Belmont Club

Belmont Club

No Ordinary Time

August 30th, 2015 - 6:06 am

The news spotlight is on the US electoral drama.  Everything outside the circle of media brilliance is momentarily in shadow, most especially Obama administration’s governance record.  They persist in a singular state of invisibility.  Scandals, domestic crises, foreign conflicts — none have been resolved.  It is just that the newspapers don’t talk about them any more.   Matthew Continetti of the National Review thinks that the normally raucous anti-war groups, even Obama himself, have fallen deliberately silent.

The anniversary of the U.S. war against the Islamic State passed with little notice. It was August 7 of last year that President Obama authorized the first airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, a campaign he expanded a month later to include targets in Syria. So far this month, the president has delivered remarks on the Voting Rights Act, his deal with Iran, the budget, clean energy, and Hurricane Katrina. ISIS? Not a peep.

Obama’s quiet because the war is not going well … One of our most gifted generals predicts the conflict will last “10 to 20 years.” And now comes news that the Pentagon is investigating whether intelligence assessments of ISIS have been manipulated for political reasons. “Analysts,” reports the Daily Beast, “have been pushed to portray the group as weaker than the analysts believe it actually is.” This sort of dishonesty helps no one — except a president whose primary concern is leaving office with his reputation for ending wars intact, and the military brass who wish to remain in his good graces.

The War — if one can call it that — exists without being acknowledged.   China, South America, Russia, the border, inhabit the same limbo.   These, like massive shadowy cliffs,  have faded into an out of focus background under shallow depth of field coverage of the media lens.  All we see sharply are the tiny, minutely defined candidates under a harsh glare. Occasionally actual events intrude in the form of attention-grabbing tragedies that have inexplicably multiplied.

We shudder at the sight of drowned Syrian children washing up on Libyan beaches; shake our heads at asphyxiated truckloads abandoned by people smugglers who took the money and ran; wonder at what the meltdown in China might portend.  But we shudder without much understanding; these tragedies seem to have a kind of meteoric quality, arriving from parts unknown and vanishing to the same distant parts of the media solar system.


That Old Time Religion

August 27th, 2015 - 6:21 pm

Howard Fineman, writing in the Huffington Post described the Democratic Party he was hoping would be born.  He characterized the struggles within the party over its future direction in the following way:

If Biden is to have a chance, he’ll have to somehow reach out to minority voters, who so far seem cool to or even estranged from Sanders and Clinton.

He’d also have to somehow reach out to a new version of the party that is out there waiting to be born. It is a yet-to-be-defined mashup of Black Lives Matter; pro-immigration activism; non-European cultural consciousness; tolerance of all religions, lifestyles and genders; genuine urgency about the fate of the planet; confidence in technology, social media and the sharing economy; and skepticism about America’s right, power and duty to lead the world.

Yet in the wake of worldwide trends it may be reasonable to ask whether Fineman hasn’t got his compass exactly upside down. Suppose his poles are reversed and his vision of the Democratic Party hoping to be born is actually the one waiting to die. How would that change the calculus?

The actual world of 2015 is the image negative of Fineman’s dream.  Rather than being a place where migration is rare and persecuted, it is a world with altogether too much immigration, much of it involuntary,  consists of people fleeing in fear from non-European consciousness. It is a time of people running from an intolerance of all religions save one which believes nearly all lifestyles and some genders should be persecuted, that has produced almost no technology  yet which cleverly uses that invented by others, like social media for their evil purposes.  This is the world which actually obtains.

In other words the empirical earth is full of people fleeing from all that Fineman’s vision holds dear towards everything it abjures.  Most of today’s world isn’t fleeing from Europe and America. It is fleeing toward Europe or America bringing often with them all the intolerances left over from the Old Country.  As the New York Times special on the global refugee crisis explains, there are more displaced persons on the road today than any time since World War 2.

They come from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Kosovo. Forth they stream from Bangladesh and the Muslim parts of Burma. They sail past Indonesia and Malaysia toward the hell-hole of Australia. A huge number are making their way overland through Macedonia and Serbia and are even now burrowing under the frontier wire of Hungary. On they come in boats from Libya, South Sudan, Eritrea and Nigeria, pausing only to catch their breath in Greece, Italy and France before going onward to the Promised Land. Not Israel in this case but Great Britain and Germany.

