08 Jul 2018

Best Hard-Core Movie Quotes

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At Pajamas Media, John Hawkins chooses the “25 Most Bad-Ass Action Movie Quotes of All Time.” Ha!

Two Clint Eastwoods and only one John Wayne? You’ve got to be kidding me.

They missed what I’d say is the best of all, from “Hondo” (1953).

From IMDB “Hondo” trivia:

“Geraldine Page, a Broadway actress with very liberal political views, was horrified by the right-wing views of John Wayne, Ward Bond, James Arness, and [director] John Farrow. However she felt Wayne’s remarks were more reasonable than the views expressed by Bond and Farrow. “

07 Jul 2018

From Facebook

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07 Jul 2018

Hillary Clinton’s “What Happened”

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07 Jul 2018

The Religion of the State

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Herbert Spencer, “Over-Legislation,” Westminster Review, p. 28:

Though we have ceased to assume the infallibility of our theological beliefs and so ceased to enact them, we have not ceased to enact hosts of other beliefs of an equally doubtful kind. Though we no longer presume to coerce men for their spiritual good, we still think ourselves called upon to coerce them for their material good: not seeing that the one is as useless and as unwarrantable as the other. Innumerable failures seem, so far, powerless to teach this. Take up a daily paper and you will probably find a leader exposing the corruption, negligence, or mismanagement of some State department. Cast your eye down the next column, and it is not unlikely that you will read proposals for an extension of State-supervision. Yesterday came a charge of gross carelessness against the Colonial Office. Today Admiralty bunglings are burlesqued. Tomorrow brings the question, “Should there not be more coal-mine inspectors?” Now there is a complaint that the Board of Health is useless; and now an outcry for more railway regulation. While your ears are still ringing with denunciations of Chancery abuses, or your cheeks still glowing with indignation at some well-exposed iniquity of the Ecclesiastical Courts, you suddenly come upon suggestions for organizing “a priesthood of science.” Here is a vehement condemnation of the police for stupidly allowing sight-seers to crush each other to death. You look for the corollary that official regulation is not to be trusted; when, instead, à propos of a shipwreck, you read an urgent demand for government-inspectors to see that ships always have their boats ready for launching. Thus, while every day chronicles a failure, there every day reappears the belief that it needs but an Act of Parliament and a staff of officers to effect any end desired. Nowhere is the perennial faith of mankind better seen.”

06 Jul 2018

Latest Thai Cave News is Bad

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The BBC reports that a former Thai Navy diver died yesterday through running out of oxygen himself on the return trip from bringing oxygen tanks to the twelve trapped Thai schoolboys and their coach.

The round trip through the flooded tunnel, which in one portion is too tight to allow passage wearing scuba tanks takes eleven hours. (!)

The party has been trapped for two weeks on a ledge surrounded by water and they need constant resupply to avoid running out of oxygen.

Meanwhile, it is the monsoon season and further flooding is expected.

A former Thai navy diver has died while taking part in efforts to rescue 12 boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand.

Petty Officer Saman Gunan lost consciousness on his way out of the Tham Luang cave complex, where he had been delivering air tanks.

The boys have been trapped for nearly two weeks in a chamber in the cave.

They ventured in while the cave was dry but were caught out by a sudden deluge of rain, which flooded the system.

The group was found by British rescue divers after 10 days in the cave, perched on a rock shelf in a small chamber about 4km (2.5 miles) from the cave mouth.

Teams of Thai and international divers have since supplied them with food, oxygen and medical attention, but there are mounting concerns about the oxygen level in the chamber, which officials said had fallen to 15%. The usual level is 21%. …

The death of Saman – a highly trained diver – on Thursday underscored the danger of moving from the chamber to mouth of the cave, and raised serious doubts about the safety of bringing the boys out through the cramped, flooded passageways.

The diver died after losing consciousness in one of the passageways, said Passakorn Boonyaluck, deputy governor of the Chiang Rai region, where the cave is situated.

