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Madness and Chaos: The Left in the Time of Trump

In the late 1950s, the now sadly departed great Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe wrote his masterpiece, Things Fall Apart . I remember readin...

Friday, July 3, 2020

The 4th: Now More Than Ever

It sure looks like the morons are trying to lead us into a dour, doubting, and grim 4th of July. Traditionally one of the happiest events on the American calendar, the 4th and all it stands for is under relentless assault from "scientific experts," illiterate "academics," and an assortment of b.s. celebrities and pundits. 

The lynch mobs have learned from the old tactics of the mafia and, of course, from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. You know, "Sure would be a shame if your business caught fire; I am sure a donation to racial equality could help prevent that . . . " The highly anti-semitic and anti-white Al Sharpton, now a regal and regular feature on MSNBC and at Democratic conclaves of various types, was a master at that. I lived in NYC during his reign of terror and his various scams--e.g., Tawana Brawley, anybody? Freddy's Fashion Mart? Nothing new under the sun, I guess, just now it's on steroids.

The President intends to hold a 4th celebration at the Mt. Rushmore national monument. Now, SUDDENLY, we hear from the NYT and other purveyors of the progressive faith that Mt. Rushmore is sacred Native American land, and that Trump's holding a 4th event there is a "celebration of white supremacy." 

Was it sacred Native American land when FDR dedicated the monument? Well, I guess that's another reason to tear down the FDR monument in DC . . . The NYT and all other denizens of progo Manhattan might want to start packing out since Manhattan once belonged to the Lenape or Delaware Indians, and they got rooked by the Dutch for some $24. 

Defund NYC! Tear down those ugly buildings!

Don't let the bastards ruin your 4th. 

This is a great country founded by some great people on great principles. Never apologize.

Here, I present a photo of the Diplopad in Wilmington festooned by the immigrant Diplowife. Don't ever tell her that America is not a great place.

Happy 4th!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The West: Breeding Ravens

I remember an old Spanish saying my grandmother and my mother would throw at me whenever either or both felt I had acted in a disrespectful, stupid, ungrateful or uncivilized manner, "¡Cría cuervos y te sacaran los ojos!" ("Breed ravens and they will pluck out your eyes!") In other words, of course, your own kin will turn on you because they often are, to put it mildly, ingrates.

That saying plays in my head as I watch a conspiracy or unkindness of ravens, aka "youths," in our country and throughout the West, tear down statues, deface monuments, shout-down and threaten dissenters, insult and attack police officers, and loot public and private property--all the while using expensive iPhones to document their "courage" with selfies and video.

No other civilization comes close to the West in the amount of resources, praise, and devotion poured into its youth. What has all that expenditure of public and private resources and emotional investment gotten us?

We have before us quite possibly the most pampered, ill-mannered, ignorant, and arrogant generation in Western history. Notice how many "protestors" seem to have no problem festooning themselves with costly tattoos and gym clothing, and nesting in highly expensive and tony metropolises such as New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and London. Many, if not most, seem to engage in no-known labor, and have the time and resources to flap around, preening and playing at revolution, while, as noted, recording themselves on their pricey "smart phones." Not the grubby sans-culottes of 1780s France--not even close--these mobsters are well-fed, nicely clothed, healthy and wealthy cretins--better said, highly privileged and violence-prone cretins, bird brains, you know, ravens.

These ravens repeat empty-headed slogans, and screech about oppression from their perches of privilege down to working-class cops, many black or hispanic, and other ordinary folk who seek to go to work to feed their families. Indeed, the majority of those squawking about white racism and tearing down "white privilege" and "supremacy," and feigning offense over statues, road names, and Aunt Jemima syrup labels are, well-off white kids--most notably white women full of inchoate feminist resentment and rage. They have had their heads filled with a crude cultural Marxism; they live in a world almost devoid of facts and historical knowledge and context. Violent emotion rules.

The raven mobsters, for example, feel tormented, even driven crazy, by the insane dictates of today's cult of pseudo-science, eaten alive, for example, by the certainty of global climate change caused by capitalism and the fervent belief in the "mutability" of gender. No definition, no standard can hold up. All is fluid. Nothing is certain except that the West is evil, and our history must be erased. Only today counts. Back to Year Zero! Pol Pot call your office.

As I noted long ago, none of this agitation has anything to do with Confederate flags or Confederate statues. The progressive lynch mobs now prowling our streets don't know Robert E. Lee from Ulysses S. Grant; Abraham Lincoln from Jefferson Davis; Winston Churchill from Adolf Hitler. The progressive mobs have defiled monuments to the heroes of abolition who destroyed slavery, and to the heroes of WWII who destroyed real fascism. The mob's goals consist of producing destruction, and a paralysis of thought and action by the good people; they seek to generate doubt and hesitation, and, above all, fear.

President Trump must be careful not to become our President von Hindenburg, presiding over chaos and allowing the anti-freedom, anti-West, Communist-Fascist-Anarchists to own our streets and drive public discourse.

We have bred ravenous ravens.

Unless we shut down their hatcheries and nurseries, and put them into cages very soon, they will pluck out our eyes.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Something a Bit Different: 2013 Corvette 427

I got my "new" 2013 Corvette 427 (5,000 miles on it) a few days ago.

It's a beast!

That 7.0 litre engine (427.7 cu in) is a monster! It just goes and goes and goes. I don't understand why Chevrolet did away with that engine and went to the 6.2 litre (which is also a great engine, but . . . ).

The Diplowife and I went on a long cruise along the North Carolina coast this afternoon once the rain stopped. Driving the thing requires your full attention. The six speed manual transmission is great but you need to concentrate. The same with the steering: you flinch a bit and you find yourself driving on the wrong side of the street . . . OK, OK, a bit of an exaggeration . . . It is a raw driving experience; my 2019 Stingray seems positively tame and civilized in comparison.

Anyhow, just wanted to focus on something other than the morons tearing down statues and banning books.

Back to politics in a day or so . . .

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Under Pressure from the Ignoratti

The insanity continues with the sane people gradually giving up, hoping that the loons will just go away if they get this or that concession. Ain't gonna happen. The crazies want it all.

The assault on books, films, and statues rages here and abroad, especially in the UK. As I noted before, there is no appeasing this lynch mob. All the magnificent history of the West must get examined though the lens of today's wokeness.

There is no reasoning with the mob.

Slavery, the mobsters tell us, is a Western, aka "white," invention; the even more ignorant of the ignoratti claim it as an American invention with the USA founded on slavery. The fact that slavery predates America by thousands of years, practiced in biblical and even pre-biblical times, proves irrelevant. The ignoratti, for example, can provide no explanation for how black slaves got to the Americas. Who sold them initially? Who captured these unfortunates? The mob makes no demand for reparations by the Muslim world or the black countries of Africa for the descendants of slaves; Muslims and Africans were slavery's greatest practitioners and profiteers. Slavery and the slave trade, in fact, still exist in much of the Muslim world, and parts of Africa.

What response to the mob's Nazi-like destruction of Western culture and society comes from our leaders? An offering of Dane-geld: let us, they cry, tear down "offensive" monuments and put them in a museum. On bended knees, our timid leaders offer this morsel to the mob. Put it all in a museum? Really? Will the mob accept that and demand no more? Not likely. How long before they go for the museums? What museum director will stand up to the enraged and emboldened mob? I see it now. Defund museums to white supremacy!

When will we have to rename our capital? Remove Washington from the dollar bill? And on, and on, and on.

I live in a part of the country where many of the old British colonial names remain, including whole cities named after different British Royals. We have a major road named for British general Cornwallis from the War of Independence. Will all those have to go, too? Outrageous! Strike down the offending wordage! No tributes to colonialism! The ignoratti demand it and must be appeased!

When the word absurd has lost its meaning, then nothing is too absurd. That is the time in which we live.

We have no mention, of course, by the ignoratti and their academic and media echo chambers that white men put an end to slavery. The Royal Navy, for example, gets no credit for its energetic and highly effective efforts to suppress the slave trade. We hear nothing of the hundreds-of-thousands of white men, including President Lincoln, who died in the American civil war to preserve a slave-free union.

This brings us to the Juneteenth holiday about which we now hear so much. How many of the ignoratti "marchers," most of them white, by the way, ever heard of the events in Texas of June 19, 1865, much less understand their context and meaning? Now the demand has gone forth, and it will succeed, for a federal holiday to commemorate June 19. I have no problem commemorating great events in history (June 6, D-Day, anyone?), but how will this one get portrayed? What will prove the narrative? Will credit for bringing news of the end of slavery go to white General Granger who landed in Texas and issued General Order No. 3 "reminding" slave owners in Texas of the Emancipation Proclamation issued by white Republican President Lincoln ending slavery in all states in rebellion? I doubt it, doubt it very much. Soon we will learn that a black transgender woman actually wrote and issued the order . . ..

Police brutality: another of the themes now bandied about. Does police brutality exist? Yes. With my own eyes, I have seen it, for example, in Guyana, France, Bolivia, China, and Spain, among other places. Does it exist in the US, the UK, or Australia? I am sure there are valid examples; is that the norm for police behavior? Doubt it very much, and the stats strengthen my doubt. So while any human institution can use genuine reform, it remains a bad idea to launch such reform under pressure from the ignoratti lynch mob. In America, we see well-meaning Republicans, for example, offering up legislation to alter this or that police practice. Do they really think that will appease the mobsters? No, it will not. Such gestures signal weakness, the same sort that allows a mob in Seattle, once one of the world's great and beautiful cities, to occupy and vandalize a chunk of the downtown, and terrorize citizens who pay taxes not to be terrorized.

