Saturday, October 22, 2016

"This land is our land" - somewhat speeded up

This video from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is kicking up a certain amount of angst in the Middle East and among Palestinian supporters and activists.  You can read all about it at Legal Insurrection.  Me . . . I'm just laughing at it, and enjoying it.

I think I could have done a much better British Civil Servant accent than that actor . . . and since my father once served as escort commander on the Cairo to Haifa Railway during one of his journeys in World War II, I daresay I've a hereditary claim on the office, dammit!  Mine! - or should I say, Mine too!


On the road for a couple of days

I'll be heading out on a research trip for my next Western this weekend.  Blogging will be very light, unless I have Internet access on Saturday evening, in which case I'll try to put up a post or two.  Meanwhile, please amuse yourselves with those on my blogrolls in the sidebar.

Normal blogging will resume on Monday morning.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Decade-old words of wisdom

Vox Day wrote a regular column for WND some years ago.  Today, on his blog, he reprinted one of his articles from 2004.  It struck me very powerfully, and I thought it would do the same to my readers.  Here it is, in full.

Tibetan religious tradition has it that when the Dalai Lama dies, the Buddha of Compassion leaves his body and incarnates in the body of a young child. The monks immediately go out in search of this blessed child, and when they find him – as they inevitably do – he is tested by a group of high lamas and enthroned as the reincarnation of his successor.

Imagine, however, if the lamas refused to recognize that the Dalai Lama was, in fact, dead. Suppose that instead of going in search of the Buddha’s new carnal home, they hooked the corpse up to a life support machine and waited patiently for the Holy One to awake and rise up. It’s not hard to see that they would be doomed to disappointment, and furthermore, would fail to find the next Dalai Lama as well.

This is precisely our dilemma today, for America, as envisioned by the Founding Fathers, is dead. By every measure, large and small, the original vision of limited government by, for and of the people has been folded, spindled and mutilated beyond recognition. When one reads the Constitution, one simply marvels at the distinct difference between its words and our present reality.

Our paper Federal Reserve Notes are not Congress-issued gold and silver coins. Our direct taxes are not apportioned. We are entangled in a veritable web of foreign alliances, Congress shamelessly makes laws regarding speech, religion and guns, and the judicial branch has arrogantly assumed for itself unchecked supremacy over the other two branches.

Regardless of whether one see these changes as blasphemous treason against the Constitution, or as reasonable and necessary modifications to what was designed to be a living document that evolves with the times, it is impossible to deny that they have been made. It is likewise impossible to assert that a massive central government possessing eminent domain, owning over a third of the land and claiming more than a third of all income is either limited or small.

For many years, conservatives and other freedom lovers have placed their trust in the Republican Party, hoping that it would fulfill its promises to return America to its national birthright of freedom and individual liberty. Those promises, unsurprisingly, were broken by the party of Abraham Lincoln, who is most famous for converting what had been a voluntary Union of free association into a forced Union by military might.

Any last vestiges of hope in the Republican Party have been shattered by the current regime, wherein a Republican President, Republican House, Republican Senate and Republican-nominated Supreme Court have demonstrated that they have zero interest in the timeless vision of America’s founders. Supporting them in the hopes that they will revive American liberties is akin to hoping that shock paddles will suffice to revive a month-old corpse. American freedom is not only dead, it has been rotting for some time.

There are those who say that a vote for a third-party candidate, such as the Libertarian’s Michael Badnarik or the Constitution Party’s Michael Peroutka, is wasted. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, these are the only votes that are not wasted, for positive change will only come from those outside the corrupt bi-factional system. After all, it was neither the Tories nor the Whigs who fought for American independence.

Like the Tibetan lamas, we must go in search of those in whom the spirit of freedom and liberty burns. The revival of American liberty is still in its infancy, as only 482,451 people voted for the Libertarian and Constitution presidential candidates combined, 0.96 percent of those who voted for the victorious Republican, George W. Bush. But that is 482,395 more people than the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, and as for those who believe our present bipartisan system is eternal, well, tell it to the Whigs.

Or, for that matter, to the optimates and populares of Rome. The choice is simple, if not easy. A revival of liberty or the continued stink of an extinct republic as it decomposes into dictatorial empire.

America is dead. Let us go, then, and find her.