“His job was to deliver oxygen. He did not have enough on his way back,” Mr Passakorn said.

He said that Saman’s dive partner tried to revive him but could not, and his body was brought out of the cave.

Read the whole thing.

06 Jul 2018

Go, Maneaters of Sibuya

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Daily Wire has some good news:

A gang of poachers learned the merciless rules of nature when they broke into a South African game preserve to slaughter a herd of rhinos and were instead eaten by a pride of lions.

“A head and a number of bloodied body parts and limbs were found near the scene after at least three illegal hunters were devoured by the predators,” reports Mirror. “Staff at the Sibuya Game Reserve, in Eastern Province, South Africa, called in a helicopter to search the area for more poachers.”

The six lions had to be tranquilized in order for police to venture into the area and recover the poachers’ remains. The owner, Nick Fox, said as many as three poachers were eaten, according to the evidence.

“We found enough body parts and three pairs of empty shoes which suggest to us that the lions ate at least three of them but it is thick bush and there could be more,” said Fox. “They came heavily armed with hunting rifles and axes which we have recovered and enough food to last them for several days so we suspect they were after all of our rhinos here.”

The poachers were most likely going to kill the rhinos for their horns.

RTWT

The Tsavo lions were only two and they reputedly ate more than 100 railroad-building coolies. Who knows how many rhino poachers these six can get?

05 Jul 2018

OTs-38 Stechkin Silent Revolver

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OTs Stechkin Silent Revolver

Designed by Igor Stechkin, manufactured by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau c.2002-today.

7.62×42 mm SP-4 five-round moon clips, swing-out cylinder, six o’clock barrel, integral laser sight, double action, manual safety.

A very interesting design brought to us by the Stechkin automatic pistol guy, the OTs-38 was developed from an earlier model designed for Vietnam tunnel rats, which fired tungsten birdshot rounds for some reason. This revolver’s rounds are only similar in that they are completely silent, using a low amount of gunpowder located behind a piston inside the case, meaning no gas is actually released when firing the gun, producing no sound or muzzle flash. The gun itself being a revolver also means no spent cartridges can be heard dropping on the floor.

Wikipedia article

Earlier NYM article

05 Jul 2018

Žižek on Houellebecq

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Michel Houellebecq

Slawomir Sierakowski interviewing Slavoj Žižek back in 2015 after the Charlie Hebdo murders.

Do you see common ground between you and Michel Houellebecq, with his critique of Western liberal societies, combined with no justification for reactionary alternatives like Islamist or Russian ones?

Yes, definitely. Crazy as it may sound, I have much respect for the honest liberal conservatives like Houellebecq, Finkielkraut, or Sloterdijk in Germany. One can learn from them much more than from progressive liberal like Habermas: honest conservatives are not afraid to admit the deadlock we are in. Houellebecq’s Atomised is for me the most devastating portrait of the sexual revolution of the 1960s. He shows how permissive hedonism turns into the obscene superego universe of the obligation to enjoy. Even his anti-Islamism is more refined than it may appear: he is well aware how the true problem is not the Muslim threat from the outside, but our own decadence. Long ago Friedrich Nietzsche perceived how Western civilization was moving in the direction of the Last Man, an apathetic creature with no great passion or commitment. Unable to dream, tired of life, he takes no risks, seeking only comfort and security, an expression of tolerance with one another:

    A little poison now and then: that makes for pleasant dreams. And much poison at the end, for a pleasant death. They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures for the night, but they have a regard for health. “We have discovered happiness,” — say the Last Men, and they blink.

RTWT

04 Jul 2018

How to Celebrate the Fourth

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A-4M Skyhawk

Task & Purpose:

Some people celebrate the Fourth of July with beer, barbecue, and fireworks. Others prefer more unconventional forms of celebration — like stealing a $14 million subsonic attack aircraft and taking it out for a spin in the skies above California.

That’s how Marine Lance Cpl. Howard A. Foot Jr. spent America’s birthday on July 4th, 1986, when the then-21-year-old mechanic clambered into the cockpit of an A-4M Skyhawk at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station and took off on the joyride of his life.