They come from everywhere, even in Europe masses of people have fled the fighting in Ukraine, half a million from Donetsk alone.  They are swarming everywhere.  The director of Human Rights Watch asks, ‘why does nobody care’ not just about the masses of refugees themselves the carnage they are fleeing from?  After all, the West cared enough once so what changed in the interim?

Last Sunday’s bombing by the Syrian government of a busy marketplace in the town of Douma, killing at least 112 of its own citizens, was one of deadliest attacks in an ever-more devastating conflict. The four strikes came during the busy midday period, as if to maximize destruction. Once again, we were confronted with haunting images of rooms filled with the bodies of the victims, many of them children, being prepared for burial.

Almost exactly 20 years ago, a similarly brutal bombing of a marketplace during the Bosnian war changed the course of that conflict. On August 28, 1995, during its siege of the city of Sarajevo, forces of the breakaway Republika Srpska fired five mortar shells into the Markale market, killing 43 and wounding 75.

What changed in the interval was Western confidence in the normativeness of its values and its ability to intervene in global events. The political delegitimization of Operation Iraqi Freedom added to the disappointment in the Arab Spring has pretty much soured the West on anything except watching the tragedy passively unfold. The “skepticism about America’s right, power and duty to lead the world”, the logical consequence of ‘no more Vietnams’, ‘no more Iraqs’  is no mas, period.


The Alinsky Man

August 25th, 2015 - 5:55 pm

Watch Jorge Ramos of Univision getting tossed out of a Trump press conference by security after trying to pressure the Donald into answering him in the video below this post.  Instead of responding to Ramos, Trump lets security show him the door.  Afterward Trump allows that he has no problem letting Ramos back in, and the Washington Post reports the subsequent conversation between the two men.

After Ramos was allowed back in, a showdown over immigration ensued. “Good to have you back,” said Trump to Ramos. The two talked about building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, about Trump’s plan to deport undocumented immigrants and then bring back “the good ones” and about gangs. “I want these people — the good people — I want them to come back,” said Trump. The problem is bad management, he continued, telling Ramos that he’s not “used to good management, ’cause you’re always talking about government…Government is incompetent.”

The real news was not in the words exchanged, but in the picture of Jorge Ramos being escorted out. It was not even borne by that picture, but embedded the emotional calculus of the act. Everyone who thinks Obama was an Alinsky disciple should watch Trump in action. He understands the Alinsky principle that public events are not about bandying words. They are about creating opportunities for transgressing certain emotional boundaries. It’s about “empowering the powerless”.

Ironic as it may sound, there’s a widespread impression that mainstream Americans are not supposed to answer back when men like Ramos take the stage.  It’s verboten. Not too long ago a public figure would have been terrified to confront Jorge Ramos. There’s  was no real intellectual content to Trump’s performance at the press conference. What there is a dangerous, but powerful spectacle of “wow. He’s telling Univision off! Wow!”

It’s William Tell knocking Gessler’s Hat off the pole. It’s the Injuns throwing Tea into Boston Harbor. It’s Donald Trump facing off a sacred cow. It’s dynamite. Other people, especially Ted Cruz, may be better at words than Donald Trump. But it’s not about words. Trumps words don’t actually mean as much as the fact that he’s saying them to the ruling elite’s face.


Wanted: Rubes

August 24th, 2015 - 5:36 pm

The headlines of the hour pertain to what journalists are calling The Great Fall of China.  Following the devaluation of the China’s currency, evidence of a slowdown and the flight of capital, global stock markets fell in what is now being called ‘Black Monday‘.

The US Dow Jones index crashed more than 1000 points within minutes of opening before stabilising to trade around five per cent lower on Monday. It’s an unprecedented move for the Dow which has never lost more than 800 points in a single day.
Stockmarkets in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain also plummeted after China’s Shanghai Composite Index lost 8.5 per cent on Monday – the largest margin in eight years.

The UK’s FTSE 100 index lost more than $85 billion in the first three hours of trading while markets in Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and Australia all closed more than more than 4 per cent down.

The massive sell off, dubbed the “Great Fall of China” is being stoked by fears China has lost control of the situation and doesn’t have the means to fix it.

The global sell-off made a mockery of Jack Lew’s assurance, made at a talk in the Brookings Institute, that China’s markets weren’t linked to the rest of the world.

Jack Lew, speaking at the Brookings Institution in July, confidently assured that Americans were immune from weakening markets in China.

