both

And every reason to think that it not only can, but IS.

Recently, in a conversation between friends, the hypothesis was floated: what if all the burning farms, derailed trains, crop failures, etc. etc. etc. etc. ad scary nauseam aren’t really enemy action, but more a competency crisis.

As in these things happen not because big-bad is plotting against us, but because no one knows how to do the things they purportedly do anymore.

Embrace the healing power of “and,” Sarah.

To give an example: Suppose you were hired to haul buckets from a well. But when you actually get the job, you find out, no. Because of inherited systems, and what your superiors expect, you’re supposed to climb down the wall, hand over hand, and bring up water by the cupfull. And there are regulations in the works to make that by the spoonfull. However, you’ll be fully held to account if you can’t provide the amount of water the company is contracted for. You. Personally.

So, you do what you can. You fudge the books. On paper, you’re getting all this water up. Where the water goes no one knows, every one down stream (pardon the pun) from you does the same.

If this sounds like the soviet system? It is. It’s just that the directives don’t come directly and traceably from the government. (Though under the infestation of Bidentia they increasingly do.) Instead, they come from “experts” “scientists” “Studies” “marketing gurus.” And sometimes they are curtailed or made worse by agencies and regulations.

Yes, the managerial or worse “expert” class is the same that furnishes government. These are not your friends, are not meant to be your friends, and are convinced they know much more than you do.

What they know in fact is “how to manage.” But it’s not how to manage anything. They know theory of management (or whatever) derived from no reality (mostly from the writings of Marx, if you dig a little) and pushed ALL THE WAY DOWN.

It’s like — exactly like — being run by “experts” who memorized the Little Red Book. It might please those in power, but it has nothing to do with accomplishing the actual job in front of you.

No coincidence, that. The mistake Sarah makes here is one all too many of us still do: assuming that “their job” is still what the traditional American understanding of that was. Nothing could be further from the truth. Under the present-day Amerika v2.0/Soviet-style system, these people are NOT “public servants.” They do NOT “work for us,” are not in any way, shape, or form answerable to We The People; they are accountable only to their OWN masters in goobermint, whose goals are not ours.

Once you’ve accepted that home truth, it all starts to make a sad, sick sort of sense—another of those things that, once seen, cannot be unseen, shall we say. Bukowski recognized all those years ago what the underlying problem is.

Apologies for y’all being forced to click over to YewToob to learn the answer, but hey, whatchagonna do. New category for this sort of thing, which I fear is gonna be populated all too quickly: Culture Of Incompetence.

Update! Well, whaddya know, after getting the dreaded “Video unavailable” nag-window in the MarsEdit post preview, the vid appears on the actual CF page, at least for me. YMMV, of course and as usual.

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