Being an immigrant to this country, I perhaps see this more clearly than some who've lived here all their lives, because I came to it 'fresh'.  When I became a chaplain for an agency of the federal government, I took the oath of law enforcement office administered to all federal law enforcement officers.

I ... do solemnly swear ... that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

I took that oath in the full understanding of what it meant, and I was determined to keep it.  I have done so, both in my active service and in my retirement.  Yet:

  • FBI Director Comey could take the same oath and blatantly ignore and/or violate it in his handling of Hillary Clinton's testimony and his recommendations to the Attorney-General.
  • DEA agents can blatantly ignore and/or violate it in their search and seizure policies, including asset forfeiture practices that appear to utterly ignore the Fourth Amendment.
  • In cases such as Ruby Ridge, Waco and others, federal law enforcement agencies and officers can blatantly ignore and/or violate their oaths in taking unconstitutional action against those they deem to be malefactors.  Subsequently, their actions are often retroactively approved, or excused, or covered up, while investigations are misled and legal action against the individuals responsible for such acts is often blocked.

I'm forced to ask whether federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and officers would do likewise if it came to imposing and enforcing blatantly unconstitutional legislation such as gun confiscation.  I fear many officers would put their own interests first (their salaries and pensions, and the needs of their families), and do so.  I don't know how many would actually honor their oath of office and refuse to do so, even in the face of losing their jobs and resultant personal hardship.

I saw that in South Africa, too.  Many black policemen, themselves victims of discrimination under apartheid, helped to enforce the racist laws of that policy against their own people.  As a result, they and their families were targeted by terrorists.  Many were killed or maimed for life as a result . . . but because they had no other means of support, and because without the protection of their police uniforms they'd have been attacked by their own communities, they kept right on enforcing racist laws and discriminating against their own people.  When democracy finally came to South Africa in 1994, the results for many of them were . . . not good.

I hope and pray Vox Day is wrong.  I fear greatly that he's right.  The United States of America, as envisioned by its founding fathers and as believed in by many of us (including myself), may indeed now be irretrievably lost to us.  If Hillary Clinton wins this election, I think that will serve as confirmation of that fact.

If it is lost, what do we do?  There's no point in trying to reform or renovate the present laws and institutions of government.  They're so deeply, irredeemably flawed, from a constitutional point of view, that I think that'll be flat-out impossible.  It may, indeed, be time to look for a new America, one that embodies the true aspirations of the old - and this time, take rather better care to ensure that those aspirations don't die of neglect.

Sadly, doing so will inevitably mean open conflict with those who hold our founding fathers and their aspirations in contempt.  Let's hope and pray it doesn't come to that.  I've seen and experienced three civil wars in three different countries.  There are seldom, if ever, any real winners among the ordinary people like you and I . . . just overwhelming suffering.


That's telling 'em!

Getting their point across?


Dark days and disco memories

Thanks to the 'evil years' of South Africa's internal unrest (amounting to an intermittent civil war situation in many parts of the country), from 1976 through 1994, I didn't have the kind of life that most young people today would regard as 'normal'.  I've written about some aspects of it in the past.

One of the things I remember about those years is the music.  South Africa's hit parade was weird.  Among the usual US and European groups and their international hits, you'd find something like Juluka singing about 'Mud Colored Dusty Blood' - a bus massacre in the eastern Cape.  Songs about mass murder reaching the hit parade?  Shows how seriously warped South Africa's consciousness was at that time.

Be that as it may, one of the most popular disco groups in South Africa was Boney M.  It always struck me as incongruous that an all-black group could be so popular among the white community, but that was just another facet of our country during those seriously weird years.

I was reminded of Boney M. by this post over at Legal Insurrection, where the author confesses he was a big fan of the group when he studied in Moscow.  He says they had a huge following there, and posted this video of their hit 'Rasputin', performed at a disco festival in Russia some years ago, to prove it.  Certainly, the Russian dancers lend an exotic air to it - and the thousands of fans seem to be having a great time.  Watch it in full-screen mode for best results.

It's ironic that when 'Rasputin' first came out, the Soviet Union banned it on the grounds that it disrespected their history and culture!  I guess the Russian people decided that didn't matter.  After all, the real Rasputin was every bit as disreputable as the song implied.

I know many people today, particularly those born after the disco era, won't have heard of Boney M. at all.  For their benefit (and because they bring back many memories), here are two more of the group's biggest hits.  First, the song that gave them their breakthrough, 'Daddy Cool'.

