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Sarah Hoyt

Sarah Hoyt lives in Colorado with her husband, two sons and too many cats. She has published Darkship Thieves and 16 other novels, and over 100 short stories. Writing non-fiction is a new, daunting endeavor. For more on Sarah and samples of her writing, look around at Sarah A. Hoyt.com or check out her writing and life blog at According to Hoyt.com.
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You Can’t Just Vote Your Vagina

Friday, August 23rd, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

Susan Sarandon, backing public advocate Bill de Blassio for New York City mayor, arrives at an odd epiphany.

According to Breitbart.com, the actress said:

“As a woman, initially I was interested in Quinn,” Sarandon said at a fundraiser Sunday night, according to Politicker. “It became clear to me that, you know as a woman, you can’t just vote your vagina.”

Now they tell us!

Before the 2000 elections we were treated to this:

Lena Dunham encourages women to vote their vagina

And this:

But NOW suddenly there’s more to life than vaginas.

Ah, but worry not.  Unless Susan Sarandon finds someone to left of Hillary Clinton — say, Mao — to run, she’ll reliably remember to vote her vagina in 2016.

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Finding Out What Was in the Affordable Care Act!

Friday, August 23rd, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

The New York Times rubes self-identify:

 Farm labor contractors across California, the nation’s biggest agricultural engine, are increasingly nervous about a provision of the Affordable Care Act that will require hundreds of thousands of field workers to be covered by health insurance.

While the requirement was recently delayed until 2015, the contractors, who provide farmers with armies of field workers, say they are already preparing for the potential cost the law will add to their business, which typically operates on a slender profit margin.

“I’ve been to at least a dozen seminars on the Affordable Care Act since February,” said Chuck Herrin, owner of Sunrise Farm Labor, a contractor based here. “If you don’t take the right approach, you’re wiped out.”

The effects of the law could be profound. Insurance brokers and health providers familiar with California’s $43.5 billion agricultural industry estimate that meeting the law’s minimum health plan requirement will cost about $1 per hour per employee worked in the field.

Of course, there’s a good chance that if you take the right approach you’ll also be wiped out.  There is no getting around the fact this is one massively expensive bill, that will force us to spend more for worse service. But don’t let that distract you from the fact that we had to pass it in order to find out what was in it.

We’re finding out what is in it.  Can we stop it already?

The alternative is hiring a lot more of grey market workers and illegals.  If that’s not what the bill’s sponsors wanted they did it wrong.

And as for the NYT — fine time to wake up, and perhaps you should stop pretending there is some way to avoid the problems this bill brings.

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Two Newspapers in One! The Telegraph Gets Confused About Economics!

Thursday, August 15th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

This time from The Telegraph, for whom economics is not just a dismal science but apparently an inscrutable one.

First we have this column from today, Have the austerians* won the day, or will the pragmatists prevail?  [*Cute pun, guys.  Is that all you've got?] proclaiming the wrongness of all things based on Austrian economics as opposed to the “pragmatists”:

Ideology is never a good basis for public policy, a truism that Margaret Thatcher repeatedly recognised in her practical decision-making, despite her strongly held free-market beliefs. Yet it continues to be highly influential in the economic sphere – which is perhaps surprising, given the still-depressed state of most advanced economies, and the urgent need for solutions that actually work.

We can argue about what’s appropriate, but when economies become destabilised, state intervention is not just warranted, it’s absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, this remains an issue with which many on the Right still have something of a problem, as the debate now raging in the US about who should replace Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve demonstrates.

In a recent interview, Rand Paul, a potential Republican candidate for president, said that his preferred choice for chairman would be Friedrich Hayek. When it was pointed out that Hayek, the intellectual godfather of Thatcherite economics, was in fact dead, and therefore unavailable for the job, he opted for Milton Friedman, another of the 20th century’s leading free-market economists.

Note the reflexive bow to the safely dead conservative and the attack on the current “menace to be destroyed” including the implication that Rand Paul doesn’t know that Friedrich Hayek, author of The Road to Serfdom is dead.  Knowing Sen. Paul’s background, I’d bet he cut his teeth on that volume, possibly literally.  (What?  My son cut his teeth on The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire. He didn’t read The Road To Serfdom till middle school.)

Note also that article has more weasel words and undefined thresholds than a presidential speech.  Apparently when economies become destabilised (whatever that means, since no economy is ever static) we’re supposed to have “state intervention” whatever that might be as well (and never mind if the state destabilised the economy to begin with) and this absolutely necessary because…?  As my kids say when they don’t know how to justify something they want and know they lost: “Cheese.  Also lasers.”

We recommend that the Telegraph read the Telegraph of two days earlier, on the thirteenth on the subject of the limits of government intervention and also why it might not be a good idea.

Did QE2 Punish savers for nothing?

Impoverishing savers has been a price worth paying for rescuing the economy – so runs the official justification for the Bank of England’s money-printing programme.

But it turns out that the benefits of printing all that new money may have been negligible. According to a new study by two senior US economists, America’s second programme of quantitative easing, nicknamed “QE2″, boosted economic output by just 0.04pc.

Simply telling the markets that interest rates would remain low was more effective, adding 0.09pc to growth, said Vasco Curdia, senior economist at the San Francisco Federal Reserve, and Andrea Ferrero, his opposite number at the New York Fed.

And, of course, keeping the interest rates low mostly serves to inflate a Wall Street bubble, but never mind.

Apparently the idea that whether they want to consider economics a science economics IS a science and that their intervening according to their blinkered theories will have unintended consequences is beyond the grasp of The Telegraph reporters.  In that, they have a great deal in common with our current administration.

Carry on, you crazy theorists. As a wiser Brit put it:

When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,

As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,

The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Or you could watch the most awesome video ever made on economics:

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Israeli Drone Strike in Egypt

Saturday, August 10th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

TheTelegraph reports that Israel killed four suspected “militants” in drone strike in Egypt.

Although reports of Israeli drone use over Sinai have surfaced in the past, this is the first to come with official acknowledgement.

In a statement on its website, the jihadist Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group confirmed that its militants had been the target of the Friday strike. It listed the name of four fighters who had been killed. They are all identified as Sinai residents.

The group was targeted as they prepared to fire rockets into Israel, said the statement. They said that the mission’s leader had escaped.

Of course one is never sure what to trust when such “militants” report, though I find it amusing (in a dark way) that they report they were taken out “as they prepared to fire rockets into Israel” — something they obviously view as the lawful pursuit of their everyday business.

Security officials said that the attack had taken place with the consent of the Egyptian authorities, Reuters and the Associated Press reported. If true, this level of cooperation would be a departure from that experienced under the rule of President Mohamed Morsi, ousted during a military takeover last month.

I’m not sure who the “security officials” mentioned above are, or from which country. Of course Egyptian Army officers denied that the strike had Egyptian consent and also claimed they found only a charred body and a motorcycle.  As I said reports from this part of the world take someone with a good knowledge of Arabic and local tradition to decipher. The Telegraph further tells us that:

The strike is believed to be linked to ‘security concerns’ which prompted the Israeli authorities to close its southernmost airport, Eliat, for two hours on Thursday.

Because apparently just the firing of rockets into Israel isn’t reason enough for retaliation — except to sane people, of course, but there seems to be a remarkable lack of those among journalists and politicians working in the region.

 

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Darrell Issa is Winning the Internets!

Friday, August 9th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

Cats. Mustaches. ‘Merica. Need I say more?

According to the Washington Post, Representative Darrell Issa has learned to use the new media better than any other politician and is certainly making a splash.

 

Darrell Issa is winning the internets

Let’s start with Instagram because this is where Issa really shines. Every Friday, Issa posts a #FridayKitty, because as we all know, the Internet is a series of tubes, and running through those tubes are cats. Millions and billions and trillions of cats. Issa understands this–

Darrell Issa seems to understand that to make people listen to you on the internet you have to capture their interest and imagination through fun stuff.  Despite being — I think — fundamentally a serious person, he instagrams cat pictures on Friday and he instagrams funny pictures of moustaches on Thursday.

When asked why he’s on Instagram, Issa said, “Instagram was immediately one of those social networks we knew would pair perfectly with a Congress growing more visual and more mobile by the day. Focusing just on sharing photos is helping members pivot towards adding a more personal touch to posts that’s been missing from a lot of official social media.

“Instagram really lets my followers, in a digital sense, see what I’m seeing and that’s an opportunity that’s never existed before.”

In other words, he’s learned that he can, and should, circumvent the MSM to reach his constituents.  He’s reaching 40,000 of them on Facebook, and he’s also on Twitter, where he

…tweets throughout the day, and his new Twitter profile pic is that glorious mustache picture from Instagram. He retweets, he responds, he points out interesting factoids like “64 years ago today, the NBA was born.”

He is even on Reddit where he hosted an Ask Me About Anything — essentially a Reddit Townhall.

In a time where the Mainstream Media paints conservatives as out of touch and humorless, Issa is going to the people and contradicting the image — kitteh picture by kitteh picture.

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Alas, SFWA

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

I first heard of SFWA – Science Fiction Writers of America — when I started trying to sell stories.  This was about six months after getting married and moving to the States.  Being completely without contacts in the writing/publishing field, I sought to inform myself of what I needed to do.  This was, of course, in pre-history when we chiseled stories on marble and sent them in by ox cart.  Okay, not really – for those of you who are young enough to buy that – but it was pre-internet, so I couldn’t simply type in some variation of “What to do to become a professional science fiction writer” and have answers thrown back at me.

Instead I read magazines, found the Writer’s Market and might have sent questions to local newspaper columnists.  (I didn’t meet another writer till five years later. The ability to meet professionals and other people who want to be professionals in your avocation no matter how strange is a benefit of the internet.  One that can never be sufficiently lauded.)