A small, loud minority is terrifying the West. Where is the reaction? Where are the leaders and the pundits who will speak the unvarnished truth to and about this lynch mob?

Always remember: no peace, no justice.

Almost certainly, this little meaningless blog will get deplatformed--I got booted from Twitter, and have learned that I cannot run advertisements here because of some unspecified "violation" of Google's "terms of service." The other shoe will drop; no doubt.

We, nevertheless, have to continue to get the word out, to wit, the West is the Best. Our history is a magnificent one.

Western civilization has brought unparalleled advancement to all of the world. That is why the world wants to live in the West.

Do not apologize.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Mao Lives . . . Here

The late Chairman Mao apparently is an almost forgotten figure in China. Nobody there runs around with his Little Red Book. The last time I was in China, it was foreigner tourists buying the Mao lapel pins, posters, and copies of the Little Red Book. The Chinese seemed mildly bemused, but willing to take the tourists' cash. Mao fans, and I know you're out there, do not become disheartened, for we see his teachings and tactics on display right here in the USA.

What we have underway in many of our major cities is nothing less than a (for now) pale carbon copy of the infamous Cultural Revolution, which threw China into turmoil for nearly a decade (roughly 1966-1976) and resulted in the deaths of an untold number of persons, and caused incalculable damage to the economy.

You can read up on the Great Cultural Revolution; I won't go into detail but will note that it was a top-directed assault not only on "capitalist" and "bourgeois" remnants, but, more importantly, it sought to destroy the Confucian basis of Chinese civilization:
Confucius's 2500-year old Analects still provides an accurate account of China's philosophy of governance in which every person has an assigned role; failure to keep to it has dire consequences.
In the end, there were dire consequences for those who sought to upend the traditional "assigned role" of each person in China. The abuses proved so extensive that they brought to power some no-nonsense leaders who crushed the Revolution, established relations with the West, and launched China's ongoing mission to dominate the world.

We now see in the USA, and all over the West, attacks on statues of explorers, soldiers, and politicians, all of whom cannot meet the woke standards of today. Nobody is safe; we have protestors demanding the removal of a statue to Gandhi, of one to Churchill, even long-forgotten Franklin Pierce is not safe from the wrath of the "Social Justice" mob. They want to destroy history, and make us into some sort of "perfect man" (to borrow from Castro) who only thinks and breathes the "revolution."  As noted before, there is to be no joy, no fun, no happiness, no sports, nothing outside the revolution. Only thoughts of politics and social justice, and a reliance on the guidance from the wise ones. Above all, there can be no unapproved opinions. It is an assault on the West, its civilization, and its achievements; its history is being rewritten to be one of unmitigated repression and racial hatred.

Mao has gotten his revenge.

Monday, June 15, 2020

"All Meant to Drive You Crazy"

Just got home from our safari into northern Virginia. Along with Diploson1 and Diploson2, we visited Diploson3, his wife, and the new Diplograndson. We all vowed to stay away from DC, and we kept that vow.

The Diplograndson, already three months old, has decided to use "male" as his gender designation, and will employ he/him/his as his personal pronouns. Between sips of Maker's Mark, and puffs on a Romeo y Julieta, he expressed great concern over the hysteria generated by the global warming hoax; rejected as fake the Russia collusion story; tagged the Ukraine impeachment story as another fraud; and argued that since black lives matter, he opposes federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the biggest destroyer of black lives in America. I might have over interpreted his comments . . . maybe . . ..

Diploson3 and wife fled DC a couple of weeks ago for the relative safety and comfort of Fairfax county in Virginia. We noticed that the area around Vienna, Merrifield, Fairfax City, and Dunn Loring apparently has undergone another of its every-so-often but titanic demographic shifts. Occupying the area's million-dollar-plus condos and townhouses are youngish white couples. They have, it seems, fled the big city and returned to the suburbs. When we bought a home in the area some thirty years (fortunately, we still have it), we saw the tide running the other way, with suburban neighborhoods full of recent immigrants from Vietnam and the Middle East.

This time, furthermore, we saw these youngish white couples with a surprising number of small children, almost more than dogs--also a change from thirty years ago. The politics? Ah, well, they remain the classic vacuous progressive politics of semi-wealthy young suburbanites. We saw several cars and businesses displaying "Black Lives Matter" signs, thereby, it seems, some of these white suburbanites attribute greater value to the lives of others than to their own. Examples of generosity and self-sacrifice? Empty-headed virtue signaling? Fear and the paying of Dane-geld? I report, you decide.

Northern Virginia remains very much in the grip of the Chicom virus fear. The partially reopened stores and restaurants require you to wear a mask. It all looks like a bad dystopian future scifi flick. The restaurants we tried had an austere clinical feel; hard to enjoy a meal while breathing in bleach fumes, tables damp from disinfectant "wipe downs," and attended by wait staff who look like lab techs with masks and rubber gloves. I kept expecting them to ask me for a stool sample -- all the while surrounded by written and broadcast messages telling us: "We are all in this together!" "Maintain your social distance!" "No mask, no entry!"

Much of the reaction to the ChiCom virus forms part of what I wrote about some seven years ago: the left's war on joy and fun. While that post dealt mostly with the assault on Christmas, it contained some observations of a more general nature that apply to the current situation:
The old irascible, politically incorrect, and acerbic sage of Baltimore, H.L. Mencken, once famously defined Puritanism as, "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." Mencken today likely would want to revise his definition; Puritans and their ethos have long departed the American political and cultural scene. Today's warriors against happiness, those haunted by the "fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy" are the leftist ideologues in charge of most of our social, political, educational, and cultural institutions. Yes, of course, they have an insatiable drive for power; yes, of course, they want control over all aspects of our lives. I, however, have come to the conclusion that what really fuels them, or put it another way, the hidden turbocharge in their engine, is their hatred of joy, of happiness, and most notably of the special joy and happiness that comes with an individual expressing and exercising independence. <...> 
The left cannot stand the thought of individuals doing things that bring them joy and happiness. Automobiles. Yes, automobiles form a major target of this assault. Driving an automobile can bring joy, excitement, and independence into a person's life. Driving an "impractical" automobile such as a Porsche, a Corvette, a Nissan GTR, a Cadillac CTS-V, a Ferrari, or a 700Hp modified Shelby GT-500 is fun and brings joy. The leftists would have us all in grey buses, trains, and, at best, in subsidized pokey Priuses and Volts, stifling our joy and happiness in the name of protecting Gaia against a fake warming threat. They will use taxes, and EPA and safety regulations, and absurd speed limits to ruin our joy. The same with gun ownership. Guns are fun; they bring joy to the owner, and assert an individual's right to independence and self-defense. Gun ownership, of course, also limits the power of the state, and the ability of the leftists running the state to dictate the arc of our lives. We see the same in the assault on drinking, smoking, eating meat, homeschooling, and on individual choice in medical care. The state will decide which schools our children can attend, what they will learn; the state will decide our medical choices. They wage war on small businesses, which bring joy to the owners and, again assert independence, because after all, "you didn't build that."
Diploson3 had, perhaps, a more accurate, and infinitely more pithy observation. He noted that the edicts coming out from the left are "all meant to drive you crazy." So many of the "rules" we have had imposed on us in reaction to the ChiCom virus have no rhyme or reason, no logic, no science. It's hard, therefore, to dispute Diploson3's observation.

Don't let the left succeed.

Do not get crazy, get angry.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Heading North

Tomorrow the Diplogang heads to the DC environs.

Diploson3 and his wife fled DC on June 1 for the Virginia suburbs. We will be visiting them and the new Diplograndson over the weekend.

I will try not to think about politics -- and will fail.

I want--soon!--to get some range time. I have a small gaggle of guns (do guns travel in gaggles? Herds? Murders? Flocks?) that I have yet to try. I am particularly eager to shoot my Ruger 57, and see what the fuss is about with the 5.7mm round. I still haven't fired the STI Staccato 9mm, nor my new CZ 75 compact, also in 9mm--Czechs make good stuff, btw. Maybe I can sneak away today, but, I think the Diplowife has other plans for my time.

Hope next week to get my "new" 2013 427 Corvette convertible, manual six speed, delivered from the Chevy dealer in New Hampshire. I always wanted a ZO6, but this was the closest I could get to one and have it be a convertible (ironclad Diplowife rule). It has only 5,000 miles, so I will call it new.

I had wanted to invite Greta Thunberg for a ride to help fight global cooling (warming?) but I understand that she has moved on to proclaiming her expertise on racial matters in the USA.

So, I will be back . . .

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Hoax, Hysteria, and Dane-Geld

Well, the lefties are at it again: pushing a hoax, fanning hysteria via their pet media outlets, and then extracting protection money, aka Dane-geld.

We now live ruled by hoax, hysteria, and the frantic progressive search for Dane-geld.

This was to be the time of science and rational thought, of true political liberalism. But, no. Think back just a few years to all of the vile hoaxes through which we have suffered; hoaxes piled on top of hoaxes. For years, for example, the progressive wise ones told us that the belief that Communist agents loyal to the USSR had infiltrated our key institutions, and stolen vital secrets, was akin to the hunt for witches in Salem. It was not true! The Rosenbergs, innocent! Mao, an agricultural reformer! Castro, another Thomas Jefferson! The USSR, the next dominant force in the world!