“I will say that China’s markets still are pretty much separated from world markets,” the secretary of Treasury, said. “They’re, obviously, moving towards being more integrated, but right now they’re not.”

Chico Harlan, writing in the Washington Post, says Lew was actually right. Beijing’s stock exchanges are not linked to the world. The problem is that they’re not linked to reality either. However China’s economy is linked to the global engine. What actually happened is that China’s stock market began as a Potemkin project to assure the world of  Beijing’s strength.  Chinese investors knew the government would be propping up a mere facade; that the worse China’s economy got, the more the Communist Party would paint the facade. Harlan writes:

Let’s take a moment to state clearly that the stock market and the “real economy,” particularly in China, don’t always dance together. Until 2013, China’s major indexes were among the poorest-performing — which made almost as little sense as what happened next.

Starting about a year ago (yes, amid the slowdown), equities boomed. The Shanghai Composite Index more than doubled, and much of China was in a stock-buying frenzy, most of them mom-and-pop investors rather than major money managers. Shares looked like one of the few good investments in the country, particularly with the real estate market cooling. In a sign of how weird it got, there was even an explosion in margin lending — where individuals borrowed money against the value of their portfolios. Chinese bought stocks with virtually no mind of how the companies were actually performing. On the Shenzhen stock market, the average company had a price-to-earnings ratio of nearly 70:1; in other words, companies were valued way way way beyond their (scant) earnings. (On the Dow, by comparison, that ratio is about 16:1).

What drove this frenzy, in part, was the assumption that a slumping economy would actually help stock prices — by prompting the government to unleash a massive stimulus.

“Whenever bad news came out from the Chinese economy, very frequently the Chinese stock market would rally,” said Patrick Chovanec, a chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management. “There was this perverse expectation — fiscal stimulus, lending stimulus. You know, good news equals bad news.

“People were telling themselves stories, just like in the dotcom bubble. ‘The government will put more money into the economy, especially as it is going down.’”

The China markets were to use the American term, “too big to fail” — and when  they collapsed the fall was a proxy indicator not of itself but of the underlying competence of China’s management.  The crisis shattered the illusion of the status quo, which was inconvenient for everybody.  Fergus Ryan, writing in the Guardian, quotes sources that regret that capitalism isn’t being more cooperative with government. “China’s leaders look powerless against destructive market forces. The longstanding perception created by Communist rulers that they are always ultimately in charge takes a battering from feral capitalism,” his article leads. It’s a phrase we often hear: feral capitalism.  What happens when it meets Feral Communism?  The score so far: markets 1: politburo 0.


Altered State

August 21st, 2015 - 8:55 pm

French officials have praised the coolness of off-duty US Marines who jumped a terrorist preparing to attack a passenger train.  Their actions prevented what might have been a massacre.  The incident brought to mind an email I received from a Marine officer in 2008, then recently returned from a stint commanding an infantry company in Anbar, expressing regret he not been in Mumbai at the time of the terror attacks (his civilian employment had set him to traveling) because he felt he might have “done something”.

He devoted the next email paragraphs analyzing the movements of the Mumbai terrorist attackers, pointing out their similarity to the buddy-pair tactics his own men had practiced, with a matter-of-factness and eagerness to be there that some people might find disturbingly unnatural.

Because it is unnatural.

There are probably hundreds of videos on YouTube showing Marines — and other infantry — advancing toward the sound of gunfire in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.  The thing to realize is it is genuinely perverse behavior.  The natural inclination of a normal civilian is to flee from gunfire and seek shelter wherever they may find it.

Most of us should go through life thinking about that sandwich in the rail dining car or the meeting we are scheduled to attend in Paris.  When war suddenly erupts from the train toilet, the normal man even if he has some means of defense will forget to use it in the confusion of the moment. In France the news articles report a number of passengers on the train slightly injured themselves in their effort to set off alarms or escape past closed glass doors.  There is nothing cowardly in this.  That is what 99.99% of the world will do in a similar situation.

Given time many civilians will overcome the initial shock and switch mental gears, as was the case with United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. They started off as passengers and in consequence the attackers could count on the element of surprise to gain the few minutes needed to complete their plan. In the case of UA Flight 93 it took almost half an hour for the passengers to make the shift.