Somewhere along the line someone told me that the way to learn to be a professional was to join SFWA.  So I sent a nice letter with a self addressed stamped envelope, asking what the dues were, and that they send me an application form.

What I got back was a letter informing me that unless I’d sold three short stories or a novel at professional rates, I could not join.  (More on this later.)

Needless to say, this became my first goal on the road to being a “professional.”  Ultimately I wanted to make a living from writing, but to begin with I wanted to do enough that the professional organization accepted me.

I managed it twelve years later, with my first novel barely edging out my third professional short story sale to help me qualify.  By then I knew that SFWA had been created with Robert A. Heinlein’s help, that it helped litigate on the side of writers if writers had reason to complain of publishers, that they had their own SFWA agent, and that they put together SFWA-member only anthologies.

As an incurable romantic, I joined immediately.  I put the SFWA card in my wallet, in case I ever needed to prove I was a professional.  (I might still have it in my wallet.)

Almost immediately I started getting a feeling this SFWA thing was not all it was cracked up to be.  Perhaps it was that the elections always reminded me of the “elections” for student bodies in high school when everyone promised ice-cream for lunch, something that was so far out of their power to deliver, it amounted to gibberish.  Perhaps it was the fact that those who got involved with “governing” SFWA usually lost their careers (and hair, and muscle tone.)  Perhaps it was that most of in fighting in SFWA seemed petty and/or insane.  Perhaps it was that the talk of having health insurance available to members, someday really soon, just kept dragging year after year.

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No Regrets, No Apologies

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

Stop the circular firing squad. I’m here to tell you it is not only crazy, it is counterproductive.

No, Mitt was not the man we wanted. Yes, he was shoved on us by the establishment. But he was the best candidate we could have this year, and he campaigned well. He campaigned like he wanted it. Unlike McCain, he deserves our thanks, and a place as speaker at future conventions.

Why did we lose then?

Let’s start with the media. You don’t have to take my word for it. Go look at videos of the conventions.  The Republicans’ reasonable convention, reasonable concentrating on the economy, made not a dent. But the Democrats abortionpalooza where we were told we belonged to the government, that became the great convention of the century.

The media kept the Republicans in a cone of silence, when they weren’t amplifying Obama’s attacks.

A science fiction editor posted on Facebook yesterday that we must make sure that we voted for Obama, or we’d be back in the fifties with segregation and without women’s rights.

How can they even believe that? What part of the Republican platform had anything to do with that?

And all of my libertarian friends who think the problem is that Romney didn’t say he was okay with contraception and abortion — since when was contraception and abortion part of the campaign?  The Republicans campaigned on the economy.  Contraception and abortion were the media’s theme, introduced in the Republican primary. It was never in doubt that it wouldn’t be outlawed — a president can’t do that.

And yet even our side thinks that’s what it was about, and tears into each other over it.

And the socons can stop whining, too, that if we’d only had a true conservative … I will tell you right now, I’d have voted for Santorum only because I’d have voted for Satan himself against Obama. I can’t imagine a worse combination than someone who wants to regulate both my private life and my economic life. And I’m a conservative and I am, for the record, pro-life (I am an abortion survivor and wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been botched. You want to fight over it, libertarians, go right ahead. I’m fairly sure I’m a person even if mom would have preferred I weren’t alive — and had actual good reasons for it having to do with her health.) and very iffy on contraception due to my distrust of all unneeded chemical tampering with the body.

A “true conservative” candidate would not have a snowball’s chance in hell. Reagan, even, wasn’t that. No. I was alive then.  Go look it up. He was conservative where it counted, which was fixing our economy and defeating the USSR. That’s it.

So, why did Mitt lose? How? The media. It’s hard for us to believe but our neighbors still believe it. Our neighbors know nothing about Benghazi. They’ve bought the cooked job numbers. They actually think things are getting better. I heard it over and over this morning from my college-educated friends: “Oh, good, now we can have a chance to get better.”

Yes, they deserve what they get, for their blindness, their willful ignorance.

But it’s not all their fault. It is ours too. We’ve hid in the political closet. We’ve eschewed politics in polite company. We’ve become what gays used to be: a minority that’s safe to ridicule. At that, I’m not even sure we’re a minority. I think the people who believe in the Constitution are still a majority in this country. It’s just that they’re not “racist, homophobic, religious bigots, uninformed, stupid, misogynistic.” Neither are you, you say?

Neither am I. I just believe in small government. But the media portrays us as all of those things — and so people never look at our true principles.

We’re horrible, uncaring people. We hate everyone. We’re stupid too. We’re something out of a comedic routine.

And we let it go on.

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All You Need Is Love

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

I’m not Lena Dunham.  I’m not going to tell you my first time was amazing, or compare casting a ballot to making love.

But I’m going to tell you to vote for love.

Let me explain – there is a meme that we’re in a cold civil war.  So far I agree.  I just don’t agree with the definitions of the sides.  PJ O’Rourke once defined the sides as people with too many guns against people with too many cats.

This leaves me, as usual, in the middle.  I am religious, but not evangelical (note I am not saying I am “spiritual” – I am traditionally religious).  I am a first generation immigrant from a country the feds consider “Latin.”  I am economically conservative, and I have a rather rigid definition of my OWN morality, but I am a science fiction author, which means I am friends with people in same-sex relationships, in group relationships and in “yes.” I do kitten rescue and volunteer, I am an inveterate mentor, but I would rather have glass shoved into my eyes than work for something like “America corps” or have mandatory volunteerism instituted.  I try to eat right, but not what the government thinks I should eat.  I dress I think attractively, but I am a writer.  I can get a little… “different.”  I live in a neighborhood where I can walk a bunch of places, but I drive an SUV.  Then there’s the guns and cats.  Yes both.  There is no law against it.

Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion our American Cold Civil War hinges on just one thing: Love of the US – as instituted, according to our constitutional principles.

I have friends who are married heterosexuals, in the suburbs, who think America is a villain and should be brought low.  I have friends who are gay, or Buddhist, or seventh day vegetarian pagans but who love this country with every breath in their bodies.  Many of them are veterans and bled for this country.  Many of them realize too that our system is the best protection for odd ball minorities.

That dividing line in the cold civil war runs through love of the constitution, love of this country as the founders intended, not as some communitarian mirage.

Those who want the communitarian mirage hate us as we are and want us brought low.

Unfortunately those are the people in power now.  The people who believe if we become poorer the rest of the world gets richer.  This is a ridiculous and pernicious fantasy.  It never was.  It will never be.

If they succeed in their aim, the world will be a horrible, unsafe, poor place.

But they don’t know that, and they will try to apologize abroad, to let terrorists have their way.  They will bankrupt us and bring down our standard of living.  They think they’re doing what’s best for the world.

Forget the world.  Do what is best for us, and the world will follow.  I know in Portugal when America was in trouble, we suffered.

So this election – in the next day and a half, if you’re on the side that loves America, I want you to wrest the controls from the people who hate America, from those who are trying to bring us low to benefit the world.

I want you to go vote for Mitt.  He has other reasons to recommend him: he knows business, he might be able to turn us round.  We know Obama won’t.  He’ll just pile on the debt.

But the important thing about Mitt is that he’s on our side.  He loves our country.

Go out and vote for him.  Do it for me.  Do it for you.  Do it for our side in the cold civil war.

But most of all, do it for love.  For love of our country, our constitution, our founding fathers.

 

 

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Four Futures

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

Crystal ball gazing from my friend Bill Reader.

FOUR FUTURES
BY BILL READER

 

Election day is just two days away from me as I write this article. I think now is a good time to understand where we are and where we’re going. Or it would be, anyway.

Except frankly, no one seems completely certain where anyone is right now. Romney’s drawing huge crowds of broken-glass voters, including yours truly. Obama’s crowds are anemic and, though often over-reported, still don’t measure up. So we know enthusiasm is down on the Left, but we don’t know how far down. We’re doing well on the early voting, last I checked, and that’s good. And some analysts say the broken-glass voters aren’t even the people the Romney campaign is turning out to vote early, which is excellent. But early voting gives the Democrats lead time to judge magnitude. We never found out, before it died and spawned an evil hoard of sub-organizations differing only in name, just how many electoral votes ACORN diverted through fraud. Even if we did know precisely, we’d be uncertain whether it was their full capacity or just what they thought necessary. Were fraud not in play, I would judge Romney’s win a near-certainty. But who knows how many votes they’ll manufacture, how many Democrats will vote twice after registering in two states, or what they’ll do with the military votes (and that list of potential fraud is not exhaustive). But then again, they don’t have any hard numbers to go off of. Polling this year has been all over the place, and response rates so low that some people are concluding the whole process is flawed.

As to where we’re going, well, that’s uncertainty squared. I don’t know location, speed or direction precisely, so how could we? But we know that a future of some kind must exist, so I propose a simple solution… let’s just talk about all the major possibilities. The way I see it, there are four significantly different ways this election could go. Listed worst to best, they are: Obama wins by a wide margin, Obama wins by a slim margin, Romney wins by a slim margin, Romney wins by a wide margin. Let’s talk a little bit about what each of these means.

We’ll deal first with the idea of Obama winning by a large margin. Let me start with a disclaimer… I do not consider this to be very likely. I think he blew any vestigial shot at that in the first debate. Considering the pounding that people have taken in Obama’s economy, I think it was shaky before. That said, there are two distantly possible ways Obama could manage this even with the enthusiasm in his base being somewhere between Tolstoy readers and Nyquil users. One is if too large a number of voters turn to a 3rd party candidate.