All that, of course, turned out to be lies, hoaxes.

The progressive proponents of these lies, however, did not retreat in shame, they just moved to the next hoax that would cause damage to the West. There are so many, I can only name a handful right now; you can think up endless examples. One of the biggest hoaxes, if not the biggest of the past 40 years, is man-made global climate change. Capitalism and its culture of consumption was destroying our very planet, yes, our only planet! We were causing the very climate to change! We were heading for a warm planet devoid of snow and ice; of rising oceans; of floods and droughts; of both more hurricanes and fewer hurricanes. Wait! No! The earth was cooling! We were heading for a new ice age! No! Cooling, in fact, showed that the earth was warming, or was it warming, in fact, showed that the earth was cooling? One or the other. Every dead fish that washed up on a beach anywhere in the world had died from cooling/warming/change! The science was settled! Doesn't matter that we can't make any predictions with the models developed. We must all give up things to save the planet from whatever it is we are saving it from! Don't drill for oil! Stop driving! Give up plastic straws! WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE! Only thing to be done is create more programs, get more bureaucracy. MONEY! Give us money and lots of respect and obedience.

Now we have a whole new cycle of hoax, hysteria, and the search for Dane-geld.

Having gone through the ChiCom "virus is gonna kill us all" hoax, hysteria, and search for Dane-geld, we now move into "the cops are genocidal maniacs killing unarmed black men willy-nilly."

We suddenly have the nation, nay, the "educated" ones of the Western world, kneeling, demonstrating, rioting, looting burning, etc., in "honor of" George Floyd. We all have gotten emails and other messages from major corporations expressing their solidarity with Floyd, with the black community, with the goal of JUSTICE, and pledging funds to Black Lives Matter and other lefty organizations. Many of these corporations, of course, are the very ones that moved their factories to China or India to avoid employing the poor people in America and Europe with whom they now express solidarity, but, never mind. Hollywood, too, is all abuzz with protestations of solidarity; the same Hollywood that had moved much of its production to cheaper venues, seeking tax breaks, denying the working class stiffs here tens-of-thousands of jobs, but never mind.

Nobody, furthermore, expresses solidarity or takes a knee for the dozens of black men killed in the past few weeks in Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Los Angeles, etc. But, then, of course, they were killed by other black men, so their back lives do not matter to anybody except to themselves. There will be no crowded funerals, no demands for justice, no mass protests: no violations of Covid lockdowns.

As part of the current hoax and hysteria we have the growing demand to "defund the police." We have cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and Minneapolis already taking the first tentative steps on that journey. We see them pledging the funds that would have gone to the police to progressive programs and organizations, including the criminal Black Lives Matter. Must pay the Dane not to rampage through our villages! Destroy that other town, not this one! We are on your side!

Now, of course, the progos are not really going to defund the police. They are lying. They are going to do something infinitely worse. After all, most of the country does not need police forces; thanks to the Second Amendment we can protect ourselves, and in most of America violent crime is quite rare.

The progos will not disband the police, they will REPLACE the police. With what, you ask? The answer is on the tip of my tongue . . . those of you familiar with China and Iran know the answer . . . yes, yes . . . help me out . . . ah, Red Guards! Or Revolutionary Guards!

They will get rid of those cops now on the payroll and replace them with lefty hacks. We already see some of this in England, where it seems many cops spend more of their time on the internet monitoring and suppressing "hate speech" than on the streets suppressing the guys with knives and acid. The lefties will have police revolutionary forces to prevent impure thoughts, and disallowed expressions and demonstrations. "Citizen, you are exhibiting excessive white privilege. You must pay a fine or go to reeducation camp."

That is the future the progos want for us.

Once they replace the cops, you choose how you will receive the Dane: with geld or lead?

Friday, June 5, 2020

Defund the University

The latest Democrat "talking/screaming point"? Defund the police.

Yes, because nothing says you love poor people more than putting them in the hands of criminals. The same folks who tell us we citizens should not have guns, and only the police should, now want to do away with the police. Makes sense. Well, makes sense to advocate that if you are a criminal organization, and there no longer can exist any doubt but that the Democrat party comprises America's biggest criminal organization.

Nancy Pelosi, will you "defund" the wall around your palatial estate in San Francisco? Disarm your guards?

But, OK, as long as we have gone into the libertarian mode of cutting government services, I would suggest, for starters, that we defund public education, especially the universities.

In fact, I would argue that society would be much better off by closing all the public universities permanently.

What, after all, gets taught in those institutions? Garbage, pure and simple, hateful garbage. The little darlings are taught to hate their race, their people, their country, their history. They are taught hate. No need for taxpayers to support Anitfa recruiting centers. Shut down the public universities and remove all tax breaks from the rest. Let's see how many nonsense courses and "professors" can survive free market competition.

Learn to code, dears; better yet, learn to dig ditches; learn to do something useful with those bricks in your hands.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

So, Whatever Happened to that Virus Thing?

I don't know.

Maybe I am getting both old and confused, but I think it was just a few days ago that the wise ones were telling us that for the good of us all, especially for the old folks, the children, the very existence of Gaia, we needed to stay locked up in our lairs, trembling with fear but also full of gratitude for those "first responders" out there protecting us.

We had to stay home, wear a mask, avoid crowds. Those miscreants in places such as Lansing, Michigan who marched on the state capitol demanding to be allowed to go back to work were all just "Covidiots." Within a a couple of weeks of those armed (horrors!) rallies we would all get a massive spike in lethal CORONA VIRUS!!! They brought guns! They were going to massacre us all! Well, of course, in the end they shot nobody, looted no stores, left no trash . . . but never mind. Just another little glitch in the prediction model, let's move on . . .

Seems, however, just perhaps, that whole virus thing is over.

All very confusing . . .

While churches and synagogues all over the country are not allowed to hold services, I see states holding mass funerals for George Floyd in packed buildings. Here in North Carolina, our Democrat Governor has told us we can't open up the gyms or hold a Republican National Convention, should all be wearing masks, and practising "social distancing"; this intellectual giant, however, just tore off his own mask and joined the "George Floyd" protestors demanding, well, whatever it is they're demanding . . . it seems to me that not only is the virus "over" but that, since he is governor of the state, he could do whatever it is the "protestors" want without having to go out on the street and protest . . . all very odd,  but never mind, let's grab our cellphones, film ourselves being "brave," and move on . . .

And, oh yes, before I forget, those first responders are now evil!

Also, I guess, leftist protestors and street thugs are immune to the ChiCom virus.

Who woulda thunk it?

Time to move on to another hoax to make sure the economy does not recover and Orange Man Bad gets out of office and we can return to all the healing of the Obama/Biden years . . .

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Democrats Hold Early Convention

The Diplomad has received the following bulletin from the DNC:

The world's oldest political party, the Democrat Party, has decided to celebrate its successful handling of Trump's Corona Virus outbreak with an early holding of its National Convention. Showing, once again, that this party defies convention and stultifying ritual, the Convention is not being held in just one city.

According to DNC Spokeshuman, Mohammed Javier Sandra Rothstein-Mobuto (personal pronoun 'Ze'), "We have borrowed the idea from the World Soccer Cup, and we will be and are holding events all across the country. We, furthermore, will hold these events in what we call 'Spontaneous Mode.'" Mohammed Javier Sandra Rothstein-Mobuto explained that this concept frees delegates and their assistants to participate at times and places of their own choosing, and not get locked into a top-down dictated schedule and venue.

Mohammed Javier Sandra Rothstein-Mobuto also described the innovative approach that delegates are taking to personal attire. The Spokeshuman explained that delegates have empowered personal assistants to engage in "open shopping." That means, ze explained, "Our people are not held to arbitrary and oppressive store hours or long lines at cash registers. We, however, encourage our shoppers to wear masks for their protection."

Ze noted that the delegates and their shoppers want the convention events to have a classy touch, so they are engaging in "open shopping" at outlets for Gucci, Rolex, Nike, Apple, and other brands and at high-end stores traditionally reserved only for those who can pay for them. That does not mean, ze went on, that, "We are ignoring traditional providers such as 7-11, Dollar, and small businesses all over the country. Our shoppers will visit them, as well." Ze stressed that delegates, because of their deep interest in current events, will also be shopping for HD large-screen TVs at Target and elsewhere.

Delegates and assistants will go on full alert for efforts by white supremacists and Russian agents to infiltrate the festivities.

Mohammed Javier Sandra Rothstein-Mobuto promised that this will prove the best and most colorful party convention since 1968.

Ze rejected long-standing accusations from old cranks, e.g., The Diplomad, that the Democrats are the traditional party of lynch mobs (Here).

End Text

I will be responding to the charge that I am an old crank.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Minneapolis Burning

Re the ongoing violence in Minneapolis, I am reluctant to chime in on these sorts of stories because the "known facts" almost always get significantly modified as time passes. Think back to Ferguson; to Jussie Smollet; to Nick Sandmann; to Richard Jewell; and, of course, to the Russian collusion/Ukranian quid-pro-quo hoaxes. Interestingly enough, the people almost always wrong on these stories are the ones who push these stories the hardest.

So what do we know, or, at least, think we know?