The passenger revolt on Flight 93 began at 09:57, after the passengers took a vote amongst themselves about whether to act. By this time, Flight 77 had struck the Pentagon and Flights 11 and 175 had struck the World Trade Center towers. As the revolt began and the hijackers started maneuvering the plane around violently, the plane went off of its Washington, D.C. course. The hijackers in the cockpit became aware of the revolt at 09:57:55, exclaiming, “Is there something? A fight?”

But that half-hour was enough.


The Last Atheist

August 21st, 2015 - 5:43 am

A man named Alexander Bard may be typical of the new believers. The Guardian explains: “It is two years since Alexander Bard founded a new religion called Syntheism in which he claimed that the ‘the internet is God’”.  He got the idea at Burning Man.

If Saint Paul had his vision on the road to Damascus, Bard had his “while spending the night lying next to a beautiful naked actress at Burning Man  …  digital natives under 25 now see “the online world as the real world and the real world as a reflection of the online world,” says Bard.

It’s easy to see why Bard should think that.  The Internet nearly has three of the traditional attributes of divinity: omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence. Although the Internet isn’t omnipotent yet, it is already quite powerful, and not inconceivably on its way to full potency.  Actual omnipresence is further along; probably only a few decades away.  Soon enough everyone will be surrounded by the Internet of Things (IOT).  Household appliances, self-driving cars, sensors embedded in every item — including our bodies — will talk to each other and report on us.  There will be nowhere to hide. Every square inch of the planet will be covered by drone hot spots in the sky owned by Google or Facebook, the better to knit things together.

Omniscience has already arrived, as the subscribers to the Ashley Madison website have discovered to their cost.  Thirty-three million users of the partner-swapping website have had their names, email addresses, fantasies and in some cases nude photographs published online for anyone to search. “Hackers have released the details of 33 million Ashley Madison profiles. Are you tempted to search for your partner’s details?” asks the Guardian.

Whether you search today or in a thousand years the most horrifying, despair inducing thing about the Ashley Madison event is that the nude picture never ever fades away.  To paraphrase Hebrews 4:13 “nothing in all creation is hidden from the Internet’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of them to whom we must give account.” Jared Fogle, the former pitchman from the Subway sandwich chain, actually thought he could keep a secret of his interest in underage girls from cellphone tower logs, website records, text message archives, hotel surveillance cameras, etc, etc.  He was wrong.


How Systems Get Tired

August 19th, 2015 - 2:42 am

One of the arguments for the impossibility of an event is lack of previous failure. “It never failed before and thus can never fail ever”.  The Washington Post’s editorial board invokes a variant of this logic to refute Donald Trump’s border policy, arguing there are so many illegal immigrants it is too expensive to deport them all, leaving no alternative but to accept more.  Besides, America is still standing so what can be the harm in admitting more? The same argument is used to justify other policies.  For example the Fed can continue to print trillions because it always has.

The contrary view is embodied in Stein’s Law, named after the economist Herbert Stein, who said ”if something cannot go on forever, it will stop”.  Following Stein’s Law, neither unbridled illegal immigration nor money printing can continue indefinitely.  Each of these projects has used up a margin and will eventually  reach a point where something unprecedented — something which has never happened before —  occurs.

Social engineers are members of the first school of thought and are typically surprised by unprecedented events viewing them as perverse.  For example the Washington Post notes the shock of rising and virulent xenophobia in Germany, something heretofore thought to be extinct since the end of the Second World War.  ”Germany unnerved by scores of xenophobic attacks against refugees.”  The past should continue indefinitely.  Failure can be due only to wreckers.

By contrast, physical engineers — unlike their social counterparts — are not the slightest bit surprised when structures which have stood for a long time suddenly collapse. The phenomenon is known as materials fatigue.  Precedent is not only not a defense against failure, but is often its cause. When the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapsed in 2007 some members of the public asked, “how can a bridge which has been standing since 1967 suddenly collapse?”  The answer of course, is the bridge failed because it has been standing since 1967 and the cumulative damage caused by repetitive stress finally did it in.

However, social engineers have no concept of fatigue. They do not understand that “damage is cumulative. Materials do not recover when rested.” Instead they believe in the principle of “acceptance” or legitimization where not only does material recover when rested, it recovers even when it is not rested.  For example, president Obama, fresh from his campaign to legitimize gay marriage announced the appointment of the first openly transgender White House staff member.