Despite never having flown a fighter jet before, Foote managed to pull off a pretty badass flight. ..

This wasn’t a youthful prank, like, say, riding dirty through the streets of Virginia in an M577 Armored Personnel Carrier. Rather, Foote’s airborne antics were a last-ditch effort to, as Los Angeles Times put it, “[fulfill] his lifelong dream of being at the throttle of a fighter jet, albeit a stolen one.”

The previous February, Foote had apparently suffered an aerial embolism during an attempt to set a glider altitude record — and just a few days after he was informed by military doctors that the incident would preclude him from ever sitting behind the throttle of a Marine Corps fighter jet, he absconded with the Skyhawk.

Foote was discharged from the Marine Corps, but all charges against him were dropped. This was likely thanks to his close relationship with retired El Toro chief Gen. William A. Bloomer, a mentor of Foote’s who had encouraged him to participate in the gliding challenge that dashed his dreams.

And while we’re not exactly sure what Foote is up to now, the Los Angeles Times catch-up with him some 15 months after the incident revealed a man eager to get back in the air.

“I’m waiting to hear if the Israeli Air Force will take me,” Foote, then a pilot for a charter airline, told the Los Angeles Times in 1988. “And if that doesn’t work out, I’m going to see if I can fly for Honduras. I’ve heard they recently got some Skyhawks.”

Here’s to you, Foote, for celebrating America’s birthday the way God intended: by fulfilling your dreams, consequences be damned.

RTWT

04 Jul 2018

Fourth of July!

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03 Jul 2018

Lee’s Gamble

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For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it’s all in the balance, it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, it not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstance which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it’s going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn’t need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose than all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago.

—William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust, 1948.

03 Jul 2018

Think Twice About that Revolution, Commies

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Last Saturday, Eugene, Oregon Antifa members tried shutting down forcibly a permitted march by a right-wing group calling itself Patriot Prayer in downtown Portland. NPR story.

This Antifa member swung a weapon at one of the conservatives and got his clock cleaned.

Good punch.

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02 Jul 2018

Castro’s Croc

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Fidel Castro was an admirer of the native Cuban predatory reptile, but his conservation efforts, like most of hos grandiose schemes, were mired in contradictions.

Hakai magazine:

Conserving the Cuban croc was one of Fidel Castro’s first priorities after he steamed into power in 1959. Just months into his rule, he ordered the creation of the Criadero de cocodrilos, Ciénaga de Zapata—or Zapata Swamp Captive Breeding Facility—a cluster of ponds, rows of concrete-block pens, and a couple of narrow one-story buildings split into modest offices and workspaces for staff two and a half hours south of Havana. Castro always had a predilection for wild spaces and things, says environmental historian Reinaldo Funes-Monzote of the University of Havana. Whether he cherished endemic species because they fit with his hypernationalistic sensibilities, or he related to their untamed energy, or he was just enlightened to the inherent value of wildlife is a guess, though crocodiles must have become a point of pride for him at some stage—he eventually developed a habit of gifting them, either living or embalmed, to foreign allies. He also launched initiatives to raise manatees, deer, and Cuban gar in the swamp.

The island of Cuba, some say, is shaped like a crocodile, though you need a highly developed imagination to see it. The hatchery, located on one of its webbed feet—whether front or back depends on which way you tilt your head—has been solely dedicated to the conservation of the Cuban crocodile since 1974. The mission is straightforward in theory: secure the Cuban crocodile for the future and learn about the natural history of the little-understood species along the way. Yet as geneticist Yoamel Milián-García of the University of Havana and others peer into the crocodile’s cellular secrets, they’re revealing that there’s a lot more that needs to be considered when it comes to conserving Castro’s croc.