I don’t know fully how much of a danger there is in this. Some 3rd party candidates will pull from the right, and the independents. But then, the Green party is also a 3rd party, and it looks like they’re pulling from the left. It’s all about the proportion and the placement. I’d do the customary begging for the people vying for a 3rd party on our side to change their minds, but at this point I think such arguments more or less assume their votes won’t be significant. They’re entrenched beyond the enlightenment we can provide in two days. If we are concerned with convincing others rather than simply standing in the way of the destruction of the US after those two days, it’s only because they failed to throw the vote. The one thing I’ll say is that, while I’m not necessarily happy about all of Romney’s decisions as governor, anyone who is genuinely surprised at a person “governing like a liberal” in the state of freaking Massachusetts needs remedial classes in what “representative government” means. As a small-L libertarian myself, I recognize Romney as the last hope we’ve got to turn this around, warts and all, and if I had no other reason, that alone would have given him my vote. I can’t imagine not being able to see him as, at minimum, the lesser of two evils.

The other possibility is, as mentioned earlier, fraud. Supposing that the ability of the Democrats to cheat has grown significantly since 2008, itself a banner year, there’s a world where Banana-Republic levels of fraud have set in and no possible legitimate vote would save us. I don’t think we’re there yet, but as Bill Whittle points out, if they win this one, that level of corruption may be here by 2016.

I’ll give you a flying tour of the results of this world. Our credit rating would be toast. Deficits would likely grow to such a monstrous degree that hopes of paying them off would be relegated to history books. Add to which that an increasingly insolvent Europe, and a China fraught by rising financial problems (mark my words) would be forced to call home our debt in order to turn some of their theoretical holdings into actual cash. If we could pay at all, it would be with printed money. Speaking of printed money, money printing would probably not just persist, but grow. The latest quantitative easing being open-ended is a small taster. History has shown that the floodgates really open not far down this road. ObamaCare would stay, causing myriad problems… the big three are that health care costs would rise (as they have already begun to) due to the regulatory burden imposed by the bill, most if not all private insurance would either be pushed out of business because of the bill’s stipulation that they cannot do sufficient risk minimization to stay solvent, or else the companies would be subsidized by Uncle Sam a la subprime mortgages and with the same inevitable long term effects on our budget, and the population of doctors would shrink enormously in the face of the additional financial and personal burdens the legislation places on them. A nuclear Iran would become not just a possibility but a certainty. Expect more embassy attacks, and in fact, more attacks on Americans in general. Maintaining a “secure” position in the world would mean committing more and more assets overseas, and Obama’s scaling-down of the military would mean those assets wouldn’t be there to commit. And with legislation to amend the first amendment, and other legislation to tax items sold on the internet, both coming down the pike (not to mention existent legislation that allows incarceration of American citizens without cause), well, all of that is just the start. Pray they diverted most of their cheating to Obama in this world, because we’d need a congress to stop those laws. Stop them, that is, until Obama used executive orders to pass them.

If Obama won by a small margin, all of the above could still happen, of course. And make no mistake, the two factors that might tip the election mentioned above put this option distinctly in play… I’d rate it the second or third-most-likely outcome. But in this world we are marginally better off, if for no other reason than that Obama clearly has no mandate. This gives us in the opposition a slight advantage, though the next four years would be a major uphill and probably losing fight. The most major differences are short-term.

A squeaker for Obama has the potential to throw us into recounts, and if Romney holds out and is able to substantiate enough of the fraud, we might have a slim chance. But any hope of election night being the be-all-and-end-all would be dashed by weeks, maybe months of argument. The point I want to make is that this world doesn’t leave us utterly doomed, and you still have every reason to fight like your life depends on it, here. The United States would be standing on the bleeding edge of the abyss, though.

What about a squeaker for Romney? Well, we’ll still find ourselves fighting, but from a somewhat better position. I’m leaning towards this possibility now, I’m afraid. Obama would drag out the process just as we’d hope Romney would, but with a significant difference. As with Al Gore, the fraud machines would keep spinning during the recounts, with new Obama votes being found, by the box, in car trunks, and airplanes, and people’s basements, and lord knows where else. The hope would be that we could win by a sufficiency that the recounts didn’t matter.

Romney would still find his hands a little bit tied if he could stay in. With his mandate being somewhat fuzzy, he’d really have his work cut out for him trying to get this nation on the road to solvency. There would be unending dirty legislative tricks by the Democrats, of exactly the kind pulled to pass Obamacare. That said, if we kept a Republican majority of the House and moved into power in the Senate, we could get things done. But we’d be on notice: the specter of socialism would be hanging over our shoulder the entire time, and it would be up to Romney to create an economy capable of convincing the undecided voters. It would not be easy. The press will admit that homelessness, deficits, and a weak economy exist the day a president Romney takes office. Without a 2010 scale shellacking to put the lie to their stupidity, the accepted spin will be that an economy that is entirely Obama’s fault is due to the election of Romney. The exception would be if an eventual Romney win caused the stock market to soar, in which case they would say that it’s Obama’s policies finally paying off (and no, I’m not the first to observe that). Of course, that would be tricky. Regardless, the liberal end of the DNC would dig up another socialist for the next election (or possibly, *shudder*, the same socialist, with a shot at a second discontinuous term).

I say this not to frighten but to encourage. It should be understood that we have a vicious fight ahead of us if the above two scenarios occur. A candidate Romney who is on the knife’s edge of victory, or a president Romney on the knife’s edge of defeat, will need your support. If the worst should happen, the temptation, I know, will be strong to simply pack and leave. I ask you, personally, and with heartfelt sincerity, to reconsider. We have already, in America, the best people remaining in the whole world to fight on behalf of freedom. It is better, if not for ourselves, then for the future of America, if we stay. What we should do precisely if Obama wins, I will save for a post I hope I never have to write. There is a plan, though it will not be the only one, nor is to be preferred.

What  of the last world? There’s a world where Romney wins by a wide margin, which I’d say is about as likely as Obama winning by a slim margin. That world is a little different. Let us not kid ourselves… at his best, Romney was never going to be a savior to the masses, nor should freedom-loving Americans wish him to be. But in a world like this, he might be able to do enough. The media will still spin against him, of course, but the way they did in 2010. It’s hard to spin to an empty crowd. It will also almost certainly kill Obama’s further political considerations stone dead. The Democrats will be extremely unlikely to reappoint someone who got his party shellacked in the midterms and then got himself shellacked in the presidential election. Not having to worry about Obama coming back would lead to an enormous collective sigh of relief in the United States just by itself. It will also give Romney a little leverage on opponents across the aisle. Democrat congress critters, like almost all congress critters, love their positions and merely like their beliefs… a favorable trait on a side that has highly questionable beliefs. If it looks to them like making Romney’s life difficult is a good way to lose their seats, they might be more flexible in their beliefs. That would provide some real help in getting some stuff done, like, for example, passing an actual budget for a change.

Don’t hold your breath for this world. It’s nice, it’s not out of the running, but the possibility that someone will suddenly need to give you pie probably doesn’t rate a place in your emergency kit, if you catch my meaning. It’s the bad futures we need to be ready for. And if you want any chance of the best of all possible futures, it’s your responsibility to go out and vote, and bring all your conservative friends to vote too. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The crux of four different paths, all leading us to different lives and, in most cases, towards many coming challenges on the road to getting America back on track. Here and now is where we test what we’re made of.

And perhaps there will be, in the end, no choice but to walk a relatively hard road to what we’ve always known as civilians. Freedom has been so long renewed by the blood of patriots that if we intend to renew it now by nothing more than sweat and tears, we are going to have to really pony up. But whichever road we take on Tuesday, remember as we follow it that you are always and indelibly an American, born into freedom and charged with doing what it takes to keep that light lit. Win or lose, small or big, do not let the future discourage you, nor let it lull you to sleep. Not now, when our biggest work ever is upon us. We need you. Determine now to make of the election everything you can, and face the aftermath plainly, in its greatest joy or deepest sorrow, and I guarantee you that no matter what happens, we will find a way to make it through this thing to brighter times. As someone… I think the famous Bill Whittle… once said: Americans are from the future.

And I don’t know about you, but I say it’s time we finally go home.

 

 

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Get Out and Vote

Monday, November 5th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

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Hi.  I’m Sarah A. Hoyt.  Pretend I’m bothering you from a call center.  Which call center?  Ah, well, you may ask since my beliefs lean libertarian, it could be either one, couldn’t it?

Or not.

In case you detect the very slightest hint of an accent…  I am an American by choice, having been born and raised in Portugal.  I chose the US as the place to live in and to raise my children in.

Over the last four years, I’ve been wondering if I’ve done the right thing.  I’ve seen the United States slip down the same path Europe has taken: a path where all your needs are met by the government and you exist as a subject of the government, and not its master.

This is not the country I want for my children.  You see, even if we weren’t going broke even faster than Europe, because unlike Europe we don’t have the United States to finance us, it would still be wrong.  If you’re a subject, you do what you’re told.  I want a nation in which my children are individuals, not units in the government’s head count.

If there were a country still holding fast to the principles of individual liberty that made this country great, I’d move there.  But there isn’t.  So my only choice is to fight for this country.  Those who want socialism and government intervention have many choices.  I have nowhere to go.

So I’m asking you to vote for Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney wasn’t my first choice.  He wasn’t even my second choice.  He’s still too reliant on the state for my taste.  But with all that he has several things to recommend him.

One is his love of America.  He won’t project weakness abroad by apologizing for our actions.  The other is that he’s not as reliant on the state as the present president.  The other yet, is that he recognizes we can’t keep piling on the debt.

Mitt Romney is not our savior.  This is good.  We’ll need to stay alert and keep an eye on him.  We are a sovereign people.  We’re supposed to be the boss.

But he is a step in the right direction.  Mitt will make the state a little smaller, the individual a little bigger.  And then we pick a guy to continue the work.  My grandchildren might yet live in a free country.

