It was nighttime. Friend A and Friend B were going somewhere. A was driving and had just toked up to a considerable extent. Friend A, pulling away from the house, neglected to turn on the car's headlights.
Friend B said, "A, you might want the headlights on."
A replied, "We will chill!"
(It should be noted that this occurred in a neighborhood with streetlights at every corner, but nowhere between, so the streets are not well-lit.)
This one anecdote convinced me that--as is the case with other intoxicants--marajuana does not leave you fit to operate a motor vehicle.
Still don't really care about it being legalized, but we have to keep in mind that there will be vehicle wrecks caused by one of the drivers being impaired, whether it's alcohol or THC or morphine or WTF-ever.
Know what else they'll discover? Increased incidence of emphysema and lung cancer from heavy users of marajuana. Smoking pot is no better for you than smoking tobacco is; you're smoking it to get the active ingredient, which is a depressive drug, and which is carried in a witches' brew of other chemicals and soot.
Related: Borepatch opines on the stupidity of the war on (some) drugs.
At the beginning of the century, when one could buy morphine at the corner drugstore over the counter, there was no drug crime, no gang wars, no civil asset forfeiture, no SWAT raids, nothing of the sort. The war on (some) drugs has made us less free and less safe than we were before the government stepped in. It's time to get the government back out.
* * *
The UN won't throw US out, more's the pity, because US spends so much money on them. Mind you, I'd love it if the US was ejected from the UN. Then we could tell them to move their commie asses to Brussels and GTFO of NYC. The US could stop funding an anti-US organization and stop hosting it on American soil.
This would play hob with my SF universe, including the current project, but eh...details. Besides, it'll never happen. The UN likes US dollars too much.
* * *
Once again: islam is not a religion, but a political system with a veneer of death cult on top.
And that woman is a martyr.
* * *
I only have a few things to say about Otto Warmbier.
Did he deserve to die? No.
Was he stupid? Absolutely.
Look: it's no secret that North Korea is a totalitarian communism. In NK there are no civil rights. Further, it's a country which is hostile to America. And owing to more than half a century of stupidity from the left, saying, "I'm an American!" is more likely to get you killed, rather than less.
It wasn't always that way. It used to be that an American abroad was completely untouchable, because if anything bad happened to an American in a foreign country that country would do everything it could to fix the problem before it got out of hand, and the American government got involved, and things got nasty.
But it's not like that any more, especially after the way Carter handled the "hostage crisis" in Tehran in 1979.
So today, when you travel to a foreign country, you are taking a risk that something bad may happen to you. Even traveling to Europe isn't safe any longer, not the way their program of importing a myriad of islamic refugees is bringing with it the islamic savagery which made much of the middle east a no-go zone for civilized people.
But when you go to a totalitarian third-world shithole like NK, where people are treated like toilet paper and life is disposable, you are really, really putting yourself at risk, simply by going there.
In North Korea, there is no freedom of expression. You do not have a right to a trial by a jury of your peers. You do not have the right to remain silent. You do not have the right to an attorney. You do not have freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. You do not have anything. You certainly don't have any of the protections or legal rights available to you when you are in the United States. You are, simply put, at the mercy of dictators. Further, since you are in a country which considers the US an enemy, there is not going to be much mercy available to you.
We're talking about a place where they can put you in jail for the rest of your life simply for saying something they don't like. And they'll do it, too. Don't think they won't. "It was just a little joke!" won't make a difference. It is not a joke to them, and they don't think it's funny when rich Americans come to their country and stir up trouble. (And that's exactly how they look at it: your "little joke" is sedition, and an attempt at fomenting rebellion.)
All of this adds up to an extremely simple proposition: DON'T GO THERE. Stay the hell out. Stay in South Korea, which is a free, capitalist nation. The culture is the same, the food is the same, and you're not running the very real risk of ending up at hard labor for making an offhand quip.
And if you absolutely must go, for whatever reason--for fuck's sake, don't try to steal anything. Sure, there are fifty posters all in a row there. Attempting to take one down, regardless of your motivation, is a serious crime there. It doesn't matter if you just want to take it home with you as a souvenir; defacing or removing government propaganda is a serious crime under a totalitarian regime. It's not petty theft; it's sedition. It's anti-revolution. (Communist revolution, that is.) It's destroying a message from the Party.
Otto Warmbier is guilty only of being perilously ignorant, something which--in the modern world--ought not to be a capital offense. But the problem is, he voluntarily placed himself in the power of people who don't consider human life valuable, who consider everything a distant second or third to the power of the Party and the State...and then he failed to consider how they would view his actions.
* * *
...and yes, I've made something of a study of the operations of totalitarian governments, and how they function. To Americans--especially those ignorant of what communism does to people--it looks like the NK reaction to Otto Warmbier's attempted theft of a poster was hyperbolic, a severe overreaction. But rest assured that to the commisars of NK, Warmbier got off easy: they didn't put him in front of a firing squad.
You can't mess with Party propaganda when you're in one of those commie shitholes. You will be watched very carefully--they are very suspicious of Americans--and anything you do could land you in an interrogation room or a courtroom.