Load should follow load to build “momentum”. The fact that a structure has survived a hit it was never designed for only proves to social engineers that it can survive even more impositions.  There is no concept in social engineering of an endurance limit.  On the contrary, social engineering is based on the belief that human beings are almost infinitely malleable.


Good Spiel

August 17th, 2015 - 11:50 pm

If journalism is a faithful mirror of the world then humanity is in trouble.  Most of its coverage consists principally of bad news, to such an extent that there seems to be no other. The BBC’s Tom Stafford explained that it’s not the industry’s fault.  It covers the dark side because it’s what audiences want to see.  Journalists just give people what they want: humanity at its bomb throwing, head-chopping and conniving worst.

In that view the front page is a mirror of mankind. It is a selfie of our sad existence on earth. As proof he cites a study by two researchers at McGill University.

Trussler and Soroka invited participants from their university to come to the lab for “a study of eye tracking”. The volunteers were first asked to select some stories about politics to read from a news website so that a camera could make some baseline eye-tracking measures. It was important, they were told, that they actually read the articles, so the right measurements could be prepared, but it didn’t matter what they read. …

The results of the experiment, as well as the stories that were read most, were somewhat depressing. Participants often chose stories with a negative tone – corruption, set-backs, hypocrisy and so on – rather than neutral or positive stories. People who were more interested in current affairs and politics were particularly likely to choose the bad news.
And yet when asked, these people said they preferred good news. On average, they said that the media was too focussed on negative stories. ..

The researchers present their experiment as solid evidence of a so called “negativity bias”, psychologists’ term for our collective hunger to hear, and remember bad news.

There’s no question that many people are fascinated by sordid scenes. The attraction of programs like Bait Car or Cops may lie in the endless spectacle of human wreckage caught in the act of committing genuinely stupid crimes, often under the influence of drugs or alcohol which they invariably make worse by “fighting the poh-lice”.  The sight of these ugly, mean and often disgusting people Trussler and Soroka explain, makes us feel good since by comparison most of us are ‘better’.  It’s schadenfreude pure and simple.

But the McGill University study doesn’t explain where the good news went.  Like Dark Matter, good news must exist, even if it is invisible, simply because it must logically be there. The world after all, keeps turning.  Something must be doing it — besides Space Aliens. Good news does in fact exist and in massive quantities too, ironically hiding in the last place we would look, in those sections regarded as lesser, like the business announcements, entertainment, sports and the advertisements.


How Political Machines End

August 16th, 2015 - 5:24 pm

Ross Douthat, writing in the New York Times ruefully writes “I simply do not believe that the Obama Justice Department is going to indict the former secretary of state and Democratic front-runner for mishandling classified information, even if the offenses involved would have sunk a lesser figure’s career or landed her in jail.”  The observation is almost tantamount to arguing that the rule of law no longer exists; that the political class can literally do whatever it wants.  What is worse, he argues the electorate has accepted it, a point he makes in the succeeding paragraph.

Because absent an indictment— or, I suppose, an email showing her deliberately accepting payola from Vladimir Putin — the email affair, no less than the shady Clinton Foundation dealings, looks like the kind of scandal that Clinton supporters have long conditioned themselves to justify: An inappropriate and self-interested episode, clumsily covered over, but at once murky and slow-dripping enough for Democratic partisans to shrug, say, “LOLBenghazi” and move on.

George Orwell, in a moment of despair, predicted a future where the bad guys would permanently rule the roost.  ”If you want a picture of the future,” he wrote, “imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”  But history proves that Orwell’s future never happens.  In actuality Hitler shoots himself in his bunker, waiting for Steiner.  Stalin, after whom Orwell modeled Big Brother — not to mention his whole empire — dies surrounded by jeering enemies, who themselves  kill each other shortly afterward. Even Putin’s new USSR ends with Russia sending itself into bankruptcy.

China’s no longer ten feet tall because it’s too corrupt.  Greece can’t even competently accept a handout.  Brazil’s left wing president is facing huge crowds calling for her resignation because she’s ruined everything.  For Venezuela’s socialists, the consumption of the last rolls of rationed toilet paper are finally convincing the masses they are not the head, but the ass of history.  Castro is reduced to cadging a handout from Obama to support his global revolution, proving that he can’t run a country but he can outsmart the man from Chicago.