So, let’s start this turnaround.  Go out and volunteer.  And tomorrow vote.

 

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Election Time Games For The Whole Family

Saturday, October 20th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but living in Colorado, we are subjected to calls from the Obama campaign every day.  Multiple calls.  At dinner time.

Yep, you read that right.  The Obama Campaign.  We had a single call from the Romney campaign early on, and we told them “everyone who can vote in this house is voting Romney, and the one who can’t vote is going to help with telephones.  Don’t waste time calling us.”  Miraculously – they haven’t.  (Miraculously because the McCain campaign called us at home while we were manning phones.)

The Obama campaign, however, has no such scruples.  It keeps calling.  It keeps calling despite the fact that its phone operators are too strange to pronounce our names properly (they’re not creative names in any way.)  It keeps calling despite the fact that, at times, its operators don’t seem to know why they called and stutter more than Obama without a teleprompter.  It keeps calling despite the fact that I told them I’d crawl uphill in snow both ways, through broken glass to vote Obama out of office.  And then I started telling them … cruder things, including my favorite curse, in Portuguese “inde la pro mar coalhado, onde nao cante galinha nem galo, onde nao haja pao nem vinho nem carne de toucinho”  (Roughly: may you go to where the sea is congealed, where neither hen nor rooster crows, where there is neither bread nor wine nor bacon-meat. [Hey, it was what the village madwoman used to scream at us kids].)

They still call.  They’re like the McCain campaign on steroids and on denial.  Also, possibly, on mescaline.

So it’s become a game to see which of us can give them the oddest answer.  Possibly my favorite is “Attack Latinas For Romney!  How may we help bring down Obama?”  (Sometimes in Portuguese.)

The guys have others.  “Geeks for Romney.  May the Force be With Us.”

Tonight my husband tried the double reverse gotcha “Smart people for Obama.  Psyche!  There aren’t any!”

The goal of the game is to see what makes them hang up the quickest.  A “loss” at this game is when the befuddled, under-educated, occasionally non-English-fluent youngster on the other side STILL tries to make the sale.

It’s fun for the whole family and in my family (hey, we even play cut-throat Scrabble!) it’s become a competition sport with scores kept.  So far younger kid is way ahead.  Once he tried to sell the Obama caller a penguin.

It is our duty to demoralize Obama phone workers, no matter how much we hate to be rude to strangers.  It is our duty to put them on notice they are no longer the cool kids.

What are your suggested lines?  Family friendly, please.  (I’ve tried the others.  They don’t seem to work.)

Remember, ideally they should be punchy and funny while being unequivocal enough they get you a hang up.

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Big Brother Reads Minority Report

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

While our friends on the left celebrate the fact that their president showed more life than the dead parrot in the Monty Python sketch, and convince themselves they won, someone needs to tell them any time – any time – they let Obama talk in public without a teleprompter, he lets ideology leak out.  And that their ideology is scary to those of us in the real world.

This is much worse, of course, when the press cooperate to enable him.  I wonder when they will realize this is counterproductive.

Martha Raddatz would have done the vice president a much greater service if, instead of covering for him, preventing Ryan from finishing his answers, and generally acting like his paid media agent, she’d told Biden, “Sir, are you feeling quite well?”  Or “I’m sure you didn’t mean to laugh out of turn.” Or just prevented him from interrupting Ryan once a minute.

And the inappropriately named Candy Crowley would have done the president a much greater service if she’d not forcibly inserted herself into the debate, generally giving the impression our weak-kneed commander in chief needs to hide behind a woman’s skirt.  All the same, at least one of her insertions might have saved his bacon. By lying while backing him up, she made that the story of the evening and called attention away from Obama’s outright lies and bizarre assertions, which — in other circumstances — would have been the center of the debate post-mortem.

I want to bring up at least two of those because they deserve not to be forgotten. One of them because it’s such an astonishingly brazen lie that you’d think even a politician would be afraid to say it; the second because it is, in and of itself, a terrifying pronouncement, which leads me to believe the left reads dystopian science fiction and thinks it’s a society owner’s manual.

The first one is Obama’s implication that the reason gas is so expensive at the pump is that the economy is doing well, or at least recovering.

“Well, think about what the governor — think about what the governor just said. He said when I took office, the price of gasoline was $1.80, $1.86. Why is that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse, because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression, as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney’s now promoting.”

To begin with, this is a crazy moment of “who are you going to believe? Us or your lying eyes?” Like the repeated Summers of Recovery which even the Wall Street Journal was touting at one point, this only makes the citizenry locked in the worst “recovery” in the history of the U.S. feel like not only does the Obama administration not care we’re suffering, but they think we’re stupid.

Second, I guess all of us must have forgotten the late eighties, because, gee golly, I swear gas was really cheap and the economy was going like gangbusters.

The worst part of this?  I think Obama truly believes the economy is recovering, just like his wife believes it is booming.  They are both the product of exquisite indoctrination. They don’t understand how the policies they’ve been TOLD would work can NOT be working.  So, they must be working – they must!

They also don’t seem to understand gas is used for more than pleasure jaunts.  Possibly because it’s not used for anything else in their singularly sheltered lives.  Which means they don’t understand the chilling effect of the cost of gas on the production and transport of … everything.  They wanted gas prices to “skyrocket” to discourage consumption, but they didn’t see (probably still don’t) that this meant skyrocketing food costs and … everything costs.

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Presidents In The Mirror Are Less Impressive Than They Appear

Thursday, October 4th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

This morning I called my family in Portugal, to take care of some little family matters.  Those were disposed of as quickly as it’s possible for a sleep-fogged author and two cross-talking parents to dispose of.

But the thing they really wanted to talk about, what they wanted to hear from me was what I thought Romney’s chances in the election were now that Obama had defeated him in the first debate.

Yes, you actually read that correctly.  Go up and read it again.

Apparently, according to the Portuguese Media, Obama was the better-prepared debater and Romney was clearly shown to be lacking.  The “Right Wing” media over there have stuck out their neck so far as to say it might have been a draw.

I know, I know.  You’re now wondering if my parents live in an alternate universe.  So did I.

My mother, who is the one closest to me politically, thought my denial of those reports was wishful thinking, and is still not convinced that Romney can overcome his poor performance… last night.

While making breakfast for the kids, I think I came to understand, if not the reports the mechanism behind them.

You see, my parents, like maybe 50% of Portuguese (and 99% of older Portuguese), don’t understand English.  The other 50% often have trouble with colloquial – and particularly American – English.

Even most of the media doing the reporting there will miss nuances.  And yes, body language is different, too.

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How To Fight a Rearguard Action

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

I’m writing this in the morning of the 3rd, well before the debates.

There are several things I can tell you about the debate though:

Unless Barack Obama actually falls asleep while speaking, or eats a live puppy on stage (and even then, I’m not sure), the media will declare him the best, most presidential president ever, the brightest man in the room and the most informed economist of our times.

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, will be uninformed, lying, plutocratic, uncaring, and – oh, of course – RACIIIIIIIIST.

G-d forbid that Mitt says anything of substance, because it will be declared full of dog whistles and nasty stuff.  Worse, if he says anything conservative.  And if he says anything mildly reproaching – let alone goes on the attack – because then he’ll be a “desperate candidate, filled with hatred.”  And, of course (but you knew that), racist.

Benghazi will be off the table as even a mention, and if Romney dares bring it up there will be an outcry about “attacking a president during a war” and how he’s undermining the investigations and how it is a “gaffe.”

So – why is Romney putting himself through this, with an hostile MSM?  Because he has to.  If he wins, this might be the last time he has to do this, but right now he has no choice.  The media has a tight cone of silence around him.  Nothing he does is reported unless it’s perceived to be a gaffe.  This is his only chance to show himself to the nation.  So, even with the game weighted against him, he has to take it.  And Obama would not agree to a debate moderated by anyone not in his pocket.

So… what can you do?  The media is stacked against us, and the narrative that Romney gaffed/lied/lost is ALREADY being written.

What can we do?

Plenty.

First: DO NOT PANIC.

The media is engaging in these shenanigans for two reasons and two reasons only:

1-      To energize the base

2-      To discourage and divide conservatives.

You can’t do much DIRECTLY about #1.  You can do something indirectly.  More on that later.  However, you can do a lot about #2.

1.Don’t fall for it.  Don’t buy the narrative.  Understand that Romney will be cut off mid-sentence.  Understand he can’t attack, on pain of being demonized.  Understand that, unlike Ronald Reagan, he’s not a trained actor, so the diffusing quip might fail him.  He’s been a gallant campaigner and made few enough gaffes that the MSM is desperate for something to spin.  So don’t fall for it.  When they say he gaffed, take to Twitter, email, Facebook and all conservative sites, and engage in battle.  Refuse to be deflected or divided or to attack other conservatives.

2. Don’t concede.  You must at all costs avoid the words “they’re right, but…”  They’re not right and conceding a bit won’t make them see your reasonableness.  You’re only giving up ground unnecessarily.

3. Refuse to be discouraged.  Refuse to shut up.  If they make fun of you, keep coming at them.  And always, always, hammer the media bias and their inadequacy.  The people who are busily burying the bodies of our Benghazi dead in a mountain of spin have no platform.  None.  They have no decency, no moral high ground.  Don’t give them any.

And then take the fight to the enemy.  Refuse to accept their narrative that Obama is the perfect man without flaw.  Mock him.  Make fun of him.

1. I know this is a tactic few of us have used.  Back in childhood, most of us were conscientious workers, not playground bullies.  However, remember this: no punch is too high, no punch is too low.  Leave his wife out of this, if you want to (though she’s a co-political operative, frankly), but do not cut Obama any slack.  Mock his mannerisms, his overweening self-regard.  Fact-check his ass.  Post his lies, his misconceptions, and the blatant Marxism that informs his every attempt at thinking.  (I maintain he’s so indoctrinated he can’t think.)  Think along the lines of “nose so high in the air he must have been hit by one too many golf balls.”  Think along the lines of “#facultyloungemarxism.”  Think along the lines of “recycled seventies pap.”