Well, so far, we know that a white cop, Derek Chauvin, in the process of arresting a black man, George Floyd, for passing forged $20 bills, killed that suspect. The video--there's always video--is grotesque, and shows that Chauvin CLEARLY used excessive and inappropriate force in the arrest. If the video making the rounds is the complete story, then Chauvin deserves arrest, and probably should face something greater than the third-degree murder/manslaughter charges he now faces. It also seems that Chauvin has a history of excessive force, and probably should not have been a police officer. I doubt that kneeling on a passive suspect's neck is an approved restraining process.

Chauvin and Floyd might have known each other from a security gig they undertook at the same time at a local club. If that's true, there might exist something more personal in Chauvin's behavior towards Floyd, which, perhaps, would justify elevating the charges even further, i.e., premeditated murder?

None of us, of course, knows at this stage whether race proved a factor, whether Chauvin is a racist, and whether he would have used the same brutal tactics against a white suspect.

Lots of unanswered questions.

Those questions, of course, do not get answered by burning down businesses, stealing large-screen TVs, or breaking into ATMs--all activities undertaken by some of the "protestors." The media has been, as usual, completely disgusting on the story. They seem unable to condemn police brutality AND condemn the behavior of looters destroying local businesses already hard-hit by the insane ChiCom virus lock-down.

In addition, the media, and the Dems, along with the fascists at Twitter, are deliberately misinterpreting Trump's tweet about "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Who doubts the wisdom of that statement? Is it true? Of course it is. It is a simple statement of fact. Nothing more.

I find laughable the furious attempts to blame Trump for the violence in yet another Dem-run city and state. Face it, the major urban centers are run by Democrats, and are cesspools of violence, high-taxes, fleeing middle classes, poverty, and, yes, RACISM.

Minneapolis, once a terrific place, has become just another in a long-line of those Democrat cesspools.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Hong Kong

I loved Hong Kong.

It was one of the great places on the planet. Nowhere near, of course, as neat and clean as Singapore, but lively, vibrant, an adrenaline rush, and overwhelming to the senses. I found the people there, although hard-working and determined to get ahead, friendly and polite. The non-stop 24hr food, the bargains, the pure capitalist joy of the place were something to partake. I visited HK several times both before and after the 1997 hand-over; the change in the city was dramatic, and not for the good.

I remember discussing Hong Kong with a Canadian diplomatic colleague--also a big fan of Hong Kong--some three years after the hand-over. I said the change in the city was palpable. The first thing I had noticed was the police force. The English-language comprehension in that force had dropped perceptibly. My friend, who had worked in HK for some time, agreed, and said that yes, indeed, the police force was being replaced gradually by personnel from the Mainland with a much lower level of education and professionalism, and much less regard for legal niceties. In addition, it seemed clear to us that Beijing promoted Shanghai and other Mainland cities as investment alternatives to HK to diminish the importance of the old Crown Colony. We were both very pessimistic about the future; neither one saw HK maintaining its "two systems" status until 2047, as required in the hand-over treaty.

It seems that our pessimism has proven justified. Beijing looks determined to annihilate Hong Kong as a beacon of democracy and hope. The frightened bully plutocrats of the CCP are on something of a rampage these days, be it on the border with India, in the South China sea, and, of course, in Hong Kong. Can Taiwan be far behind?

We have to break our reliance on China and do it ASAP. SecState Pompeo's announcement on our recognition of what is going on in Hong Kong is a good first step, and an affirmation that the Trump administration recognizes reality as the basis for a foreign policy.

Fellow blogger Lorenzo has an excellent piece on China, and its bully-boy policies. Well worth reading (here).

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Back, Sort of . . .

Nightmare dealing with GoDaddy.com. They apparently "mistakenly" assigned thediplomad.com domain to another account, and that account holder deleted the account, but still retains control of the domain name. Right. So I am back to blogspot.com for now. I can't link to my old pieces unless I go in and change each address, I guess.

Anyhow, I will keep working on it. If you can get the word out to the other five or six readers, I would much appreciate it.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Not a Whiff of Scandal . . . Yeah, Right, Joe. Sure thing . . .

OK. I was going to write a long warm up/intro to the main topic of this piece, but my anger level kept rising. In light of that, therefore, let me drop the preparatory suiting up, the chase, as well, and cut right to the kill: the Obama-Biden misadministration was the most corrupt and destructive in the long history of our republic. The Obama-Biden years, as this humble and inconsequential blog has long-declared, were an unmitigated disaster. Period.

In terms of vulgar corruption, no other Presidency comes close: not Grant; not Arthur; not Harding. When it comes to assault on basic liberties and institutions, likewise, no other administration can even approximate that by the Obama-Biden misadministration: not Adams; not Wilson; not FDR; and certainly not Nixon.

Joe "Basement" Biden, the presumptive nominee of the world's oldest political party for US President, has for years irritatingly and falsely regaled us with a line some staffer fed him, along with his daily Prevagen dose, that the Obama-Biden administration "never had even a whiff of scandal."

Right, Joe. Sure. Keep saying that until even you believe it.

For the rest of us, well . . . those scandal-free Obama-Biden years exist, if at all, only in a Hollywood/Marvel Comics alternate universe. The late and unlamented Obama-Biden misadministration that I remember had another storyline all together: one of major scandals from the start to the end of its horrid eight-year tenure. Rewind to 2009. Then run the ol' memory projector forward: the scandals come in a rush, a jumble so thick and complex that it proves tough to keep them straight. You will always miss at least one, no matter how often you play the tape. To list all the scandals would require, in Professor Reynolds' phrase, "a much bigger blog." It, however, would make a great drinking game.

We have even before inauguration: corrupt Obama real estate dealings. Unclear educational background. Dealings with terrorists and other America-haters. Murky personal history throughout. Once in office, in no particular order: Solyndra. Benghazi. Egypt. Fake Iran deal. Clinton Foundation "pay-for-play." Billions in Haiti aid funds missing. Uranium deal with Putin. Kowtowing to Castro and Chavez/Maduro. Kowtowing to China. Destruction of the US military.

At home, political opponents had to face: Obama-Biden-DNC deals with foreign agents to attack and smear those opponents. IRS weaponized. ATF weaponized. DOJ weaponized. FBI weaponized. NSA weaponized. CIA weaponized. FISA court weaponized. All this with the complicity of the legacy mass media, and the tech companies that control the new media. It goes on and on.

In short, the Obama-Biden misadministration did not have a "whiff" of scandal, it had an eye-watering, gagging, choking, diesel fuel fed smoking dumpster fire of scandal.

Joe Biden, an old-time Democrat party corruptocrat, has tried to adopt the speech, memes, and look of the new Democrat party corruptocrats (here). He has never stood for anything except for Joe Biden, an ambitious plagiarist, crook, and liar. As a Senator, he spent much of his time running for President, and when that crashed, leading a lynch mob against Justice Thomas. He also used the Senate to get rich from Delaware-based credit card companies; he used the Vice Presidency to make his family rich with corrupt deals in China and Ukraine. Throughout it all, he has been a liar, a fabulist of the first order. While the press try to dismiss his utterances as mere "gaffes," Biden actually utters lie after lie, and has done so for decades. He tells so many falsehoods that we, to be kind, could conclude that he lives in a delusional world wherein lie and truth prove inseparable. We, for example, now know Biden took part in the persecution of General Flynn, but he lies about it. He once claimed to have opposed taking out Osama bin-Laden, but now denies ever saying that. All this quite aside from the fact that he clearly suffers from rapidly diminishing mental capacities; has uncontrollable and irrational bursts of macho-affirming anger; seems a serial sexual harasser of women; and has "odd"--to say the least--behavior around children.

As repulsive a character as ever strode the American political stage, Biden is the Frankenstein's monster produced by the fusion of body parts from the old and the new Democrat party.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Something Different: A 1970 Memory & Little Richard Rocks On

I didn't realize that Little Richard had died until a friend, knowing what a big fan I was, sent me a message telling me the sad news. To my shame, frankly, I just assumed he had died long ago, but subsequently felt glad to read that he had continued rocking almost to the very end.

Musical geniuses and master showmen, he and Chuck Berry were my rock-and-roll heroes. They captured the confused moods and feelings of youth better than anybody else. I probably owned every album Little Richard made, and wish I still had them. Little Richard's "Lucille," in particular, is a masterpiece of youthful angst delivered with a great musical backdrop, that unmatchable Little Richard singing style, and the right dose of humor--all light-hearted fun.

He had a deserved reputation as an eccentric, even a weirdo, at a time when America frowned upon eccentricities. With his heavy use of pancake make-up, aka "white face," most of us probably did not even know Little Richard was black. We kept hearing rumors that he was homosexual or even a hermaphodite. For a time, he had a bigger following in the UK, which then considered eccentricity endearing--I don't know about now when weirdness has become the norm. He, however, was very much an American original; one of those talented but flawed humans our society throws onto the world stage every so often who then influences artists and culture all over the globe. An icon; one of the ultimate bad boys; an original "influencer." Unlike, however, so many of today's "influencers," this man had genuine talent! He could write, sing, and put on a great show.