In the wild, the Cuban—one of the world’s rarest crocodiles—is found almost exclusively within the 300-square-kilometer freshwater interior of the Zapata Swamp. The saltier stretches along the coast are the domain of Cuba’s other native crocodile—the widely distributed American (Crocodylus acutus), also found in coastal areas across Cuba and other Caribbean islands, and on the mainland from Mexico and southern Florida down to northern Peru and Venezuela. The Cuban is bolder and hunts during the day. It has a stubby snout, a reputation for jumping, and a tendency to walk with its belly high off the ground. The American is bigger, more apt to hide, searches for prey at night, sports dark bands on its back and sides, and has a long, pointed snout and extra webbing on its hind toes. The differences are as distinct as red from blue. Yet when Milián-García analyzed their genetics a few years ago, he confirmed what zookeepers and scientists had already suspected: the two species are skinny-dipping in the same gene pool. …

By the time Castro had taken power, Zapata Swamp had already been altered by human ambition. Land reclamation projects here date back to the 19th century. And as researcher Claudia Martínez Herrera from Cuba’s national archive explains in a report, in the 1940s, the sugar industry arrived in the swamp—trees were cleared to make way for crops and mills and to power production. Loggers also cut swaths of royal ebony, mahogany, and white oak for export and for coal production. The sediment released from logging changed the area’s hydrology, causing four distinct areas to merge together into one giant swamp. Inhabitants drove artificial channels deep into the interior to access remaining trees. When Fulgencio Batista was in power, he had even taken steps to slash a canal all the way from the swamp’s south coast to Havana, bisecting the country, as a shortcut for ships traveling between the United States and the Panama Canal, though it never materialized.

Castro embraced the notion of bringing economic development to the sparsely inhabited and impoverished region. In The Real Fidel Castro, the late former British ambassador to Cuba Leycester Coltman says that from the beginning, the leader—who has been heralded as an environmentalist—“showed a fatal attraction to gigantic schemes to conquer nature and change the landscape, the sort of projects that appealed to other modern pharaohs such as Mussolini and Stalin.” Castro wanted to drain the swamp, a “virtually unpopulated region, infested with mosquitoes and crocodiles,” and convert it into “a rich area for rice-growing and tourism,” Coltman writes. Under his watch, Funes-Monzote confirms, more water was siphoned away and more artificial channels were driven deep into the swamp, into Cuban crocodile habitat.

Aspiring to save endemic species while simultaneously degrading their habitat is clearly contradictory, though awareness about the importance of saving ecosystems rather than focusing on specific species had not yet become part of the zeitgeist, and land reclamation was still generally viewed as a good idea, says Funes-Monzote. Plus, Castro was perfectly comfortable with contradictions. …

[A]lthough they look and behave differently, Cuban crocodiles and American crocodiles in Cuba are almost genetically the same to begin with. Only a 0.9 percent genetic difference exists between them—which makes American crocodiles here much more closely related to Cuban crocodiles than to members of their own species elsewhere in their range. Perhaps considering them two species was a taxonomic miscalculation and they should be treated as one. Or, maybe the American crocodile in Cuba needs to be designated a second crocodile species entirely unique to Cuba. In that case, could allowing two separate but wholly Cuban species to hybridize prove more palatable from a social perspective?

RTWT

The Cuban croc is probably really only a sometimes-isolated local subspecies, at best.

02 Jul 2018

The Illiberal Nietzsche is the Only One There is

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Drawing of Friedrich Nietzsche by Karl Bauer.

Post-modernist leftists have a habit of invoking Nietzsche as an authority justifying their nihilist rejection of the natural order and conventional morality, but, as Brian Leiter, writing in the Times Literary Supplement clearly understands, Nietzsche is not on the side of Ameliorism, Social Justice, or Egalitarianism in the least. Nietzsche is not a Leftist at all. Nietzsche is the most extreme aristocrat.