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Don’t Make Me Come Back There

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

I will start with the standard disclaimer that Mitt wasn’t my horse in the primary race.  Not that I was invested very much in any of them. However, Mitt is all we have now.

And my decision to vote for him is simple: he doesn’t hate America.  If you think that Obama doesn’t, you haven’t been awake the last four years.

I think if we stay awake and vigilant and pour TEA into his boots, Mitt still won’t fix everything financially, but he might put us in the road to solvency and he might very well end up being one of our great presidents.

He already is one of our great campaigners.

What?  Gaffes?  Too quiet?  What?

Are all of you completely stupid or do you relish echoing the leftist media?

Yeah, I’ve been reading you around the net, and I keep scratching my head and wondering what world you’re living in.

Let me put it to you in the absolutely clearest way I can: Mitt Romney is running the best campaign anyone could run under the circumstances.

The circumstances are as follows: the media will not report anything he does unless they think it can be used against him.  They’re not in fact reporters, they are, pace Professor Reynolds “Democratic Operatives With Bylines.”

Hence, though Romney and Ryan are crisscrossing the nation, meeting with real citizens, you never hear about it.  The media breathlessly cover Obama’s appearances and no it’s not because he’s president.  They did the same thing in 08.  But Romney and Ryan move in a cone of silence.  The only time that cone of silence is broken is when the media thinks Romney has made a gaffe.  And the fact that most of those are made up tells you he’s an excellent campaigner.

If you haven’t figured out yet that the same media that would publicize a recording taped at a private function because they thought it hurt Mitt, MUST have ringers in every Romney/Ryan crowd taking recordings and MUST have reporters sifting through those to find something “incriminating” then you aren’t thinking.

The fact that with all that they’ve assembled a weak brew of “43%” (which they had to take out of context to make it seem damning) “Libya statement” (which is only a gaffe if you believe that the opposition can never criticize the administration, which must be a new standard for conservatives only) “Windows of airplane don’t open” (an obvious joke and told as such) and “he had them shout Romney/Ryan when they were shouting Ryan” (a captioned video taken from a lefty blogger’s site and disproven by other recordings of the occasion [see Ace of Spades.] the crowd was in fact screaming Romney and Romney – graciously – tried to get them to shout Romney/Ryan.) shows you what a magnificent campaigner Romney is.

He knows given half a chance, the media will demonize him, make him sound like a madman or otherwise make him politically toxic.  And he has given them ALMOST nothing.  Certainly not enough to give him or Ryan the Palin treatment.

So all of you out there suggesting he get angry or he go on the attack – trust the man.  He might seem like he’s silent, but you know, he’s been visiting CO and the number of signs on lawns and the number of bumperstickers is growing.  I never even saw one of McCain in my neighborhood in 08.  (We’d have put one up the last week, but the campaign was out of signs.)  Now the number of Romney signs is probably a little higher than the one of Obama signs.  (Neither are very high, mind.)

And meanwhile the media has nothing to spin, to demonize Romney enough that it will wake up the Dems and get them to the polls.  The fact that they’re targeting women (and telling them to vote like their ladyparts depend on it!  Do we have a ringer in the Obama campaign?  Professor Reynolds, what have you wrought?) with the same old abortion pap means that whatever the – extremely flawed and low-response – polls say, Obama is still trying to secure a base that should have been secure.  Which means the race is very, very close or Mitt is ahead.  (Shameful that in a country with a seeming free press, we should have to read tea leaves.)

And the fact they’re resorting to accusations that Romney has never hugged his garbage-man (Have you hugged your garbage collector today?) means they’re reaching and they’re desperate for anything that will allow them to control the narrative.

Don’t let them control the narrative.

Your job is not to jog the man’s elbow.  Remember that after the debate, when the media will do their best to spin it as Romney saying crazy stuff, while Obama is a rock of sanity NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS.

There is no way Romney could behave, there is nothing he could say that would convince the media to declare him the winner, and if you accept the media narrative, you’ll only be conceding defeat.  Roger L. Simon’s article about the media coup d’etat was right.  But he didn’t tell it all.  Before the regime is solidified, there is something ordinary citizens can do.  There is civil disobedience.  I will write more about this in another article today – for now, for NOW I just want you to remember this: Mitt is an amazing campaigner and you will NOT jog his elbow.

 

Because the media is what it is, you’re not getting a true picture of his efforts.  All you’re getting is what the media wants you to see.  Which means you’re trying to back-seat-drive a campaign on insufficient and flawed information.

 

The only time I almost had a fatal crash was when I was driving in a snow storm, at night, with both of my kids – 7 and 3 – in the backseat, and they kept shouting what I should do “go faster,” “go slower”  “watch for that car.”  In those conditions, I needed my whole concentration and their – mostly irrelevant – questions, comments and suggestions made me lose that, so that I almost slid off the mountain road.

When I got the car under control, I stopped and told them, “Not one more peep from you.  Don’t make me come back there.”

I’m now telling all of you “Don’t make me come back there.” (Peep all you want to, but take the war to the other side instead of your own.)

The circular firing squad I’ve been reading at conservative sites “he’s not trying” and “he’s not attacking” and “Reagan was better” (arguably true, but Reagan was an actor and knew how hot to work the camera even in hostile hands) and “I’m going to take my vote and go home” is EXACTLY what the left wants.

If you want to solidify the Media Coup D’Etat, carry on.

If not, shut up and trust the man driving the campaign.

 

 

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Down Here In The Trenches

Monday, September 17th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

I’m not second guessing Governor Romney’s campaign strategy, nor am I about to believe the ridiculously skewed polls.

While I’m not a numbers person and will leave that for someone better, I do understand that when the polls have something like +13 Democrats, in a year when Republicans are at least even in registrations and in some places ahead, and yet Obama manages only a +5 lead, it’s not the Romney campaign that is in trouble, and it is not they who need to regroup. (If the Main Stream Media has trouble understanding this concept, I shall find a bright kindergartner to explain it to them. Perhaps they’re not as corrupt as we thought! Perhaps they’re just a sadly innumerate product of our public school system. Oh, who am I kidding, they’re innumerate AND corrupt, and they drink their own ink.)

I’m not the only one to notice the discrepancy. People here and there have said the same, and over the weekend I came across a would-be moderate post (I can’t remember where, as I was teaching a writing workshop during the day, which saps my brain power) insisting that the media was right to use +8 Democrats in polls because “this is not 2010” and this time – they say in defiance of registrations, in defiance of the fact that we’ve all noticed Obama’s abysmal incompetence and that even college students aren’t that enthusiastic about him this time – the turnout will be JUST like 08.

Have I mentioned that our media – and their pollsters – tend to drink their own ink and believe their own stories?

Dang SKIPPY this is not 2010. We’re much angrier now. At least I am.

One indication of this is that while Obama and his campaign keep working to shore up their base, Governor Romney seems to be trying to appeal to the middle. He’s fairly sure his base is secure.

And perhaps we are – though the number of you whining how you’d rather have a different candidate (as though there was any other option but to go to the ball in the cutoffs you’ve got on) could give anyone a doubt or two – but I’d like to make a small appeal:

When even Instapundit says he hasn’t seen any Romney commercials; when I start feeling as if Governor Romney disappeared after the usual idiots pulled long knives on him the wake of his comments after the second 9/11; when the media is determined to have a blackout around the R/R campaign… You must throw some crumbs to the soldiers in the trenches.

In the unlikely event Governor Romney really believes that his comments were a mistake, let me tell him they weren’t. That day in America one leader acted presidential, and it wasn’t the one living in the White House. Without Governor Romney’s comments I would be feeling as I did before I attended my first Tea Party: as though neither side listened to me. If he had truly shot without aiming, he would simply be a Zen Archer.

I realize there’s October ahead, and who knows what other horrible events wait us. I realize money must be husbanded. But out here in the trenches, we are slogging on in the fog of war, and we have nothing to cheer us up. If you can manage it – of if representative Ryan can manage it — a speech like the one at the end of the Independence Day movie would be about what we need right now.

But if not, give us an empty chair day. Give us something to rally around. Give us something to laugh about.

As someone or other said, a good tactic is one your people enjoy.

Last week was one of humiliation and defeat for our country, a week in which all sane Americans had to contemplate the possibility the people who are supposed – above all – to protect us and defend the Constitution are almost certainly against us in fact and spirit.

Something we enjoy and which cheers us up would be very welcome about now.

And then we few, we happy few, we band of Americans, shall forge on in the darkness and the media induced fog. Because we must.

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Spreading Fear And Despondency

Sunday, September 9th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

Recently I’ve been reading the anti-Obama blogsphere, and yesterday it finally got to me.

I have only one question to ask – are you insane?

No, let me add a few other questions: Have you gone completely out of your minds?  Do you want to lose?  And do you understand fully what a loss would mean?

I hate to say it but I think the answers are yes, yes, yes and no.

I don’t like yelling at people on the right.  Like Reagan, I hold on to the idea that there are no enemies on the right.  I prefer to make my points in nicer ways.  However, there comes a time any good housewife reaches for the broom.  It is now time for the broom.

Yesterday at various blogs I read over and over again that the Dem convention gave Obama a big bounce, that he’s winning, that his approval is now over 50%, that their enthusiasm is as high as that of the Republican crowd, that–

And then you look at the polls that caused this “sky is falling” fit.  What are those polls?  Those polls are, in fact, the same old sh*te.  They poll all adults, which you KNOW skews Democrat.  They poll registered voters, which you know skews Democrat.  They poll with a skew of 4% Democrats over Republicans as though this were still 2008, as if 2010 had never happened.

