The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Import-Export bludgeon

A couple years ago, conservatives on Capital Hill raised to our attention this slush fund called the Import Export Bank. Rafael "Ted" Cruz Junior, running for President at the time, led an effort to be rid of it.

Today, Mr Cruz and other Senators, including unfortunately one of mine from Colorado, want to use this bank to trammel American free speech and free association.

Now look: I am a Zionist. In fact I am Israeli enough by blood that I could have easily claimed Israeli citizenship when I was younger - a stint in their army, a little snip-snip, done. And I have opposed a boycott against this nation in the strongest terms within our Constitutional limits.

But jerks playing the boycott game at the individual level is a case for reverse-boycotting at the individual level. It is not a case for Federal law. It is especially not a case for using the Import-Export Bank as a tool to that end. To the extent it can be used as such a tool, it is exactly the reason a principled conservative should be redoubling efforts to be rid of it.

Cruz, for whose delegates I voted in the Colorado Assembly last year, is not behaving like a principled conservative. He needs to back out of this horrible bill.


posted by Zimri on 19:19 | link | 0 comments

Fear

The Declination writes about how the Left enforces its narrative: through charges of racism. If you are tagged with this charge, you lose money. Only people with financial independence can weather such a storm. In my case, I've frequently seen the need to lock out my blog; the last time I did that was, I think, 2011-12. So I can attest, if not directly to the social-price he mentions, at least to the fear of it.

Yesterday my place of employment invited a policeman to speak about active shooters: prevention and defence. I didn't have a problem with the latter (a Houston video, no less!). On the former, though, the cop offered some profiling statistics. 70% of these shooters are outsiders acting out a "Family Snapshot" video: I don't really hate you; I don't care what you do. Since that left 30% coworkers or former coworkers he asked us to be aware of some warning signs.

Among those warning signs was Trump support. Oh, the cop didn't call it that; he called it racism from youngish white males with a sense of entitlement and cognitive-dissonance. Especially if they are having Personal Problems.

Allow me to suggest that one way in which to add to a young man's Personal Problems is to tell him, not only that his views are evil, but that airing such views in any public venue is going to make him a target for the police. If he has paranoia now, imagine how much that will multiply his paranoia if he is told, not only that he has no friends, but that he cannot find friends.


posted by Zimri on 10:28 | link | 0 comments

Life under a vampiric boyar

I sometimes air out my thoughts in other comment fora before posting them here. Up to 2006 I was still using Usenet. In 10 January of that year I posted some thoughts on a work of Vampire Lord fiction: Barb and JC Hendee's Dhampir. I didn't finish reading it, which is why it ended up as thoughts-in-progress over there instead of here. I doubt I ever will finish this book because it's just not that good. But I did note one of the subplots / flashbacks:

- in which the vampires are ruling peasants from the castle they recently took over. The vamps spruce it up to look even better than it did under the previous lord. There's a wonderful D&D campaign setting buried here: In this valley, the peasants suspect their lords are undead. But no-one is killed, even if every now and again someone might wake up woozy and anaemic. The lords levy lighter taxes on the peasants' produce than do other lords, and they don't bang the farmers' daughters like other lords do. They adjudicate trials fairly between the people. If anyone from another valley, or some cleric, came in to smite the unholy darkspawn, the locals might well retort that the lords are THEIR darkspawn and that they should rather be ruled by vampires than by Vlad the Impaler down the road.

First, let's observe that I accepted stationary-bandit theory before Moldbug made it great again. More to the point of today's posts I'd intuited that, to the extent Vlad deserves an eternal curse (not in my power to dispute), it would NOT involve vampirism. Vlad wasn't one to shear his sheep just to keep himself in clover.