Next, a song drawn from America's criminal history, 'Ma Baker'.

They seem so dated now . . . but back then, we grooved to them.  (Yes, even an old fart like me was once a groover!)


Raising a stink with bike thieves

I'm intrigued by a new bicycle lock that's claimed to be more thief-deterrent than its predecessors.  Its Indiegogo page claims:

Many of today's U-Locks are vulnerable to even simple hacksaws or crowbars. Some electronic locks that have fancy technology like GPS tracking and are app enabled can even be zapped into submission with an inexpensive taser. Serious thieves use serious tools like battery operated angle grinders and blow torches - that's what it takes to cut through a quality lock. SKUNKLOCK is a hardened medium-carbon steel U-Lock that's as difficult to compromise as the strongest U-Locks, AND comes with a surprise: it's pressurized inside with a noxious chemical deterrent that slams the would-be thief with noxious chemicals. The chemicals are so disgusting they induce vomit in the majority of cases, and elicit an instinctive response to run away immediately.

. . .

Can't a thief just wear a mask or protection?
Technically, yes.  Will it help them steal your bike? Probably not.  The formula that we've developed is detectable through even some of the most robust gas masks (unfortunately, we learned this the hard way!).  More importantly, we aren't strictly relying on chemicals incapacitating the thief to prevent the theft.  There is no technology that can guarantee theft prevention; however, we do believe SKUNKLOCK is the best lock on the market to deter theft.  Not only does an attack on the SKUNKLOCK release chemicals onto the thief that create a scene that makes people take notice, it also has economic implications for the thief.  Our formula irreversibly ruins the clothes worn by the thief or any of the protection they may be wearing, and replacing these items is likely more expensive than the resale value of your stolen bike (generally only 1/10 of the retail price).  You don't need to be perfect, you just have to be the best protected on your block.  So more than likely, a thief will attack a more hassle free bike parked nearby than your bike.

There's more at the link.  Here's a promotional video for the Indiegogo campaign.

I think it's an ingenious idea.  However, I can think of a few drawbacks, too.
  1. What happens to your bike when the gas is released?  Doesn't the stench make it unrideable until it's been thoroughly cleaned?  Looks like you might strand yourself, as well as deterring a would-be thief.  Also, wouldn't the skunk oil or whatever it is penetrate softer materials like the bike's saddle, or any pannier or container mounted on the bike?  That would mean you'd have to replace all such items, as I'm sure the smell wouldn't wash out.
  2. What about surrounding people and businesses?  If a thief releases the gas, and it's sucked into a shop's air-conditioning or heating system, it might make the entire shop unfit for habitation, and render some or all of its stock unsaleable.  I can see all sorts of lawsuits coming out of that!
  3. What if you get a thief without a working sense of smell?

I'd personally prefer a somewhat more robust deterrent;  something like the 'Blaster', a South African anti-car-hijacking device, shown in action below.

Now, if one could fit something like that to a bicycle, with a gas cylinder concealed within the frame and an exhaust jet aimed up through the middle of the saddle, timed to go off as the thief rode it away . . .


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Double "Heh!"

Found at C. W. Swanson's place:

Some afternoons and evenings, too . . .  story of a writer's life!



Laughing out loud at this one from Wirecutter.

Yep. That's farm kids all right, anywhere in the world. I've been highly amused to find American farm kids behave just the same as African farm kids. They all have the same acceptance of nature and the real world, and lack false sentimentality. Salt of the earth - and naughty with it!


"Observations of life in an extended power failure"

I'm obliged to Charles Hugh Smith for reprinting the observations of an Australian reader about a recent extended power failure down under.  Here's an excerpt.

It was a fascinating opportunity to observe firsthand what happens when an electricity dependent society and economy has an extended and complete loss of electrical grid and communications.

Key observations for my local area are:

1. Many people have small petrol generators thanks to our lovely coastal wilderness and a preoccupation with Glamping (Glam Camping).

2. Very few people had a store of petrol at home more than 5 to 10 litres [1.3 to 2.6 US gallons]. (usually kept for use in lawn mowers, brush cutters, chainsaws). Some owners of small boats had up to 20 litres [5.3 US gallons] on hand.