As a high school senior, I tried to see him in concert some 50  years ago (!) at the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium on May 8, 1970. Located in the heart of seedy downtown LA, the definitely low-rent Olympic seemed a strange and wonderful place. My friends and I would go there to see boxing and wrestling, and even the late Reverend Ike, the "preacher of prosperity." The Olympic drew a raucous but generally good-natured crowd. On this occasion, however, just after Nixon's invasion of Cambodia and the Kent State shootings of a few days prior, the political and social scene had turned tense, nasty, really. This time, the youthful attendees, the dark flip side of the "hippies of love," came in a feisty, combative mood; the LAPD reciprocated. The cops would ram their big Harleys into the waiting throngs outside the Olympic, scattering us and knocking down those too slow to get out of the way. The crowd, in turn, would pelt the police with insults and a variety of objects. Once inside the darkened Olympic, undercover cops wrestled pot smokers to the floor; the lighting techs would shine their spotlights onto these struggles, stirring up the gathering even more.

The scene went from bad to worse. The warm-up acts faced constant interruption; some walked off. Rock impresario Bill Graham came out uttering soothing words of peace and love. He had a calming effect; the crowd's temperature dropped to an angry simmer.

That "calm" did not last.

When Graham introduced Little Richard, the audience went into a wild, rolling boil. The energy coming from Little Richard got doubled and tripled as it hit the packed floor. When Little Richard started banging out "Tutti Frutti," a frenzied mob surged forward. I don't know why, but Little Richard invited the screaming horde to join him dancing on stage: "Come on! Come on up! Come on!"

It didn't take long: under that leaping, gyrating weight, with a roar and in a cloud of dust, the stage collapsed. A large piece of audio equipment fell on Little Richard. His roadies helped him limp away.

The lights came on.

The cops declared the concert over, ordered us to disperse, and gruffly shepherded us out.

I never returned to the Olympic.

Ah, memories of pre-lock-down America.

Anyhow, Little Richard, RIP (Rock in Peace).

Friday, May 8, 2020

At Last! Flynn-dication! Extent of Obama-Biden Corruption Becomes Clearer Every Day . . .

I won't link to all the articles out there, but let me just state how delighted I am by the vindication, at long last, of Lt. Gen Michael Flynn. The whole bogus case against the General has come apart, and his prosecutors/persecutors are running for the hills.

It was a set-up from day one by Obama, his loyalists, and the complicit media machine.

The case against Flynn was the result of rampant, politically driven corruption in the DOJ and the FBI, and, let us not forget, in the White House. Clearly Obama,  Biden, Comey, and Rice and the rest of that disgusting crowd knew about the faked up move against Flynn, and the total fakery of the Russian collusion story.

It was a hoax.

Over in Congress, the lying liar Adam Schiff, as well, has got a lotta 'splannin' to do. He knew from testimony before his committee from "luminaries" such as Clapper, that no evidence existed of Trump-Putin collusion; he, along with the FBI and White House, knew the Steele dossier was a fake paid for by the DNC, and reliant in part on Russian disinformation. These people all knew this was a massive fraud but persisted in putting out the story, and launching a corrupt "investigation" nominally headed by the obviously mentally impaired Robert Mueller. They counted on the liberal media machine to provide cheers and encouragement, and prevent any in depth examination of the facts.

It is not much of an exaggeration to label the case of Michael Flynn as America's Alfred Dreyfus case.

Flynn is owed a huge apology and millions in compensation for what was done to him.  Totally disgusting.

Obama, Biden, Rice, Comey, etc., all belong in the slammer, and held personally liable for the outrageous crimes they committed against American citizens, Flynn being only one. They shredded the Constitution for their political gain.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Who was that Masked Man? Life in the Time of the ChiCom Virus ...

I gave up. I had sworn that no mask would hide the ol' Diplovisage in my heroic battle with the ChiCom virus. That vow, however, did not take into account the Diplowife's need to purchase a new vacuum cleaner at the local Costco. That once venerable institution of Big Boxing now has adopted a policy of allowing nobody in the building without a mask. When I heard that, I swore never to set foot again in that place until that absurd policy ended, but . . . well, see sentence three of this para . . .

We got some crappy blue masks from Amazon and off we went: cue William Tell Overture . . .

We looked like extras in a cheapo Netflix dystopian future movie. We joined a small spiritless crowd of other masked extras wandering in the cavernous expanse of Costco. While we walked, loud speakers regaled us with the latest revealed wisdom from the CDC. "Members! Remember to wear your masks. Members! Keep six feet apart!" We had marks on the floor to tell us in which direction to march and where to stand. While the Diplowife went off to look at vacuum cleaners, I wandered, careful to maintain my prescribed social distance, over to the meat counter. There a burly masked man in a white coat dispensed "one meat product per member!" to the beaten down throng in line. In America?!? You must stand in line to get "one meat product"? Did I get transported back to 1970s Georgetown, Guyana? Am I in Venezuela? Where is the portrait of Hugo Chavez? 1960s China? Where is Mao?

What is happening? All this because of a virus not much deadlier than the typical flu season . . . insanity driven by "experts" and their models . . .

This still being America, however, I retained access to my computer . . . at least for now, that is.

Bored, frustrated, angry, I did what Americans always have done in times of crisis . . . shop online.

Thank you, Al Gore!

I ordered this brand new baby from a Chevy dealer in Nashua, New Hampshire a few days before my Costco misadventure:

I wanted a black, manual transmission, ZO6 coupe; the Diplowife wanted a red, automatic transmission, Stingray, convertible . . . so we compromised. You can see the compromise: a red, automatic transmission, Stingray, convertible . . . sigh. In the three days or so I have had it, I have placed not quite 5 miles on it. The Diplowife says I can't drive the Stingray if it's going to rain; that might get water spots on it. I can't drive it when it's sunny; the pollen, you understand . . .

I have sat in it in the garage, paired my cell phone to the nifty entertainment center, and activated the satellite radio.

I hear the car drives great, but will have to read the reviews to find out . . .

You're welcome, America. Not all heroes wear capes . . .

Friday, May 1, 2020

Other than the ChiCom Virus, What?

OK, folks. Here I go again.

I will try to write about something other than the ChiCom virus and the disastrous global response to it based on the disastrous advice from disastrous "experts" and their disastrous models. I won't mention, either, the glee with which many lefties and their media mouthpieces have greeted the economic shutdown and how they resist ending it. I won't mention how the death tolls are padded and "infection rates" exploited, to wit, making them sound like "death rates," to keep us all cowering and crying for more government control over our lives. I won't mention, again, my long-standing warning that whenever the media and the political class seize a complex social or scientific issue, make slogans, foster activists, and create government programs to deal with the "issue" which now has become a "problem" . . . well, then, you better have the BS meter charged, tuned, and ready to go: that BS meter is sounding loud and clear right now--but I won't mention that, nope, not at all.

Well, let's neither talk about nor even mention the disaster produced by the exaggerated response to the ChiCom virus, e.g., the ventilator and hospital bed crises that never were. No. Let's talk about some other disasters.

Over three years ago, this humble blog labelled the Putin-Trump collusion story a hoax made up by the Democrats (here). Those of us who doubted the story proved right; all those prancing and preening commentators and politicos, e.g., Adam Schiff, who promoted it year after year proved not only wrong, but disastrously wrong. In fact, many of them knew it was a lie but, regardless, charged ahead with the "investigation." We now know that almost from the start of the story, the FBI leadership knew that Putin-Trump collusion did not exist; the FBI also knew that the info in the infamous Steele dossier, upon which 99.9% of the story rested, came from a Russian disinformation operation in conjunction with paid-for DNC fabrications. We know that the FBI lied to the FISA courts and got warrants based on this fake story. We also now know of a concerted plot to frame and nail National Security Advisor Lt. General Flynn, including the use of KGB-style tactics of threatening his family to push him into a guilty plea. The FBI agents and their supervisors knew that Flynn had not colluded with the Russians but decided to try to destroy the man as part of a larger plot to remove Trump from the White House.

This was a coup attempt, as this humble blog noted long ago (here).

Now, as this little and inconsequential blog also has long noted, leftist politics are all about the BIG LIE. The BIGGER the BETTER.

Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, and all the other leftist murderers, murderer-enablers, and haters of democracy and individual freedoms and rights who have appeared on the scene since, at least, the French Revolution, have relied on the massive lie. We have seen many such lies. In recent times, of course, one of the biggest, if not the biggest, is the man-made global climate change hoax. Once again, we see political activists parading as "experts," producing models that predict impending gloom and doom--and, prove wrong, wrong, wrong. That doesn't matter; the object is not to prove right, but to gain power over our lives using, once again, fear as a weapon. At that, the global climate change hoaxsters have proven very adept.

Another one of the great hoaxes has been the #MeToo (MT) movement. As with its big brother, global climate change, it starts with a legitimate concern--pollution in one case, sexual abuse in the other--and morphs into a political/social movement aimed at expanding governmental power over our lives, yes, once again, we see the drive for power. If we didn't need a reminder of the political motivations behind MT we have to look only at how its most ardent practitioners have treated Bill Clinton and Joe Biden; compare that to how we have seen them treat Justice Kavanaugh and, earlier, Justice Thomas with the lynch mob back then led by no less than then-Senator Joe Biden.  Couldn't make this stuff up . . .

To use the very words of the left in the Kavanaugh case, we have "credible" accusations that Senator Biden engaged in a sexual assault against a staffer, Tara Reade. This was not just some rude behavior; this appears to have been a full-on assault. There are reports from the era, unlike the Kavanaugh story. Biden has gotten a pass from most of the commentariat with only a soft-ball interview today, five weeks after the story broke. Is Reade telling the truth? I don't know. To use the standards of the left, we need to investigate, and not let Biden put limits on where the investigators can search. Believe all women, Joe! And, of course, that ol' rape-enabler Hillary Clinton has jumped in to endorse Biden. How does she have any credibility on sex assault issues?