Now, some boyar of a sleepy Austro-Hungarian province, gone decadent and bored... that much, I could see. I'll go further: Wooden-Stake Vlad, Vampire Hunter.


posted by Zimri on 10:02 | link | 0 comments

Retelling the Vlad Dracula epic

Earlier I argued for Vlad the Impaler as one of history's tragic heroes. Bram Stoker was mentioned; and if I hadn't made it clear, I approve of Stoker's choice to make him a gothic antihero. Vlad had few friends in life and, if he had Done Something Wrong and if the fate of antiheroes is to be locked out of both heaven and hell, then his fate as an undead spirit damned to his own castle seems a natural one.

I dispute the haemophagy, but I'll get to that later. What I am even less certain of, is why Western artists tend to blame the Church for his posthumous state. Granted, Vlad in life acted with a savagery that would not pass muster under normal Christian conditions. But I have not found evidence that the Orthodox or Catholic Churches, ministering to Wallachians under fifteenth-century Balkan conditions, had complained about what Vlad did.

Yet in the Keanu Reeves "Bram Stoker's Dracula" from way back, and in Castlevania now, the theme is always how Judgey and Ignorant is Duh Churrrch. Do these bigots even know what "Christianity" meant in Wallachia at the time?

It is a disservice to the Church, to Vlad, and to history to make Duh Churrrch the reason for Vlad's downfall, if he is even to have a downfall. Vlad didn't run up against Duh Churrrch's arrogance. Vlad didn't even run up against simple peasant ignorance; if anything the Wallachian peasantry loved this guy, for reining in their blood-sucking boyars. (They still do, I hear.) Vlad's foil was the Turk, foe to the Church as much as to Wallachia. Vlad's nemesis was the temporal enemies he'd made along the way. And if Vlad had a final judge, it was God Himself.

Given all that, the only movie to do Vlad right that I've yet seen is Dracula Untold. (I exclude attempts at actual history like Hudson Street's graphic novel.)


posted by Zimri on 09:11 | link | 0 comments

Vlad III, failed Charlemagne of the Balkans

Among Netflix's exclusives this year is an American-anime based on Castlevania, itself a game based on the Dracula cycle. I figure it's worth a post here. But first I want to get into the Dragon of the Romanians himself as I understand him.

I always liked the story's villain; and I mean "always" near-literally, from an extreme early age, when it was first parodied on Sesame Street as the muppet Count. I think it was that the draculya had found a way to turn his loneliness into a gothic charisma. On the distaff side, Disney managed the same feat with the Snow Queen. (This was the part of the movie I liked.)

As far as I know, the Dracula story was first told well by Bram Stoker. He noted that the monster had once been human; he chose Vlad III "Tepes" as his base. The historical Vlad certainly acted like an antihero.

Vlad's base lay within a horrific neighbourhood: the Moesian theme, after the Moslems had neutralised the great Balkan citadel of Constantinople (to the extent the city itself was still there, it no longer controlled the crossing). Every tribe in that naturally disunified region then had to decide if they were to accept their new Ottoman masters, or else to throw in with one of the European powers - the khans of the Pannonian Plain being the most likely. In short the Ottoman seizure of Thrace had thrown the Balkans into the Dark Age of Henri Pirenne.

Vlad's people were what Germans called "wallaces" - the Celto-Latin peasant stock left over from Rome. It was Vlad's thought that he could hold Wallachia against both powers, the Turks and the Hungarians. To do that Vlad had to unify his own realm. This meant politically, against his own scheming boyars; and perhaps religiously, against outside Islam(s) and the various non-Romanian national churches. Although I haven't read that the latter was as salient for him as the former (we're getting to that next).

Back in the Dark Ages out west, when state-creators went about their work, they sometimes did it the hard way. Charlemagne, for a start, had shed the blood of the Saxon man. There were those in Romania who admired the Great Karl and named cities "Cârlomăneşti" (I know not if before or after Vlad).