Then all the people on the right echo these as though they were legitimate and say “oh, but the polls were correct before.”

Really?  The polls were correct before?  When?  The very last polls before the elections, when pollsters try to salvage their reputation?  Sometimes.  More or less.  Kind of.  But up till then when something can be got from the propaganda and from seeding despondency on the right, the polls have been insanely skewed.

Beyond all that, 2008 and before was a different game.  The unemployment statistics used to be more or less correct, too, and, oh, yeah, the Justice Department didn’t used to sue pollsters.  Neither of those is true anymore.

But, you’ll say “that’s too much like a conspiracy theory” – I’m no fonder of conspiracy theories than you are, and I refuse to believe that someone has (for instance) been keeping secrets for centuries.  However, unless you are going to deny that Journolist ever existed, that respectable journalists engaged to elect Barack Obama despite his deep negatives by coordinating attacks on anyone who challenged him, you can’t say they don’t conspire on the propaganda front.  In fact, that’s all they have.  The propaganda front.

They can’t govern. Marxism has never worked in the real world and will never work.  But they’re good at the propaganda front, because it’s easy to make people go along with you who are in professions where they depend on being seen as cool and hip: the media, entertainment.  And if that fails there’s the Chicago boot of the Justice Department.

Which brings me back to – what are you thinking?  Why are you echoing flawed polls?  Why are you telling us it’s all over?  That we don’t have a fighting chance, that Obama will be elected again?

Do I want you to sound all cheery?  No.  Of course not.  If there are real difficulties, show them.  But must you do the propaganda job for the other side?

This morning while exercising, I was watching an episode of a mystery series set in World War II.  In it, someone in an air raid shelter starts telling everyone that England already lost.  This was a crime, punishable with 25 years in jail.

Was it because the English wanted to hide the truth from their people?  In some cases, yes.  I know this annoys the Vietnam war generation, but it’s still true.  In some cases, if the general public doesn’t know about reverses that could mean defeat but might not, it is by far the best.  But in most cases the truth was known.  People knew what reverses had happened.

What they couldn’t afford was for people to stand around telling each other it was all over.  This is because people might feel despondent at times, but if by repeating and hammering the bad news, and amplifying them everyone came to feel it was all over but the shouting, they would not do the things that were needed to win: collect tin and paper, work in the factories, volunteer to serve.  People who think they already lost aren’t motivated.

This is more important in our case.  Far more important.

Romney was no one’s ideal candidate, but let’s face it, no one was anyone’s ideal candidate.  There was one I liked better than Romney, but there was no Reagan among the collection.

After the nomination, people fell in line for Romney because – anyone but Obama.  I’d vote for Clone-of-Obama if needed, because during the transition the wrecking of the country would slow down.  Beyond that, while Romney might be a RINO (there are indications he actually is a federalist) he doesn’t hate the US and he doesn’t want to destroy us.  If you don’t think that’s a big difference over Mr. “every country is special” and Mr. “I’ll have more flexibility after the election,” you are out of your mind.

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Meanwhile, Not In Virginia-lina

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

An account of  Representative Ryan’s visit to Lakewood, Colorado.

I live about an hour and a half from Lakewood Colorado but I’d never gone there.  Never thought I would either.  It’s a small town on the other side of Denver and we never had a reason to visit.

Even when I heard Paul Ryan would be there, I thought “uh.  I wish” but it seemed far too much trouble.  However, the child who four years ago was so-so about politics said we were going.  Or rather, he was driving out.  And since no other family member could go, I was nominated to keep him awake.

We left at five thirty in the morning because doors opened at nine, and we were sure in our hearts if we got there after seven am we wouldn’t get in.  Also, neither of us wanted to brave Denver rush hour traffic.

As it turned out, when we got there, there were only about fifty people in line ahead of us.  Because this campaign we don’t know where we stand – or at least we know the polls are doctored and even things like Intrade feel like they could be manipulated – I felt a little worried.  What if no one came?  I should add that despite my being plugged into all political sources, I only heard of this rally through a friend and then later through an acquaintance.  So I fretted that perhaps not enough people had heard of it?  Perhaps…  They’d gotten lost in the little maze of streets around the venue.  Perhaps…

                                                                                                                 the very front of the line ahead of us

By nine the line had doubled, maybe.  But by ten thirty, it was going around two sides of the high school and I started feeling better, if not exactly happy yet.

                                                                                                                           the line turns the corner

By nine the line had doubled, maybe.  But by ten thirty, it was going around two sides of the high school and I started feeling better, if not exactly happy yet.

I want to say the line was pure tea party, but tea party seems to be grayer.  While early arrivals tended to be over fifty, as the line grew, they started being outweighed by thirty somethings (many with small kids in tow) and even young men and women of late highschool and early college age.  (I wish I could have got better pictures, but the theme of the day was equipment failure, and the first one was our better camera, leaving us only with the low-res one which does neither panoramic nor good close ups.  A rival to Zombie I’ll never be.)

But in a way the line WAS pure tea party.  The crowd waited patiently – even though they’d forgotten porta potties and two and a half hours wait in line tested our bladders.  (My son said “the other side does organization.  We do freedom.”  About right.

Everyone was friendly if sometimes reserved.  Volunteers were working the line getting people signed up for the campaign and for voting and for various projects.  A gentleman stopped by us and asked if I might be a lawyer.  He explained, somewhat embarrassed “We think we might need them after the election.”  I said, “Of course.  If we don’t win big enough.”  A lot of people ducked away from television cameras, and gave the explanation “my job.”  Someone said “That’s absurd, this is a fre country.”  But we all knew that some people in some situations are freer than others.  Four years ago, while I was dependent on money from NYC publishers I’d have been hiding too.  My remaining publisher – Baen Books – believes in the first amendment though, and the rest of my money is from indie publishing.  BUT I’m aware that what has changed for me hasn’t for a lot of other people.

In what eventually became an overflowing parking lot of enthusiastic Romney supporters, I saw exactly one car with a Romney bumpersticker.  The discussion in line raged over whether to get a bumpersticker or a yard sign, and how bad things could get when you did (from stolen yard signs to vandalized cars and egged houses.)  We all agreed this must stop, but on the other hand, the economy is bad and who is going to risk their property?  (Or their kids and pets?)

The people around me seemed to be more libertarian-conservative than social-conservative.  A young man walked by saying something about regulating drugs and we ignored him, then I realized he was saying “regulating drugs as we do alcohol” – i.e. minimal, age related regulation – and I made him come back and give me a flyer.  THEN other people around me perked up.  It’s an interesting idea, though I haven’t yet checked out the group, but they should perhaps NOT sell it with the word “regulation” of which we’ve all had too much.

Note that none of the people around me were what I’d call “hard conservatives.”  We differed on various points including whether or not we’re overpopulated, but we all agreed we’re going to be broke, if that’s not stopped.  And most of us worried about children and grandchildren.

At ten thirty an airplane started circling, towing a sign that said “Hey girl, chose me, lose choice -P. Ryan” – which apparently was all the opposition could muster.  It was met with snorts of derision.  The lady ahead of me said “I want government out of my bedroom in all senses.”  The one next to me said “I don’t need a sugar daddy to buy me contraceptives.”  My own reaction was “do they think we’re infants?  HOW DARE THEY think they can buy women with women’s own money?”

The crowd was delightful and well- informed, and most had real jobs and were still employed, even in this economy.  (Real jobs as to my artsy-bum lifestyle, of course.)  As far as I could tell, I’d come from the farthest away.

We were finally allowed in and after a brief scramble to the bathroom, the room started filling and filling and filling.  We kept expecting the fire marshal to call for an halt, but it seemed that they let it go to standing room early, and then some – as people stood in the hall outside to listen.

Note that none of the people around me were what I’d call “hard conservatives.”  We differed on various points including whether or not we’re overpopulated, but we all agreed we’re going to be broke, if that’s not stopped.  And most of us worried about children and grandchildren.

At ten thirty an airplane started circling, towing a sign that said “Hey girl, chose me, lose choice -P. Ryan” – which apparently was all the opposition could muster.  It was met with snorts of derision.  The lady ahead of me said “I want government out of my bedroom in all senses.”  The one next to me said “I don’t need a sugar daddy to buy me contraceptives.”  My own reaction was “do they think we’re infants?  HOW DARE THEY think they can buy women with women’s own money?”

The crowd was delightful and well- informed, and most had real jobs and were still employed, even in this economy.  (Real jobs as to my artsy-bum lifestyle, of course.)  As far as I could tell, I’d come from the farthest away.

We were finally allowed in and after a brief scramble to the bathroom, the room started filling and filling and filling.  We kept expecting the fire marshal to call for an halt, but it seemed that they let it go to standing room early, and then some – as people stood in the hall outside to listen.

                                           my one working camera was truly atrocious, however this shows the packing.  The floor was also standing-room only. 

There were some local-candidate speakers to warm up the crowd, and I am afraid I missed a lot of it, being slightly mid-range deaf and in a crowded room.  Mostly I missed the names of the speakers – though I’m sure they’re online somewhere.

The crowd was generally well-behaved, but after the other speakers and before Ryan, a chant of Paul Ryan and then Romney started.  Also, at one point some young men up in the overflow space under the rafters sang God Bless America – but not when speakers were talking.

Finally a young lady who’d just graduated from Lakewood Highschool (and who was Student Body President in her senior year) and is now working for the Romney campaign, introduced Paul Ryan.

He presents in person JUST like on TV.  I have long been an admirer of Governor Palin, but Ryan seems more comfortable in his own skin.  Perhaps more used to the limelight.