OK. Getting ready to go off to a "gender reveal" party at my son's home in Raleigh. Apparently the child, in this case, at least, does not get to pick his/her/its gender. My son is a brutal dictator!

Friday, April 24, 2020

The ChiCom Virus: So, What Have We Learned?

Sorry for the long break from posting. Life, even in "lockdown" mode, got in the way, and, furthermore, I find myself more than fed up with what's happening; it gets harder and harder to write about it. And, of course, I had my snake "adventure," but that's a boring tale for another occasion.

Sorry, also, if I repeat myself. I certainly don't want to come off as a Joe Biden clone.

For those of you with a masochistic streak, you can go over this humble blog's posts for the last several weeks. I'll wait while you do that . . . With that all said, it seems some things bear repeating when it comes to the situation created by the ChiCom virus.

So, what have we learned over the past couple of months or so? In no particular order, I submit only a few things we might have learned, or better said, should have learned, or even relearned. You will have many others.

Don't Trust Communists 

I know, I know. That is a tough one, but, please try to keep in mind that Communists lie, and they lie big, real BIGLY. Their ideology and modus operandi rely on lies. Not only that, but you will find them more than willing, giddy, in fact, to see you and your family suffer and die in pursuit--"must break eggs to make an omelet, eh, Comrade"--of their goal to remake the world. Don't believe me? See, for example, the nonsense spewed by Cheapo-Commie AOC and her cohorts. They seem dizzy with glee over the prospect of remaking the nation on the backs of suffering workers. They don't want the economy to restart--but AOC, of course, won't give up her six figure salary. Look over, also, the media and see all those "liberal journalists" happy that the economy has gone into a stall; see how they portray folks who protest the stall, and want to go back to work. The Commies hate them for it, and openly cheer for the virus.

Now, you might ask, are all these people really Communists? Well, OK, no, I guess not, well not, at least, in the strict sense: they are too stupid to be real Communists. They don't know Marx, never having read him or the other "philosophers" of that horrid creed; they, furthermore, seem totally ignorant of the USSR, Venezuela, Cuba, and the other brilliant examples of Marxism in practice. The "liberal" media and punditry class come out of our decrepit institutions of "hire" learning--the correct term for places that charge an arm and a leg--which teach a downgraded, washed-out, ahistorical, lazy man's Marxism under various names, e.g., "feminism," "environmentalism," "social science," "race and gender studies," etc. At these institutions of hire learning, they learn a smug, ignorant cynicism, centered on a hatred for the West, which they seek to pass off as higher learning. We once called them "useful idiots." Time to bring back that very useful and accurate label.

The ChiComs, of course, are a lot smarter than our home-grown Commies. They prove more than willing to buy the rope from us with which to hang us--and we sold them a lot of rope over the past decades. In fact, we have gone even further: we subcontracted to them the rope-making business in the name of globalism, and to save a few bucks. These ChiComs, as we have seen, now wealthy thanks to the American Chamber of Commerce and their religious belief in "free trade," lied about the origin and contagiousness of the Wuhan virus. They allowed it to spread from Wuhan around the world. Then, with the Russians and Iranians chipping in, they have tried to flip the narrative: blame the US military, and offer "help" to countries affected by the virus. That help has consisted, in large part, of defective test kits and other faulty gear . . . and, well, you know the rest of the story. The Western pundits quickly parroted the ChiCom line out of ideological affinity, a shared hatred for America and the West, a desire to bring down Trump any way possible, old fashion bribery, and just sheer, smug stupidity.

The Experts are "Experts"  

I have written a lot about "experts," their models, and policy prescriptions, and how they have produced the dire predicament in which we find ourselves. I will try not to repeat it all, but, of course, will just a bit.

Our policies to "combat" the ChiCom virus have been driven and shaped by "experts" and their "models." That continues even as the "models" fail again and again in their predictions. Don't forget that "experts" can't even predict accurately the track of a hurricane from one day to the next, or the weather a couple of days out. That, however, doesn't stop them from telling us that we are all gonna die from Man-made Global Climate Cooling, Warming, Change, Whatever; that we will face more hurricanes, no, no, fewer hurricanes; stronger hurricanes, no, no weaker hurricanes; more snow, less snow, no snow; more floods, no, no, more drought . . . in other words, anything is possible and it's all because of human economic activity which must cease! The Climate, nee Weather, changes! That's never happened before!

Those same sort of models produced the wildly disparate predictions about the course and impact of the ChiCom virus. The models failed miserably, so much so that we now see the "experts" busily adjusting the data--i.e., rewriting the past--to fit the models as much as possible. They want the models to predict the past. We see, for example, NYC padding the death toll; we see any death involving a diagnosis of ChiCom virus attributed to the ChiCom virus. We also see NYC and other places, e,g, Spain, adding in "suspected" ChiCom virus deaths. We saw a similar stunt during the AIDS/HIV "epidemic" during which the "experts" and their models predicted tens-of-millions, nay, hundreds-of-millions of deaths striking regardless of race, sex, or sexual orientation. That, of course, did not happen. Not even close.

The "experts," in fact, more times than not, turn out to be political activists with a decidedly leftist bent. These "experts," and their media allies, have stampeded the government into the current lockdown.

As more and more data become available, it seems clear that enormous numbers of people have been exposed to the ChiCom virus and not gotten ill, much less died. The hospitals have not been overwhelmed. We see a fatality rate, never very high outside of a few metro areas, continuing to drop. It seems headed for flu-type levels of mortality.

To sum up, a real expert is somebody who can keep a farm running, or fix a complex piece of machinery, or build a house, or keep a fleet of trucks on the road, or pick off an enemy sniper at 600 meters. Those are true experts. They produce tangible results. Getting a university credential from "experts" does not make you an expert, it makes you an "expert."

The Economy and Future Are Being Sacrificed

We are destroying the greatest economy in the world in the name of "fighting" the ChiCom virus. That must stop, now.

We will find it easier to throw the OFF switch than to throw the ON switch. I found this out, in a much less dramatic setting, as Charge of the embassy in Indonesia. We had threats coming in almost daily from Islamist extremists. Should we close the Embassy in response? I have written before about the need to balance risk against gain. We had to balance the risk of staying open against achieving the mission we had been sent to do. On one occasion we got a very specific and credible threat: I closed the Embassy. That was the easy part. Getting it back open? A bureaucratic nightmare. Nobody in DC wanted to sign off on reopening. It took a bit, but we kept insisting, and finally got the OK to go back to work. The bureaucracy let me know, however, that it was my head if something untoward happened.

We are in the same situation now; well, let me clarify that, a situation much more serious than just a few overseas bureaucrats at risk. We have put the entire nation and its future at risk, and the prospects get evermore dire the longer we hold off reopening the economy.

Let people use common sense. Isn't that what freedom's about? Taking a chance?

Giving Totalitarian Crazies a Precedent 

Diploson number two (DS2), who's become quite a sage in a H.L. Mencken or Eric Hoffer sort of way, said that what worried him the most about the "lockdown" by government fiat due to a "health emergency" was the precedent it set. He noted that we could easily in the next few years get some enviro-wackos in control who would declare an "environmental emergency" and shut down the economy or those portions of which they did not approve. 

I think Young DS2 has grabbed onto something quite real. We already see dramatic overreach in places such as Michigan and Virginia where Governors issue all sorts of restrictive edicts of questionable legality. The Mayor of NYC has sought to establish Cuban-style neighborhood watches composed of snitches. We have seen this sort of overreach before at the Federal level with Woodrow Wilson and FDR. Now, however, we have established that the whole country can be shut down on the basis of questionable "expert" information. 

Time to end this and get legislation in place to make sure this sort of overreaction does not happen again. 

Off to walk my dogs.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Now for Something Different: Couple of Non-ChiCom Virus Stories

The ChiCom virus and the hyper-exaggerated, politically, and economically destructive response to it, driven by fraudulent "expert models," have sucked almost all of the oxygen out of the news world. It is hard to focus on anything other than endless Covid-19 stories, both real, e.g., hospitals not overwhelmed, growing evidence of ChiCom perfidy, and fake, e.g., NYC padding the death totals. In the interest, therefore, of public mental health, this little blog will try to come up with a couple or so stories that normally would have occupied the headlines, but have gone almost ignored.

I will not even mention the ChiCom virus, not once will I mention the ChiCom virus epidemic that came from a lab in Wuhan, China, and was covered up by the Chinese Communist Party and their allies in the WHO. Nope. Not going to mention that stuff, at all. You will find no mention of that, or of Pelosi's February invite for everyone to come party in San Francisco's Chinatown, or of the Democrats' savage criticism of Trump for shutting travel to and from China, or of how the EU failed to do that until too late, or of the WHO's outrageous treatment of Taiwan. Nah.