So that's what Vlad did, except without Karl's imperial ambitions. Vlad has got worse press than Karl's got, for basically incidental reasons: some of Vlad's victims (like Karl's) were ethnic Germans with friends back home; his time was almost in the printing-press era; and he didn't succeed to the point his descendants could print a counter-narrative, until recently.


posted by Zimri on 08:40 | link | 0 comments

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Chappaquiddick

What Edward Kennedy did to Mary Jo Kopechne under that Chappaquiddick bridge was awful, and I have made many a mordant joke at his expense over the decades. I always thought the Kennedy cult in Boston suburbia was creepy, and as you might guess I don't much agree with Kennedy politics either. Edward's career as whole shows he was a bad man with no loyalty to the American people. I'd mainly taken all this for granted to the extent this blog has historically cared more about that drunken namesake across the pond. It was 18 July as of the moment I write all this (I am front-dating it because I already posted much stuff for one day) so, the Incident is being noted again. With moralism.

This week, for whatever reason, I am not feeling the urge to hurl stones at Ted's jamra. I ask my readers to look in the mirror and question the face looking back at them, what they would have done. Consider when you do so how you have acted in similar situations.

The later Kennedy boys grew up in a family where most of the women 'roundabout were whores. They liked their money, power, and fame and were pretty loose about how they got it. I'm sure Kopechne had her reasons for getting into that car alone with the Heir To The Crown. I'm unsure they were good reasons.

When a man doesn't meet many good women, but meets plenty of bad ones, it does things to his head. If he's been brought up with a lot of "Camelot" bullshit I imagine it's worse. Worse still if he's been told he is the fourth best hope for the family. (People know Jack and Bobby; they sometimes forget Joe Junior.)

Incidents like Chappaquiddick can happen over mere moments: one bad call and your options narrow, sharply. Maybe you had time to save her. Maybe you didn't. Maybe you had the chance and you spent fifteen seconds too long to make up your mind. Or ten. Or five. Which timespan do you think qualifies one as a bad man?


posted by Zimri on 06:30 | link | 0 comments

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Netflix doing well

The Wall Street Journal reports that Netflix is doing well. (I am not linking, because of that ironic paywall. So here's Steve's former Unz housemate Razib again.)

I was on Netflix my last year or so in Houston (2009ish). I'd rent the DVD and in between getting the DVD I'd go to Redbox. I caught up on a lot of movies this way. Then I moved and was living the Hobo Lifestyle for eleven months, so had to cancel the subscription; and around this time, coincidentally, came the Great Fail when Netflix moved online and changed their pricing model. So I never bothered re-upping.

Lately I've noticed Netflix producing their own movies and tv-series: stuff like 13 Reasons and, lately, Death Note. Stuff aimed at latter-year high school kids, and college undergrads.

If you do this semi-competently - Mean Girls comes to mind - you don't lose money.


posted by Zimri on 20:01 | link | 0 comments

Trump: have a chat with Sessions plz

Jeff Sessions is a creature of the 1980s deepfrozen and now revived into a high post in a Republican Cabinet. This isn't as great as it sounds.

Sessions wants an end to legal marijuana, which legalisation I voted for (although I don't inhale); he wants DARE back, which didn't work at the time; and now he's going for asset-forfeiture.

I am not saying that Sessions is all bad. I like his work against Mara Salvatrucha, especially. I am also not disputing the scourge of escapist self-medication, particularly in the Upper Midwest. I am saying that his DRUG WAR HOO-AH attitude is stupid. It isn't what Trump's base voted for, at least not in reference to Reefer Madness, and it's not going to hurt Trump's enemies. A few raids gone bad and Trump's enemies are more likely to gain some new recruits.

So I would like our President to talk with this guy and to tell him to, like, mellow out, dude.


posted by Zimri on 19:51 | link | 0 comments

Tap water

The rundown on Eurasia: if you're in the West, you can Drink The Water. The West for our purposes includes Israel, South Korea, Japan, and certain citystates like Brunei and Singapore. (link from hbd chick)

I note here that Hungary is not a Western nation; which might be a point of pride to this Finno-Ugric people, if it pertained to anything else. Ditto those Serbs. They need to get on the ball here and clean sh!t up - literally. Also, there aren't any African countries with safe water. Something tells me matters were better in the 1970s in two (southern) African countries in particular, but... well, I'm legally obliged to say no more.