I’d like to say his speech was pure campaign stuff, and perhaps it was.  He talked about camping in Colorado and climbing all of our fourteeners.  Having friends who do this, this told me a lot about his character.  That kind of climb requires determination and fortitude in face of adversity, and most of all self discipline.  It impressed me, as it might not impress non-locals.

Then he talked policy.  And while it was campaign speech stuff, it was GOOD campaign speech stuff, and the sort of things, too, that sort of tells us where the candidates’ minds are.

The people who paid for the plane outside would be shocked to hear no social issues were mentioned.  The overriding themes of the speech were the need to get our fiscal house in order, so that there IS a tomorrow and how people should be free from government.

Being somewhat of a constitutional fundamentalist (to paraphrase P.J. O’Rourke, the Earth and the sky shall pass away before an iota passes from the constitution.) and having just written a book that could be called a big wet kiss to my adopted country, I was delighted by Ryan’s emphasis on constitutional principles and also a little spooked, as I haven’t YET let anyone but close friends and my publisher read that book which is scheduled for March next year, but it seemed like Ryan had read it.  (You people at Baen fess up.  Which of you knows Ryan? – I’m joking, of course, it’s rather that both Ryan and I read from the same text.)

Highlights, quoted as closely as I could hear – remember, mid range hearing loss – were: “take back this great country”, “President Obama inherited a tough situation.  Here’s the problem.  He made it worse.”  A promise to create 12 million jobs in four years.  “We’ll use our own energy because we have it” (I think he named every energy form known to man, too.  I jotted down gas, coal, nuclear, solar.  I think nuclear is a CLEAR pandering to Glenn Reynolds of instapundit.  Joking again.  But nuclear IS clean and safe, as Glenn tells us.)  “Cap and trade is designed to make energy expensive.”  “We will approve the Keystone Pipeline.”  “We must stop spending money we just don’t have.”  “Our rights come from nature and God, not government.”  (And for those resenting the mention of God, accept the mention of nature, and the fact he’s harking back to the declaration of independence.  The last part is undeniably true.  The rights of free citizens should never be at the mercy of government.”  “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the government doesn’t define what happiness is.  You do.”  “Our job is to get barriers out of the way” “If you have a small business, you DID build that.”  “We want more of you to be successful.”  “We’re going to lead, not blame others.  We’ll take responsibility.”  “We’re not going to replace our founding principles, we’re going to reapply them.”  “We will not let them divide us.”  “It is not too late to turn this country around.”

There was ONE bit of heckling where someone said “Look, no teleprompter.”  Positive heckling.  Ryan responded and the crowd laughed, but I have NO idea what he said.  (It might be clearer in audio below.)

Then Representative Ryan came down from the podium and made his way around the crowd, hugging everyone he could reach and posing for pictures with any of the people on the front two rows who wanted them.  (Like an idiot, I’d chosen the THIRD row, to get a better view.)  I know all politicians kiss babies, and not so babies, but he was relaxed, slow, and gave the impression he’d rather be there with us than anywhere at all.

Ryan connects to people

When he left the crowd left in an orderly manner and much more quickly than I expected.

Because the theme of the day was mechanical failure, kid and I found we’d left the lights on and our battery had died out.  In 97 degree weather not one but TWO sets of strangers stopped to help.  (They failed and Triple A had to deal with it because our alarm apparently thought we were stealing our own car.  However, they offered.  In fact, at the end while we sat waiting for Triple A some very young and nice campaign workers came over, offering to help.  Since they all drove compacts I have no idea what they thought they could do – but it was nice to ask.)

At the very end, I left mulling over the motto painted on the gym wall – presumably for home team cheerleaders: “be loud, be proud, be positive.”

Not all of us can do it, but when we can, that is exactly what we should do.  That is how we’ll reclaim our freedom, bit by bit.  Let them know we exist, we’re not afraid, we’re not ashamed, and we’re not idiots.  And let others who feel isolated know they’re not alone.

It’s time to start taking the country back and clawing our way to becoming a sovereign people once more.

Ryan Speech Audio, hopefully marginally clearer than my ears — though again, this is the day of equipment failure.

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An Open Letter To A Liberal Ass

Monday, August 13th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

My friend Bill Reader read Rick Moran’s article on Noam Scheiber’s psychic-hotline act of guessing Romney’s motives for the Ryan pick.  (Yes, I know it’s unfair to compare Mr. Scheiber to a psychic-hotline worker.  I understand some of those self-proclaimed psychics often get things right.  I apologize to them.)

When Bill sent me an email under the format of an open letter to Mr. Scheiber, it was just too good NOT to share with Tatler readers.  So, with his permission, I reproduce it below.

An Open Letter To A Liberal Ass

– by Bill Reader

Dear. Mr. Scheiber:

Romney has, on multiple occasions, been accused of being liberal. The word on the street is, there’s no difference between Obama and Romney. I personally believe that this word is on the street because no one wants it hanging about in their living room, but hey.

The thing is, with the US economy slated to cease to exist… let me just repeat that for emphasis… cease to exist, according to CBO estimates, by 2027, the economy is an overriding concern. Sadly, Obama’s plan for the economy, according to what he’s done in the last four years, is to a) double our deficits b) raise taxes even though his own accountants say that it will have virtually no effect on tax receipts, and then c) spend the ill-gotten gains from these activities on cronies and companies that show the same long-term survivability as an injured fly in a frog exhibit, but which he nevertheless likes because their business plans contain liberal buzz words. Conservatives and even many liberals (those who have not cashed in their brain for a “Free Tibet” bumper-sticker and a coupon for a half-caf green tea latte in a sustainable recyclable paper cup would be favorites) detect some subtle flaws with this plan. Several were willing to believe Romney would govern no differently, however. By picking an actual fiscal conservative for a running mate, Romney has made a clear statement that he’s noticed there’s a problem with our economic plan and will actually do something about it.

Obama, meanwhile, plans to release lots of commercials explaining why his economic plan has totally worked, which will be reassuring to people watching it through café windows as they huddle in their cardboard boxes. He’s already accusing Romney of not being serious about cutting the deficit, because the White House decorators apparently forgot to install mirrors. So, basically, Obama plans to deal with the problems in our economy by pretending that there are no actual problems in the economy. It is entirely possible that by October he will have devolved to campaign commercials where he sticks his fingers in his ears and screams “la la la la la” at the top of his lungs.

The American people voted for a man with a plan in 2008. Team Romney and I fervently hope that in 2012, they’ll refine that into voting for a man with a sensible plan.

Sincerely,
Bill Reader

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We Are The Losers Of Borg

Thursday, July 19th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

Back in the early eighties, when I first heard of them, the Borg in Star Trek were really scary.  An obvious metaphor for communism, they promised equality and a guaranteed living, in return for your individuality.

The metaphor was so obvious, that I couldn’t avoid seeing the glossy pages of Soviet Life sold on the streets of Portugal by magazine vendors, and couldn’t help knowing that those promises were working in South America and Africa.  I didn’t believe the glossy pictures.  I never craved cohesion over individuality.  But I could see their appeal, and I was afraid we’d lose.

Perhaps that was why I found so funny the feeble joke “We are the dyslexic of Borg.  Prepare to have your *ss laminated.”

The ridiculous – as we know since the collapse of the Soviet Union revealed the true extent of its poverty – promises of pie in the sky were truly scary when backed by the propaganda machine and the military machine of the Soviet Union.

Well, we live in diminished times.  The Soviet Union sleeps with its totalitarian predecessors – uneasily, beneath a weight of its victims’ bones – and their military might is a thing of the past.

Which brings us to the losers of Borg: i.e., those still pushing The Collective over the individual, the blessings of mindlessly surrendering our hearts and souls in return for an equality that always falls short (after all, some animals are always more equal than others) and a prosperity that always fails to materialize.

President Obama was the latest to promise us Nirvana in return for the rewards of The Collective.  Only, as I said, we all live in diminished times.  These days the Borg aren’t promising us bliss in return for subsuming our individuality.  No, they’re trying to convince us we should join the collective so we can have what we already have.

They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.  (Applause.)

 If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

 The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.  There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.  That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

Yes, Mr. President.  There are a lot of smart people out there, and you’re not one of them.  Regardless of what your natural gifts might have been, sometime ago – given your background possibly in childhood – you gave up your ability to think in return for The Collective’s shibboleths.  They are soothing.  Regardless of history, economics and reality, they reassure you that you need not feel guilty.  If you don’t deserve what you achieved, then neither does anyone else.  We are all pieces in a larger machine and each of us is therefore absolved of responsibility, guilt or the necessity to struggle.

And the  shibboleths are wrong.  When you talk about the wonderful American system we have, I don’t believe you know what you’re talking about.  The framework of the American system is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  That happiness, Mr. President, is individual happiness.  The right to struggle for what the individual wants – not what The Collective thinks he should have – is what has resulted in the freest, most prosperous society in the world.

Did somebody invest in roads and bridges?  The Internet? Teaching?  Firefighting?  Sure.  Did they do it for us?  Oh, please.  The interstate system was arguably necessary for “common defense” – ie. To move troops fast in case of need.  The Internet too was part of defense and research during the cold war.  Teaching…  Well, some of us had excellent teachers, but here’s the funny thing: for every excellent teacher I’ve met there’s one who is a waste of a salary.  And you know what?  Both types will turn out excellently educated students and buffoons.  That’s because students are individuals and they can choose to study and learn.  Or not.   So the student who chose to learn is responsible for his own success.

And you know what else?  Teachers get paid to teach.  They don’t do it out of love to The Collective.

Our ancestors who came before us, and built up Western Civilization, did it because it suited their purposes to do it.  And most of them got paid for it.  They didn’t do it out of some ideal of abnegation because we would need it.