I won't even mention those Democrats now crying that Trump should have shut down the country in February: so, then, let's see, he should have suspended the impeachment trial and the primaries, and sent everybody home? How would those same Dems have reacted to that? Not even going to mention it . . . Nope. So, in summary, let's not mention the ChiCom virus, and talk about something else

Maduro. According to the US Department of Justice Venezuela's Thug-in-Chief, Nicolas Maduro, and fourteen associates have been charged, "with narco-terrorism, corruption, drug trafficking and other criminal charges. Maduro and other high ranking Venezuelan officials allegedly partnered with the FARC to use cocaine as a weapon to 'flood' the United States."
“The Venezuelan regime, once led by Nicolás Maduro Moros, remains plagued by criminality and corruption,” said Attorney General Barr. “For more than 20 years, Maduro and a number of high-ranking colleagues allegedly conspired with the FARC, causing tons of cocaine to enter and devastate American communities. Today’s announcement is focused on rooting out the extensive corruption within the Venezuelan government – a system constructed and controlled to enrich those at the highest levels of the government. The United States will not allow these corrupt Venezuelan officials to use the U.S. banking system to move their illicit proceeds from South America nor further their criminal schemes.”

“Today we announce criminal charges against Nicolás Maduro Moros for running, together with his top lieutenants, a narco-terrorism partnership with the FARC for the past 20 years,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. “The scope and magnitude of the drug trafficking alleged was made possible only because Maduro and others corrupted the institutions of Venezuela and provided political and military protection for the rampant narco-terrorism crimes described in our charges. As alleged, Maduro and the other defendants expressly intended to flood the United States with cocaine in order to undermine the health and wellbeing of our nation. Maduro very deliberately deployed cocaine as a weapon. While Maduro and other cartel members held lofty titles in Venezuela’s political and military leadership, the conduct described in the Indictment wasn’t statecraft or service to the Venezuelan people. As alleged, the defendants betrayed the Venezuelan people and corrupted Venezuelan institutions to line their pockets with drug money.”
That should prove a big story, but . . . well, I look forward to the reaction from Oliver Stone and Noam Chomsky, oh, yes, and Bernie Sanders. Shall we hold our collective breath?

Speaking of Bernie. The November elections? Anybody remember those? I guess ol' Bernie "Honeymoon in the USSR" Sanders has dropped out. I saw some weird split screen on TV with Bernie on one side and Dopey Joe on the other in which Bernie "endorsed" Joe, and basically sold out his legion of ardent followers. At first I thought it was a trailer for a reboot of the old Walther Mathau - Jack Lemmon "Grumpy Old Men" movie franchise. Not clear to me that Bernie did the old Gaius Gracchi exit of falling on his servant's sword. Nah. He's going to keep his millions and three houses. See'ya suckers!

How about the other big story? The FBI knew that the Steele dossier was not only a fake, but was, at least in part, a product of a Russian "disinformation" operation to gum up the US elections. The FBI knew that, went ahead with its absurd investigation of "Trump-Putin" collusion, ruined lives, and lied to the courts. The FBI and the loons in the Democrat Party put the country through nearly three years of hell for nothing. Almost no reaction in the press or from the believers in this absurd "investigation"  now that the whole thing has been debunked.

Headlines? Nah, not these stories, not in the the prog media. But, imagine if someone abroad were to unleash a "pandemic," and force the West to shut down, would the Dems and the media echo chamber get upset?  I guess that's just a rhetorical or hypothetical question since that could and would never happen . . .

Saturday, April 11, 2020

One Flu Over the Cuckoos' Guess & Xi Said, so He Said

Enough is enough. More than enough. Much more!

All over the Western world, we have shut-down the economy, and damaged and perhaps destroyed irrevocably many of our fundamental rights and freedoms, all because of ChiCom lies and incompetence, and well-financed Western "modelers" and "experts" passing off guesses and political agendas as some sort of "science." Our elected officials have ceded their powers to these so-called "scientists" and technocrats. We, the people, suffer for it.

As I have said many times before, "science" and "scientists" ain't the same thing. A fast and easy definition of "science" is, "a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe." Is that what we have in dealing with the ChiCom virus? Hardly. We have in many respects the same sort of pseudo-science that exists in the Global Climate Change scam: a bunch of models that predict nothing, based, at best, on erroneous assumptions, i.e., guesses, and data changed to suit the winds not of nature but of politics and funding. As with the Global Climate Change nonsense, the "theories" or "models" in the ChiCom virus pandemic are not falsifiable, in other words, they do not make "testable explanations and predictions."

Never forget, anybody can call himself a "scientist," just as anybody can become a "journalist," or a "consultant." "Scientists," even good ones, have obligations, personal aspirations, political agendas, and, let us not forget, egos just as much as anybody else does. They need to pay the mortgage, too. Throughout history, we find "scientists" going where money, power, and prestige beckon.

Recent decades, of course, have seen an explosion in the population of "scientists." Look at how many college majors have the word "science" attached to their description. We have gone well beyond the white-haired chemist or physicist thinking deep thoughts while conducting replicable and falsifiable experiments. We have the political activist posing as the concerned and caring expert; we have the bureaucrat protecting his fief posing as the expert. We live in an era of mountebanks with access to enormous megaphones and power.

Democracy dies as the "experts" and their models spin their tales.

Be wary, my friends, of the "experts."

Back to the ChiComs.

Now there you have some experts, real ones, in spinning a story and getting their version out and about. The ChiComs have found the "experts" at the WHO very useful; these "experts" repeated Beijing's lies about the virus and praised China's efforts to handle it. I have worked with the "experts" at the WHO, and other UN agencies. Look, some good and well-meaning people do work in those agencies, but the majority? Well, not terribly smart in their alleged fields, and are just well-paid (tax-free) bureaucrats playing very complex political games within their organizations. The vast majority has a definitely leftist bent, with considerable antipathy towards the USA, even if we serve as the biggest source of most of these agencies' ample budgets. On the ground, these "experts" don't do very much, aside from engage in self-promotion, get driven around in Land Cruisers, issue an occasional press release, and live in expensive hotels. The ChiComs quickly realized this, and became masters at exploiting this situation for their own propaganda purposes. The Chinese have proven infinitely better at it than the heavy-handed and clumsy Soviets, who, in all fairness, lacked the huge Chinese foreign currency reserves and the well-coordinated and aggressive political, investment, and trade policies.

It came as no surprise that the current head of the WHO, virulently anti-American (and anti-Taiwan) Ethiopian Communist Dr. Tedros Adhanom, would side with the Communist Chinese, take his talking points from President Xi, and help him and the CCP cover-up their responsibility for the epidemic. The good doctor, by the way, has a track-record of covering up epidemics in his native country. People such as this clown get these flashy jobs because the USA traditionally does not pay much attention to the UN's specialized agencies--to our regret, as we see. We should either get very involved, given how much money we put in, or, better yet, get out of the whole UN nonsense entirely.

There. And, I don't claim to be an "expert," just somebody who has been around a while.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Absurd . . . on Steroids

OK. Regular readers--all six of you--know my view of the current "lock-down to save humanity" from a not particularly deadly virus of ChiCom origins. Won't go into all that, again, and how we are being misled by camera-loving "experts" with kooky models that predict nothing accurately.

No. Won't do that.

This post is about something much, much smaller than the fate of the humanity, or even of our economy. It is about me, and my latest suffering at the hands of the "experts."

The Diplowife decided today that we needed to buy one of those electric grills, you know, the George Foreman sort of thing to accompany our regular gas BBQ. I don't question orders. So, we jumped into the ol' Jeep and headed into the sunny and nearly deserted streets of lovely Wilmington, North Carolina. Off we went to Walmart. We arrived at a nearly empty parking lot and walked into the cavernous building and went looking for an electric grill. We quickly discovered why the store, which was very fully stocked, was nearly devoid of customers.

Whole sections of the place had been cordoned off by what I call "Crime Scene Tape."

Little printed signs hanging from the tape explained that in compliance with orders from the authorities of New Hanover County prohibiting the sale of non-essential items, all sections of the store which sold said nonessential items had been closed. No bikes. No toys. No sports gear or wear. No video games. No kitchen goods . . . and, of course, NO ELECTRIC GRILLS!

They had them. We could see them just out of reach on the other side of the crime scene tape. But like the inhabitants of some Communist or otherwise Third World regime, we were only allowed to look at the fancy goods; we could not touch them, much less buy them! Our grill-buying dollars worthless in our pockets. Much like they're all going to be if we keep issuing trillion dollar "rescue" packages and not re-open the economy.

In a foul mood, we returned to the Jeep and--FLASH!--decided to head to the local Lowe's DIY warehouse. Ha! The edicts of the New Hanover County "authorities" seemed not to apply inside Lowe's!

Grills everywhere! Gas! Charcoal! Wood! And, yes, electric! We quickly placed a giant one in our cart and slithered out to the cashier . . . casting nervous glances over our shoulders, fearing at any moment that the New Hanover Non-Essential Enforcers would come crashing down on us. But, no, we paid and made it to our Jeep and home. I assembled the thing and there it sits: a gleaming red and silver trophy of defiance!

We took on Dr. Fauci's model and won! Take that ChiCom virus! We won't stop buying electric grills . . . made in China, btw.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Risky Business

All this ChiCom Virus insanity has me mulling over the idea of "risk" and its management.

There's a ton of stuff out there about "risk" and "risk management." I read a lot of it in my college econ classes and in the econ course I took at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI)--and, of course, every book about wars has at least an implied look at risk and the calculations made to deal with it. I have long had a fascination with the concept of "risk," and find interesting how humans in different endeavors try to manage risk, to balance it against gain or opportunity.