3. When the electricity goes out ... the pumps at fuel stations don't work. To my great surprise, only 1 fuel station in my nearest city of about 14 000 population had (or quickly acquired) a back-up generator to work their fuel pumps. There was a 3 hour wait for customers to get from back of queue to the pumps ... and a ridiculous show of 'bulk buying' where people didn't just take fuel that they personally needed; they showed up with between 3 and 8 X 20 litre (5 gallon) fuel cans as well as filling their cars. Hopefully the canned fuel was distributed among family and friends. (My assertion is that the owners of the station should have rationed fuel to 40 litres per customer to keep the que moving faster and to make sure everyone had some, rather than creating an 'all or nothing' situation.)

. . .

6. The full loss of grid, grid back-up and other smaller backups caused telecommunications and data transmission to practically cease. This meant limitations of EFTPOS in stores. Banks were shut, ATM's didn't work and some shops that were open could only take cash. Generally though, everyone muddled through the sketchy electronic payment systems one way or another. Internet access failed for the most part. Social media pretty much collapsed ... my two daughters though their social lives were over. I didn't miss it. My wife found more time to do other things too.

There's more at the link.

Highly recommended reading for everyone who routinely prepares for emergencies (as we all should).  There's good information there.


This is way too Western for an African environment

This advertisement for Armstrong beer was made by an agency in Cape Town, South Africa, so I presume the beer is also South African.  The agency has tried to put a men-scared-of-women-but-outsmarting-them twist on the consumption of beer, but it falls flat for anyone who knows Africa.  If African women in typical African society tried to stop their men consuming beer, they might just get beaten flatter than a pancake!  Patriarchy is alive and well there.

Still, it's an amusing advertisement - to me, all the more so because of its inherent contradictions.

I've never tasted the stuff myself - it wasn't on the market when I left South Africa two decades ago.  I drank Windhoek, Amstel or Castle Lager, or Hansa Pilsener.  Old hands from that part of the world will doubtless join me in salivating at the memory of a long, cold one (or two, or three) after a hot day in the African sun.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Helping with the laundry

We do the washing, drying, sorting, folding, and so on.  Ashbutt helps us by looking decorative.

He also attacks every bit of laundry whenever it's moved.  When we try to salvage it from his claws, he looks injured, as if to say, "Well, what else did you expect when you adopted a kitten?"


Malaysian challenge accepted!

All right, readers!  Put on your thinking caps and let's nail this challenge!

Malaysia’s dog days are over.

Hot dog sellers in the predominantly Muslim nation were ordered to rename their products to avoid any “confusion” because in Islam, pooches “are considered unclean,” government officials decreed.

. . .

Halal is the Arabic word for “permissible” and, when related to food, means grub that is acceptable for consumption under Islamic law.

American pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s, which has 45 outposts in Malaysia, was told Monday by Islamic authorities to rename its “Pretzel Dog” menu item.

Suhaimee said it’s more appropriate to call the snack a “pretzel sausage” in order to receive halal certification, according to local media.

There's more at the link.

Between all of us, I'm sure we can come up with all sorts of helpful, religiously correct suggestions as to what Malaysia should call its hot dogs.  How about it, readers?  I'll start the ball rolling:

  • Infidel Worm
  • Do Your Wurst
  • Hot Diggety Piggety

Submit your suggestions on a hot dog roll (or electronically, if you prefer) in Comments below.  Have at it!


Impressive performance from an F/A-18F Super Hornet

I hadn't previously thought of the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet naval strike fighter as being particularly maneuverable, or particularly good at aerial dogfighting.  However, this demonstration by an F/A-18F (the two-seat variant), fully loaded with 8 air-to-air missiles, is pretty convincing.  As the pilot points out, it's like flying with a big SUV strapped beneath the aircraft;  yet it handles the weight with ease, and he's able to throw it around in cavalier fashion.

Watch the video in full-screen mode for best results.

I'd still put money on an F-15E Strike Eagle to outmaneuver the Super Hornet, but given top-notch pilots in both planes, it'd be a close-run thing.


Quote of the day

Via Rev. Paul, quoting from a Facebook post discussing Federation starships in the 'Star Trek' movies and TV series:

They can pull an effectively unlimited number of bull**** space-magic countermeasures out of their arses - but they're as likely as not to give themselves a lethal five-dimensional wedgie in the process.

Uh . . . OK . . . if you say so!

I really must try to figure out how to incorporate 'a lethal five-dimensional wedgie' in my next SF novel . . .