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) pursued two main themes in his work, one now familiar, even commonplace in modernity, the other still under-appreciated, often ignored. The familiar Nietzsche is the “existentialist”, who diagnoses the most profound cultural fact about modernity: “the death of God”, or more exactly, the collapse of the possibility of reasonable belief in God. Belief in God – in transcendent meaning or purpose, dictated by a supernatural being – is now incredible, usurped by naturalistic explanations of the evolution of species, the behaviour of matter in motion, the unconscious causes of human behaviours and attitudes, indeed, by explanations of how such a bizarre belief arose in the first place. But without God or transcendent purpose, how can we withstand the terrible truths about our existence, namely, its inevitable suffering and disappointment, followed by death and the abyss of nothingness?

Nietzsche the “existentialist” exists in tandem with an “illiberal” Nietzsche, one who sees the collapse of theism and divine teleology as tied fundamentally to the untenability of the entire moral world view of post-Christian modernity. If there is no God who deems each human to be of equal worth or possessed with an immortal soul beloved by God, then why think we all deserve equal moral consideration? And what if, as Nietzsche argues, a morality of equality – and altruism and pity for suffering – were, in fact, an obstacle to human excellence? What if being a “moral” person makes it impossible to be Beethoven? Nietzsche’s conclusion is clear: if moral equality is an obstacle to human excellence, then so much the worse for moral equality. This is the less familiar and often shockingly anti-egalitarian Nietzsche. …

Nietzsche’s central objection to morality is more radical and illiberal: any culture dominated by Judeo-Christian morality, or other ascetic or life-denying moralities, will be one inhospitable to the realization of human excellence. What if, as he says in On the Genealogy of Morality, “morality itself were to blame if the highest power and splendor possible to the type man was never in fact attained? So that morality itself was the danger of dangers?”

Consider his objection to moral views that demand that we eliminate suffering and promote happiness. In Dawn, he writes, “Are we not, with this tremendous objective of obliterating all the sharp edges of life, well on the way to turning mankind into sand? Sand! Small, soft, round, unending sand! Is that your ideal, you heralds of the sympathetic affections?” In Beyond Good and Evil a few years later, he objects to utilitarians that, “Well-being as you understand it – that is no goal, that seems to us an end, a state that soon makes man ridiculous and contemptible . . . . ”

Does a focus on happiness really make people “ridiculous and contemptible”? Nietzsche offers a more ambitious explanation in Beyond Good and Evil:

The discipline of suffering, of great suffering – do you not know that only this discipline has created all enhancements of man so far? That tension of the soul in unhappiness which cultivates its strength, its shudders face to face with great ruin, its inventiveness and courage in enduring, persevering, interpreting, and exploiting suffering, and whatever has been granted to it of profundity, secret, mask, spirit, cunning, greatness – was it not granted to it through suffering, through the discipline of great suffering?

Most suffering is nothing more than misery for its subject, and most happy “comfortable” people are not exemplars of human excellence. Nietzsche surely knew this. (He was no “tourist” when it came to suffering – even before his disability-related retirement from Basel in 1879 and continuing on until his final mental collapse in 1889, he suffered from excruciating physical maladies, probably due to untreated syphilis). What Nietzsche noticed is that suffering, at least in certain individuals (including himself), could be the stimulus to extraordinary creativity – one need only read a biography of Beethoven to see a paradigm example. But even if Nietzsche has correctly diagnosed the psychological mechanism at work, why should a morality of pity for suffering present an obstacle to sufferers realizing their creative potential? Nietzsche’s crucial thought is that in a culture committed to happiness and the elimination of suffering as its goal, nascent Nietzsches and Beethovens will squander their potential in pursuit of both those aims, rather than in pursuing creative work. After all, if it is bad to suffer, then all your efforts should be devoted to avoiding suffering; and if it is good to be happy, then, that should be the aim of everything you do. But human excellence is compatible with neither the pursuit of happiness nor the flight from suffering.

If Nietzsche’s speculative psychology is correct, then we arrive at a startling conclusion. In a hedonistic and sympathetic culture, which devalues suffering and prioritizes its relief, the glorious spectacle of human genius will be missing from the world: no Beethovens, Nietzsches or Goethes.

RTWT

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