I will not get too philosophical or delve into complex models of "risk management." I have long expressed doubts in other postings about models that seek to explain a variety of human enterprises and predict behavior and outcomes. Let's face it, scientists can't even predict with any great accuracy the track of a hurricane, much less tell us about "global warming/cooling/change/ whatever." I am going to ramble a bit on some of my own experience with "risk management." Not very interesting, so you can stop reading right about now. Or maybe now. Or now.

One of the more unusual jobs I had in my Foreign Service career took place in Panama, 1997-2000. As we prepared to hand over the Canal and our military bases to the Panamanians in accord with the Carter-Torrijos Treaties, we ran into the issue of unexploded ordnance (UXO) on a few of the old firing ranges (some not very accurate leftoid articles about it: here, here, and here.) I got the job of leading the U.S. team negotiating with the Panamanians over the UXO issue. It was rough. The Panamanians proved extremely unreasonable and, at least, pretended not to understand the concept of "risk." I gave, even if I say so myself, some very good speeches and wrote some good papers on the topic. The point I sought to make to the Panamanians, and to the lefty commentators in the US, was that Panama was getting a great deal with minimal risk, a "risk" that could be easily managed. The risk of death from UXO was extremely low; the US military had done a terrific job cleaning up the old firing ranges. There were a very few, very isolated spots where it was not possible to certify the land as fit for human habitation. The military fenced those off, identified them with lots of signage, trained Panamanians in what to do with any UXO  they found, and often poured tons of dirt, gravel, and sand over the most "dangerous" areas. When, however, such a spot had been identified, the Panamanians almost always would announce that on that precise location they planned to build a school or a playground. One small and remote area, in particular, had some ten feet of sand poured on to it; we told the Panamanians that it was not possible to do anything more with that site; they immediately unveiled plans to place a school there, and to dig down eleven feet. I remember telling them in one raucous meeting, "Don't do that! You'll blow yourself up!" I was the pride of the diplomatic corps, yes, indeed.

In the end, nothing happened. We did not pay the billions the Panamanians wanted in "compensation" for the UXO; they took the billions worth of property and technology, instead, and, of course, nobody built playgrounds or schools on top of unexploded 60mm rounds. Not even the goofy Clinton administration would give the Panamanians even more than we were already giving. Risk identified. Risk handled.

In subsequent years, as DCM and Charge of a couple of embassies during the height of the war on terror, I had responsibility for thousands of people. We would get intel all the time telling us that the Embassy and Americans were being targeted. What to do? Should we shut down every time we got these reports? Shelter in place? Run screaming into the night and for the airport? No. We took sensible precautions and carried on with our mission. Combat veterans know about this much better than I: in combat, soldiers have to make rational decisions about risk in the midst of an irrational environment. They have to weigh the mission against the danger.

In recent decades, Western society has become increasingly risk averse. The legal codes of our societies are packed with regulations governing everything from seat belts and bike helmets to building codes and the running of nuclear plants. Some of that, of course, makes sense, some proves excessive. Overregulation, for example, appears hindering the search for a "cure" or a vaccine for the current ChiCom virus epidemic.

That brings us to perhaps the greatest example of grotesque "risk" aversion: the current economic shut-down in response to the ChiCom virus. We have closed down the greatest engine of prosperity in the history of the world in order to "fight" a virus that, while highly contagious, is not particularly deadly to the general population. This flight from "risk" is proving catastrophic: we will suffer the effects of this strategy for a long, long time. We have a political-technocratic class that will oppose ending the shut-down no matter when. They will bombard us with tales of this or that person who fell ill from the ChiCom virus after returning to work. The "experts" will lecture us on "science," and regale us with their increasingly discredited "models." They will tell us that we risk blood for money, profit over people. Yeah, yeah.

Well, as a member of one of the most "at risk" groups, i.e., old fart with underlying medical conditions, let me tell you something about creating massive poverty by closing the economy, "NOT IN MY NAME!" There you have it, a lefty slogan repurposed.

Let's get back to work. We can handle the "risk."

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Broken Record

From the beginning of this ChiCom virus crisis (here, for example, a posting from January 27) this humble blog has expressed great doubts about the seriousness of the current epidemic/pandemic. I have been shouting to the computer screen that the data, as biased as they are, DO NOT show what the media and the "experts" are telling us.

That data produced by "experts" screaming about DOOM do not comply with the models produced and relied upon by those very same "experts." Simply put, people are not and have not been dying at the rates and in the numbers the models have been predicting. The mortality rate, even if we accept the highly improbable assumption that all who die with the ChiCom virus in their system died from the ChiCom virus, is about the same for a bad flu season, and is declining. The hospitals in the USA are not overwhelmed, not even in New York, the so-called "epicenter" of the virus in America. In fact, CBS news, pioneers in fake news drama of our times, had to rely on footage from an Italian hospital, and pass it off as that from an American hospital.

Yes, if you are an old fart with underlying conditions--such as your humble blogger--you are at greater risk from this virus than if you're a young'un. That, however, is true with just about any illness you care to name.

The Communist Chinese lied about the origins and contagiousness of the virus. No doubt. They withheld critical data that could have helped Western "experts" see how serious or not of a problem we might face in countries with modern medical services. As I have noted before, the cover-up was worse than the crime; the ChiComs could not let the world see how bad China's public health and medical services are. Living conditions in most of China are dire, miserable, really. No matter what Bernie Sanders claims, China remains a poor country.

Western leaders, quick to panic, immediately shut down our economies to "fight" the virus. Instead of adopting common sense measures, and making sensible recommendations to the public, our leaders, bamboozled by the "experts" and the hair-on-fire media have begun dismantling our economies and societies in an effort to "protect" us.

Save us from our saviors!

From watching the latest White House Corona Virus press conference, it seems obvious that President Trump is realizing that his initial skepticism was correct. Notice how he kept interrupting Dr. Birx to stress that the infamous "curve" is not the same everywhere in the USA, and that measures appropriate for one part of our vast country might not be for another. I still have a slight hope that the President is going to start to turn this around.

We cannot keep waiting for another "rescue" package. We already see the Dems licking their chops about another multi-trillion dollar pork-fest concentrating on infrastructure. Great. Let's have the government take over the entire economy. Right. They are going to give us the Green New Deal whether we want it or not. The green, by the way, comes from the color of dollars and has nothing to do with saving Gaia.

Yes, without a doubt, keep insisting, demanding, requiring that basic manufacturing be returned to the USA. Let, if you want, the Communist Chinese keep their global dominance of the flip-flop market and cheap luggage. We'll take back the rest.

It is time to switch the lights back on before it is too late.

PS: I should have added this reference; it is from the always entertaining and educational No Pasaran blog which has an excellent piece on the bad math being used in the crisis.

Monday, March 30, 2020

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."

Thoroughly depressed.

Never thought it would come to this, not, at least, here in the USA.

Almost the whole country's, nay, the world's economy on lock-down because of a not particularly deadly virus? In the West a long tradition of human rights and freedom thrown out the window? Hunkered. Bunkered, Blinkered. All this because of a virus imported from the lying ChiComs?

We see the best U.S. President in our lifetimes stampeded by twisted, incomplete data, by floundering "experts," and by a twisted, completely worthless mass media and political class: the triumph of Pennsylvania Avenue politico-technocratic madness over Main Street commonsense.

Never forget, there is science and there are those who call themselves scientists. Not the same thing.


The President gave up on his hope that we could begin restarting the economy by Easter. The "lockdown" continues in our Quixotic quest against a not very particularly deadly virus; a quest headed by people wrong before about previous "existential" threats. Remember North Korea? SARS? MERS? HIV/AIDS? Ebola? Recurrent flu epidemics/pandemics? The last Rebel Wilson movie?

We survived them all without causing incalculable damage to our economy, life-styles, and basic freedoms. In the US, we have thrown out our Bill of Rights, in particular, the First Amendment. Yes, yes, before somebody chimes in, I realize that this legal opinion is probably accurate (h/t Instapundit): "the simple reality is this: federal courts will not enjoin temporary measures that are facially calculated to save lives." Doesn't mean that this is Right in the real sense, or that damage has not been done to the Constitution, and, of course, "temporary" is in the eye of the promoter, i.e., the bureaucracy and its multi-trillion dollar "rescue" packages using our money. If these "temporary" measures and "rescues" continue, soon we will not need to scrounge for toilet paper, we will use worthless $100 bills.

I do, nevertheless, understand the President's predicament. He will get blamed by the howling lefty mob for each and every infection and death, no matter what he does.

All you have to do is hear how Pelosi and Company are lying and distorting his previous words to know that politically he is in a bind. The fact, remains, however, that the data upon which we allegedly rely to drive our decision-making is horribly flawed. Do you really believe there are no new ChiCom virus cases in China? If so, do like the Dutch and the Spaniards have done, i.e., get testing kits and PPE from China . . . and then find they are worthless.

Per the data of the WHO, if the Communist Chinese have, in fact, stopped the virus dead, how'd they do it? What secret formula have they uncovered to stem the number of cases? I will tell you what it is: LIES. Simple, no? They lie, and the horribly compromised WHO and the media repeat that lie.

Even if we accept the data from more reliable countries, we find that the mortality rate appears heading south, down to flu-levels or below. This seems so even when you consider that just about anybody dying who has the virus gets listed as having died from the virus--something patently false.

Anyhow, keep washing your hands.

Hoppes 9 is a great cleaner . . .