Vote rigging explodes into public view

James O'Keefe has done all of us a public service with his videos revealing the extent to which the Democratic Party relies on vote rigging to elect its members.  They're all over the Internet now, but in case you missed them, here they are.  The second video is perhaps more important than the first.

Both are extremely important to anyone valuing American democracy and our republican way of life (not to mention the values embodied in our Constitution). Essential viewing, IMHO.  I think Mr. O'Keefe's promised follow-up videos at the Project Veritas Action channel on YouTube will be worth watching, too.

Of course, this should come as no surprise;  but many elements in the mainstream media have conspired to cover up or dismiss the issue for years.  One of the most telling exposés came from the Pew Center on the States in 2012.

More than 24 million voter-registration records in the United States— about one in eight — are inaccurate, out-of-date or duplicates. Nearly 2.8 million people are registered in two or more states, and perhaps 1.8 million registered voters are dead.

Those estimates, from a report published today by the non-partisan Pew Center on the States, portray a largely paper-based system that is outmoded, expensive and error-prone.

"We have a ramshackle registration system in the U.S. It's a mess. It's expensive. There isn't central control over the process," said Lawrence Norden of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

. . .

The 1993 National Voter Registration Act, known as the "motor voter" law, made it easier for people to register to vote by, for example, allowing them to register when they get a state driver's license.

That same law also made it more difficult to remove someone from the voting rolls. Unless officials have a death certificate or written confirmation from the voter that they've moved, a voter must miss two presidential elections — that's eight years — before they can be removed.

The problem is particularly bad in swing states, where parties, campaigns and others canvass the state registering voters, even if they're already registered, and often collecting inaccurate information, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said. "Everybody's registering you here," he said. "We don't really have control of that."

There's more at the link.

Many (particularly Democratic Party officials and supporters) insist that just because voter rolls contain inaccuracies, that's not in itself evidence of voter fraud.  They're correct, of course;  but those inaccuracies make it easier for voter fraud to occur, and the wealth of information coming out of this year's election campaign suggests that it is, indeed, occurring.  Consider just these few recent articles:

The real question is whether the 'margin of cheat' will be sufficient to affect the results of this year's elections.  Historically, that does appear to have happened from time to time (for example, it's widely believed to have been behind the election of John F. Kennedy as President in 1960).  Will it happen this year?  Given Mr. O'Keefe's damning video evidence, I won't be surprised if it does.  As I posted yesterday, there's evidence that it's already occurring.

What, if anything, will the American people do about it?  I guess that remains to be seen.  I think there are enough people who are very unhappy with the present system that it may lead to a groundswell of very active resentment . . . but no-one can say for sure right now.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Doofus Of The Day #932

Today's award goes jointly to the Environmental Persecution Protection Agency and US Army Corps of Engineers, both of which are at it again.

When farmers plow their land, it produces grooves called "furrows," bordered by small ridges of dirt.

But in pursuit of new regulatory powers, federal agencies refer to the little dirt mounds by another term: “mini mountain ranges.” That seemingly absurd distinction is being used to impose more federal control over private land use decisions made by U.S. farmers.

. . .

The [proposed] rule, called “Waters of the United States” ... would allow puddles, tire ruts and standing water to be labeled “disturbed wetlands” and regulated under the Clean Water Act. The Senate committee report states the rule would allow EPA to get around legal limits to its authority over ditches, draws, low areas, or other wet areas by simply calling them a “regulated tributary” or “wetland.”

The report concludes that if the EPA and Corps interpretations were allowed, “most if not all plowing” would be considered a “discharge of a pollutant” and require a federal permit.

There's more at the link.

Trees.  Rope.  Bureaucrats.  Some assembly required.


Kitten antics

Our new farm kitten, Smoky in polite company (but Ashbutt to family), is having the time of his life settling in to his new home.  Shy and retiring, he ain't!

We've always fed our cat the best food we can afford, regarding it as an investment in her health and happiness.  Now that we have to feed two cats, we naturally looked to see what that brand offered.  They have a 'Cat & Kitten' food that seemed promising, so we ordered a bag.  (Hint:  their prices for smaller bags are often much higher, pound for pound, than their larger bags.  It pays to look at all the sizes they offer, compare the price per pound, and buy accordingly.)