From my personal perspective, I never drank from the tap in Houston if I could avoid it; and I always told them to hold the ice in my drinks. I didn't care if the State and Federal inspectors assured me it was safe; I didn't believe them. After I moved to Boulder County - now, I drink from the tap all the time.


posted by Zimri on 19:30 | link | 0 comments

Aliens on Mars

Dana Rohrabacher is asking the wrong question. [h/t Razib hat-tipping some twitter timewaster.]

If there ever was life on Mars and it had reached by itself a civilisation, we would see a preponderance of evidence in the form of tel(l)s. Up to the early 1990s we hadn't sent rovers, just those stationary Viking probes; so this was still an askable question. This is not the case now.

The question to ask now is: if there is alien evidence on Mars. Not indigenous Martian civilisation, but colonies planted at pinpoint sites on the frozen anoxic desert. Colonies from Wolf 128, say.

Yeah, I am a Starflight fanboy, shut up.


posted by Zimri on 19:24 | link | 0 comments

Monday, July 17, 2017

Aslan did not visit Charn

Where we left off on CS Lewis' The Magician's Nephew, I noted a lack of evidence that Aslan had ever visited the world Charn. I also noted that Charn was a land of Lilith's children, or at least that Charn lay under their rule. Lewis tells us in that first book that Jadis was a lilitiya. Lewis implies the same of her sister and their most-relevant ancestors.

I left with the question whether Aslan ever preached to the Children Of Lilith. I may have the answer: Lewis, accepting Jewish tradition, had read further into its implications. In Judaism, the mainline are sons of Adam. This includes Jews, Samaritans to an extent, and maybe Esau / Edom. It doesn't include those other gentiles.

But, I hear you interject, it says right there in Genesis that we're all sons of Adam. Even in the Tradition monsters like Jadis are from Adam; so what gives? Well, that part of the Bible wasn't written for you; it was written for Iron Age Semites, and in Semitic culture there are sons and there are sons. The heirs, natural-born or not, are marked as Ben or Bar or Bin or what have you. The physically-begotten children are, in Arabic anyway, Walad. Robin Hobb would term that last a "fitz" - an acknowledged natural-born son who is not the heir.

Ishmael is the Bible's most famous fitz, born to Abraham and his Handmaid. Those born to the Adam-Lilith union follow the Ishmaelite pattern. The Banu / Bnai Abraham are the heirs of Isaac; those others are just Walad.

The citizens / subjects of Charn are para-human, in this logic. Aslan won't minister to Charn any more than He would minister to the local zoo.


posted by Zimri on 18:55 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Decolonialising Guam

Guam is eyeing the exits. A native raises a good point: A process of decolonisation that must follow the rules of the coloniser is not decolonisation, it is an extension of colonisation.

The facts are that Guam is "Austronesian", a Chamorro island. But as these things go, like on Fiji and on Hawaii, the 'Nesians aren't the majority in their own homes anymore. Some have offered for the Chamorro to retake at least the franchise but, of course, this was deemed "racist". Funny how that "racism" slur always serves the American ruling-class: against Chamorro there, against whites here...

If we weren't worried about "racism", the way forward be clear - stick Guam with Hawaii. If anyone in Guam is on Federal aid and they're not native 'Nesian, extract them from the island and repatriate them elsewhere.

'Merka still keeps the Naval base, which we need. The working Chamorro are free of at least the non-native deadwood. Hawaii deals with the social problems left over.

Actually the non-Polynesian deadbeats in Hawaii, too, should be hauled off those islands. The US guarantees that no citizen shall starve - fine. Why should Federal taxes be levied to house bums on a damn tropical resort?

AFTER LOOKING AT STATS 10:30 PM: Hello First-Nation visitors. I think you'd shown up before I posted this post, but I didn't know so... synchronicity.


posted by Zimri on 13:39 | link | 0 comments

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