The bad guys win for season, but they always fail in the end because the boot stamping on the human face eventually rots and gives its wearer toenail fungus.  A system that is arbitrary – not to mention capricious —  soon destroys itself through inefficiency and/or sclerosis because it has no feedback mechanism.   The leadership degenerates into a geriatric Soviet politburo, the Castro brothers double act, a Robert Mugabe beyond parody or the Democratic presidential line-up.

Speaking of that illustrious cohort, one supporter of the party wrote “how I see it. …Technology is about to propel us into a new era. We NEED the brightest minds to lead us. We need people that can capture all the potential the FUTURE holds! That is not the current Republican party. I hope they change, but as of right now my vote is with the Democrats.”

The future. That would be a party whose aspirants: Biden, Clinton, Gore and Sanders have a combined age of nearly three centuries. Recently John Kerry announced that he was going to sit out he 2016 presidential elections because he had plenty of time to run in subsequent elections.

Kerry refused permanently closing the door on a greater role in domestic politics after next year.

“Well, I’m not saying forever and ever,” he told Mitchell. “I feel young enough to be engaged in America’s political process and debates over time, but not right now.”


Going Concern

August 14th, 2015 - 5:20 am

Evidence for the half-serious Belmont Club dictum that humanity’s continued survival, despite its stupidity, has been due either to Divine intervention or Space Aliens, found support from an unlikely source: Edgar Mitchell, the 6th man to walk on the Moon,  thinks  Space Aliens have definitely saved our bacon.

Edgar Mitchell, an astronaut on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, says peace-loving aliens visited our planet during weapons tests at US missile bases and the famous White Sands Proving Ground in the New Mexico desert – where the world’s first nuclear bomb was detonated in 1945.

“White Sands was a testing ground for atomic weapons – and that’s what the extra-terrestrials were interested in,” the 84-year-old told Mirror Online. “They wanted to know about our military capabilities.”

He added that the extraterrestrials were “attempting to keep us from going to war and help create peace on Earth.”

Mitchell also says that other officers support his claims.

“I have spoken to many Air Force officers who worked at these silos during the Cold War,” he said. “They told me UFOs were frequently seen overhead and often disabled their missiles.”

Humanity appears to have a profound need to find a plausible explanation for everything it observes.  We can’t believe that stuff can just randomly happen.  So when politicians we regard as clever and calculating do something mind numbingly dumb, it bothers us. Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller is tormented by this particular mystery: “If Hillary’s Server Was ‘Blank,’ Why Was It Kept At A Data Center In New Jersey?”

That revelation is significant because until now, most observers have assumed that Clinton wiped her server clean sometime after October, when the State Department sent a letter requesting that she hand over all of her emails. Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, informed the House Select Committee on Benghazi in late March that the server had been wiped clean.

But the new claim that the server has been useless for more than two years indicates that when Clinton finally did produce her emails in December — 55,000 pages worth — they were drawn from a different device.

Kendall recently gave the FBI three thumb drives that held Clinton’s emails, but Wells said she had no information on whether the data from Clinton’s old server was transferred directly to lawyer’s thumb drives. Neither the Clinton campaign nor Kendall responded to questions from TheDC.

Asked why the server would have been stored in New Jersey if it did not have any useful information on it, [Platte River Networks attorney] Wells said, “I have no information on that.”

Chuck Ross posits the existence of another device. Before we laugh at the idea that non-empty source device exists in the possession of Space Aliens, we must ask ourselves: if not, then what’s spooking the Democratic Party? Clearly something is exercising them. Niall Stanage and Kevin Cirilli of Politico write that the party is in “panic mode”.

Democrats are worried that the furor surrounding Hillary Clinton’s private email server will be prolonged and intensified after her sudden move to hand it over to the FBI.

The Clinton campaign’s decision to give up the server and a thumb drive containing backup copies of emails left Democrats scratching their heads as to why the former secretary of State had resisted for months turning over the server.

Coupled with new polls that suggest Clinton is vulnerable, Democrats are nearing full-on panic mode.

What is undeniable is something extraordinary has provoked the return of the legendary Ancient Ones to the political fray. USA Today and several outlets reported that Al Gore has been quietly exploring the possibility of running for president in 2016. Gore, Sanders, Biden and Hillary herself have a combined age of nearly 3 centuries. What infernal forces could have caused these gentlemen to abandon a comfortable retirement to enter the lists? By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth! Something must be up.