And now you offer us these works, done by free men, for defense, for pay, for need, as some sort of bountiful harvest of The Collective.

Mr. President, your psychological inadequacy is showing.  Because you feel unequal to your power and your responsibility, you want to convince yourself and us, that none of us is equal to his achievements, his power, his responsibility.

You’re wrong.  You’re also indescribably pitiful.  You and your army of historically illiterate wealthy who feel inadequate and unworthy of their achievements are the Losers Of Borg.  You approach us pointing fingers and trying to make us feel guilty.

Somehow “We are the losers of Borg, prepare to be ashamed,” falls short of the siren song of equality and plenty, and short of the menace of the armies of the Soviet Union.

Personally I think you’re going to get your *sses laminated.

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If a Conservative Speaks in the Forest…

Saturday, July 14th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

This week I had to go to the DMV to verify my younger son’s residence so he could get his license. Please, don’t explain to me there should be easier ways to do that. It’s how the DMV does things.

I had to do it, I didn’t have to like it. We got there an hour before it opened, and I got up an hour earlier than that to blog, which meant I was uncaffeinated and already in a mood.

My older son also had business at the DMV, so we made a solid family group.

The reason I explain all this is to let you know I was in a situation I’m not used to: out really early and forced into contact with a lot of strangers. As a professional novelist, I can go entire days without trading a word with a stranger.

The experience wasn’t that bad. Having arrived earlier, it took us only an hour to do what we’d come to do, possibly because there were only sixteen people ahead of us.

While waiting to approach the first counter, I sat down next to a blond woman, about my age or ten years on either side (on the down side of forty it becomes hard to tell), a lab technician my older son had engaged in conversation earlier.

As the boys and I were talking, the usual happened and our “neighbor” asked about my accent. Actually she added a new and odd wrinkle and asked what nationality WE were. (The boys sound so Coloradan they couldn’t be anything else, so this is a little strange.) We answered in unison “American.” This and the fact older son was wearing a stars and stripes tie (yes, he always wears a tie and a button down. He’s rebelling against his boomer professors. Kids these days.) should have given her a clue, but apparently not. So she said “Well, you have an accent,” to me. I stopped fighting it and told her I was born and raised in Portugal.

She said, as people do, that she wished she had an accent. I know this sounds odd but that statement exasperates me, because I can’t answer truthfully “No, you don’t. Total strangers ask personal questions about things like the languages you taught the kids. And they make guesses about you once you reveal your national origin. And they pre-judge your politics. And…” Also “I’ve lived in this country for twenty eight years, longer than I’ve lived anywhere else.”

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Avante! means Forward!

Sunday, May 13th, 2012 - by Sarah Hoyt

Avante! (Forward!) is the official newspaper of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP). Founded in 1931, it continues to be published to this day. The newspaper’s motto is Workers of the World, Unite! and has been present in every edition of the newspaper since the very first.

  

 

Avante was shouted at every communist demonstration I ever saw (reported or in person) growing up.  And here is a link to the venerable publication so you can see the sort of impartial, non-partisan reporting they do..

So, for a political campaign that starts on Karl Marx’s birthday…  Why choose the campaign slogan Forward?  Granma was too obvious?

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Author Michael Z Williamson on Poverty in the US

Thursday, September 15th, 2011 - by Sarah Hoyt

Author Michael Z Williamson is not a good man to  upset, and not just because he runs a website called sharp pointy things that sells all sorts of… sharp pointy things, like knives and a sword I want to buy as soon as I make a lot of money. (What? Stop shuddering at the idea of me and a sword. It’s pretty. And sharp.)

Turns out it’s also a bad idea to get Mike upset because his mind, it seems, is also a sharp and pointy thing.

Some less cautious people have lately gotten Mike riled up by going on about poverty and about the income gap. This was a bad idea. In his website, called Speaker to Morons, Mike cuts their arguments to ribbons.

Some choice bits:

And I’m not even going to dignify the lefticle wank of “income gap” with a response, except to note it’s pretty much Godwin’s Law for economics. If you bring it up, you’ve admitted you have no argument.

………………………

As an immigrant, I get REALLY ticked off at Americans whining about “poverty” that involves cell phones, microwaves, AC and cars.

………………………..

I remember growing up middle class in the UK. My father had a motorcycle, and eventually a car, while he alternated electrical work and school. My mother waited tables evenings. We had a “flat” with no heat, and a transistor radio. Lunch for me was usually a boiled egg or a slice of bread with jam. In 1969 we got a black and white TV so we could watch the moon landing. Since my father was an electrical engineer, he re-programmed the set and we got FOUR channels, though BBC1 and -2 usually showed the same thing.

Eventually we moved to a real house (well, a duplex), with plumbing. We were lucky.

Go read the whole thing at Michael’s blog.

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Next Time The Fire

Sunday, September 11th, 2011 - by Sarah Hoyt

I usually do a nine eleven post. It has now become fashionable to apologize at the beginning of these. I have no intention of doing so. No, I have not gotten over it. No, I don’t think I ever will.

Nine eleven was not a sudden, cataclysmic devastation of the sort that comes out of nowhere, tears your life apart and leaves you to rebuild and get over it. Nine eleven was a sudden cataclysmic devastation that came out of somewhere and left us to deal with rebuilding and with moral and emotional questions on how to prevent its like again within the limits of the future.

The difference between the two should be obvious but it doesn’t appear to be. Take Hurricane Hugo for instance. It marched from the coast, up the beach roads to Charlotte NC where I lived at the time. It changed our landscape within a night. We were fortunate in that our little cul-de-sac neighborhood lost power only for the 11 hours. But people lost houses, people lost lives, and people lost livelihoods. One of our favorite antique markets was made into kindling, destroying the livelihood of the family who owned it. It was, at the time, a sudden, devastating tragedy. Afterwards, we got T-shirts that said “I survived Hurricane Hugo.” I don’t know what eventually happened to those, because, you see, we got over it within a year or so. What else was there to do? It was the weather. You can’t say “this will never happen again.” Or rather, you can, but who will listen? The weather will do what the weather will do.

Nine eleven is a different kind of tragedy. It was brought about by men – by the will of men, the brain of men, the malice of men. Nine eleven was preventable – if we’d known it was probable (our security can’t prevent “possible” – we’d have to have the whole country in uniform for that.) More importantly, further nine elevens should be preventable by men and women of good will and with a bright enough brain.

Have they been prevented? Oh, please. Of course, yes, we’ve prevented a few of them mostly through intelligence work, and a few more by our determination to be a mob, not a flock. This is good. But mostly, mostly, we’ve hamstrung ourselves with stupid kabuki travel theater, have turned on each other over what brought nine eleven on and have accused each other of unspeakable (and unimaginable) nonsense.

The one thing that Hugo and 9/11 had in common, the one thing that made me fall in love with America and continue to be madly in love with it (I wasn’t born here, but I got here as fast as I could) was the… empowerment of the individual. Barely had the wind stopped blowing, after Hugo, and our neighbors gathered, helping each other cut down trees that threatened to fall, helping each other patch roofs and, later on, when our electricity came back and other people’s hadn’t and didn’t for days, my husband and I spent the next several days making ice and taking it in coolers to our friends, and cooking massive hot dinners, where friends could come and have a meal. Our showers too were used around the clock. Everyone else had similar experiences.

If you’re shrugging and going “of course” pat yourself on the back. You’re an American. In most countries, you’d stand around waiting for the “qualified aid personnel” and then complain if the aid was late, instead of taking your hand to what was there and doing what you could.

Nine eleven – well, I know people who crossed the country to help search the ruins, and I think ALL of us wanted to. Instead, we did what we could, even if it was just becoming a check in point for friends in NYC or donating blood.

But the different nature of the disasters revealed itself almost immediately. No one in Charlotte stood around scratching their heads and saying “Why did Hugo attack us?” But almost immediately there were people beating their chests over 9/11 and going “it’s our fault. It’s all our fault.”

Again, this is a very American thing to think – almost endearing in its Americanism.

read the rest at According To Hoyt

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Larry Correia on Borders’ Closing

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 - by Sarah Hoyt

My friend and colleague Larry Correia gives Borders the eulogy it earned.

My opinion is Borders did it to themselves.

All of the business editorials I’ve seen are making it out that they were killed by the eBook revolution. Maybe that was a big loss on one revenue stream, but having visited fifty+ Borders over the last couple of years, and having been a businessman/salesman/entrepreneur myself, I can say they were sucking wind in their regular stores too.

Read the whole thing.  I will only add that my experience has been similar since my first book which the local borders ordered but could never find in its premisses.  No, not even when people tried to buy it.  Six months after release they said “It must have been in a closet, but now we’ve returned the copies.”  Which, of course, made me feel reassured they wanted to sell my books — or any books.

In addition to their stellar customer service, I’ve talked before about the sheer stupidity of ordering what will be stocked at any given store from a central three-state managing center (because centralized economies are an example to us all, of course.)

There was the added insanity of ordering books to the net according to the computer.  Following the law of Garbage In, Garbage Out, the people who obeyed the computer (Why does this make think of Martin Caidin’s The God Machine?) never took in account the data the computer didn’t stock “How much promotion and push was this book given?  What was the cover like?  How is this genre doing? or even… Was this book ever on the shelf, or did we leave it in the closet? ”

And then they used these “numbers” devoid of context as holy writ.  And now they complain about ebooks taking them under.

On top of that most Borders stores(though not all) didn’t stock Baen Books, having decided the publisher (who, btw, numbers among its authors an avowed communist) was “too right wing” to stock.

Feh.  I agree with Larry, whose post you should definitely read.  I feel for the newly unemployed employees, particularly the good ones.  (There were a few.)  I hope they find work soon.  But as for the chain, good ridance.  Borders wasn’t pushed.  It committed suicide.

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