Our adult cat, Kili, was quite happy to make the switch;  but Ashbutt, the kitten, who'd been used to cheap barn cat food, was ecstatic.  He's growing almost by the day, his fur is longer and sleeker than ever, and he has so much energy we're seriously considering whether we made a mistake in buying that high-quality food for him!  Kili is seriously discombobulated by having a rambunctious kitten underfoot at every possible opportunity, and still hisses at him;  but she's tolerating him closer to her all the time.  I give it a couple of weeks before she starts playing with him.

Ashbutt has taken to plastic-coated springs with enormous enthusiasm, regarding them as needing to be killed at every possible opportunity.

He also attacks the broom when we sweep the floor, clinging to it and biting it furiously (ignoring the dust bunnies that get attached to his fur).  As for one of us passing the sofa when he's lying on it, that's an invitation for him to jump on us;  and when we go to bed, it's less to sleep than to share an exciting kitty adventure!  He's having the time of his life.  Miss D. finds it a bit exhausting, but I must confess, I'm enjoying his sheer, overflowing joie de vivre.

I'm glad we brought Ashbutt home from Blogorado.  He's helping to keep us young.


The ambulance chasers are at it again

It looks as if shady lawyers are at it again - this time manufacturing 'court orders' that don't hold up to scrutiny.

There are about 25 court cases throughout the country that have a suspicious profile:
  • All involve allegedly self-represented plaintiffs, yet they have similar snippets of legalese that suggest a common organization behind them. (A few others, having a slightly different profile, involve actual lawyers.)
  • All the ostensible defendants ostensibly agreed to injunctions being issued against them, which often leads to a very quick court order (in some cases, less than a week).
  • Of these 25-odd cases, 15 give the addresses of the defendants — but a private investigator (Giles Miller of Lynx Insights & Investigations) couldn’t find a single one of the ostensible defendants at the ostensible address.
Now, you might ask, what’s the point of suing a fake defendant (to the extent that some of these defendants are indeed fake)? How can anyone get any real money from a fake defendant? How can anyone order a fake defendant to obey a real injunction?

The answer is that Google and various other Internet platforms have a policy: They won’t take down material (or, in Google’s case, remove it from Google indexes) just because someone says it’s defamatory. Understandable — why would these companies want to adjudicate such factual disputes? But if they see a court order that declares that some material is defamatory, they tend to take down or deindex the material, relying on the court’s decision.

Yet the trouble is that these Internet platforms can’t really know if the injunction was issued against the actual author of the supposed defamation — or against a real person at all. That’s why we have incidents like this:

  1. Matthew Chan, a Georgia resident, posts a negative review of Mitul Patel, a Georgia dentist, on Yelp and a few other sites. (Readers may remember this story, which we blogged about in August; that’s the incident that got us investigating this issue.) Several months after Chan puts up his post, Yelp emails him, saying that it’s about to take his comment down because it received a court order that was issued against him, and the court concluded that his comment was defamatory.
But wait!, says Chan — he’s never been sued. And sure enough, the order is against a supposed Mathew Chan of Baltimore. As best we can tell, no such Mathew Chan exists in Baltimore, but in any event no Baltimorean is the author of the post. Yet the order is supposedly based on that Mathew Chan agreeing with Mitul Patel that the review was defamatory, and should be removed. (As we’ll see below, Mitul Patel and some of the other plaintiffs state that they did not authorize the lawsuit or sign the pleadings, though they did hire a “reputation management company” to do something.)

There's more at the link.

It looks like so-called 'relationship management' or 'relationship repair' self-advertised specialists have come up with this tactic.  Lodge a lawsuit against a possibly imaginary 'defendant' alleging that an article or other reference is defamatory;  have the defendant (or someone claiming to be the defendant) immediately acknowledge that it is defamatory, and agree to accept a court order for its withdrawal;  have the court order issued;  then use it to persuade the host to take down the article, and Google and other authoritative search engines to de-index the offending reference, so that no-one else can find it.  Crafty bastards, aren't they?

Congratulations to Messrs. Volokh and Levy for publishing details of this scheme, so that the rest of us can be on our guard against it.  Now, how can we make the shady lawyers concerned answer for their misuse (probably better termed abuse) of the court system?


Voter fraud in action, in Florida

So much for voter fraud being a figment of our imaginations . . .  Go read about the experience of a Florida blogger.

That's just in one city, in one state.  I've heard of more examples from several other states.  Voter fraud is widespread, it's going on right now, and it may be enough to provide the 'margin of cheat' to ensure the outcome of this election, regardless of the will of the people.