It's not right, not by a long shot--totalitarianism in general and communism specifically are horrible, brutal things--but it's how those places are. So it's best simply not to go.
* * *
Because ultimately, the left has one final tactic, and that is to kill anyone who opposes it or disagrees with it.
* * *
SJWs always project. That's why the Democrats consistently try to figure out who the "leader" of the right-wing movement is, and attempt to destroy him, and fail. We don't have anyone leading us, telling us who to vote for. We try to find the guy who is closest to our beliefs and needs, and we vote for him.
What we don't do is wait for so-and-so to tell us, "Hey, Joejimbob is the guy we're supporting this month!" and then flock to him. We don't need that, and in fact we would reject that if someone tried to do it.
Example: Jeb Bush.
Example: Mitt Romney.
Counterexample: Donald Trump.
"Maybe we should consider the possibility that conservatives vote for the candidate who better represents them, instead of mindlessly voting for the candidate we think they should vote for," said no Democratic-leaning pundit on earth. "Yes," agreed his equally non-existent colleague, "it's possible we understand nothing about their psychology."That is exactly so.
* * *
Meanwhile the media continue to peddle a narrative that only the left buys. It's pretty obvious to us on the right but those on the left (like the ones who insist there's no media bias, or that it's biased to the right) just don't seem to get it.
.... It is consumed--perhaps obsessed is the word--with the Russian collusion narrative.That's the real problem the left has. They have one insult ("Trump is stupid!") and one joke ("Hey, that Donald Trump...isn't he stupid?") and as a model for dealing with a complex individual it is, shall we say, lacking.
One would have thought the shocking loss of Jon Osoff to Karen Handel in Georgia would have snapped the system out of its coma. At least it should alert them to the dangers of being transfixed by their own narrative. After all, when you keep losing the chess game to an opponent believed by the media to have the IQ of an orangutan, it's got to be more than bad luck, perhaps caused by ignoring the objectively real in order to serve one's mental boxes.
They deride their opponents as stupid, and believe it...and then they're shocked to the core when that stupid, stupid man out-maneuvers them. And none of them asks, "Hey, if he's so stupid, and our guy lost to him, what does that make our guy?" The only possible answer to that is, "Shut up, that's what!"
In all the screenshots I've seen of the talking heads covering that special election, none of them is smiling. They all look like they need some Elavil or Zoloft or something. Because they keep making these elections into referenda on Trump, instead of considering that they're just local elections.
* * *
The countdown continues. If there isn't a budget by June 30--which is now only eight days away--a lot of shit is going to come down.
Democrats keep talking about how bad it is that we're in this situation, and they keep saying that the Republicans must cave--well, if it's such a serious crisis, why don't they give a little? The fact is that the Democrats are the intransigent ones here, refusing to bend even a little to pass a budget and get things moving again.
I don't know how the hell Governor Rauner is doing it, to be honest. Illinois is a wholly-owned political subsidiary of the Democrat party; Republican governors are usually unable to do anything to thwart Democrats here. Part of it is because there's usually some dirty laundry the Democrats can hold over his head. Mostly it's because Chicago is a Democrat machine city, and it's so populous that it forces the state hard left.
The only way Rauner can be doing this is due to the overall deflation of Democrat power in the US in the past decade. Democrats have lost something like a thousand offices over the entire US, governorships and Senate seats and House seats and state legislatures combined. A softening of the hard Democrat power in Illinois might be why Rauner has been as successful as he has been.
I still don't see him winning. But resisting the Democrats for so long, in one of their own strongholds, is a victory of its own.
* * *
I did get a laugh out of this. Especially at 1:40; the camera is on the silent newsreader for several seconds; he looks up and raises his eyebrows, and then BAM "Breaking News"...again. But it probably was only funny because I'd watched it from the beginning to that point.
Watching it in its entirety, I find it entertaining, too. Then again, I'm the guy who once watched his After Dark screen saver for two hours, totally sober. Oh well.
* * *
Last night I put the motorcycle's rear wheel back on, but didn't do anything else. I dug into my supply cabinet to see if I had any coarse sandpaper, and managed to find some; after sanding the glaze off the rear brake drum I reassembled the bike and all was well. Then I went to work on cleaning out the cabinet itself, because there was a surprising amount of junk in it.
Among other things--
I've had, since my tech school days, a rechargeable Dremel tool. I also got a cheap 12v knock-off which has virtually zero torque, so it's not really useful, but it came with a ton of bits in a rather nice case. So I modified the foam in the case to fit the rechargeable Dremel and threw away the knock-off. I also had a metal Dremel case, from when a friend had brought one over here. No idea why the case didn't go back with the tool, but the case is still here, with some bits; so I emptied the case out entirely, getting rid of the detritus which had accumulated in it and transferring the bits to the newer case. That Dremel box is going to become my soldering kit box! I'll put my irons in it, my solder, my fancy new stand, everything related to soldering should fit neatly in that box.
But I tossed a lot of junk, and in the process made plenty of room in the cabinet for useful things, and so now my workbench has that much less stuff on it (like various automotive chemicals).
At some point I need to make time to remove my little 4" vise and install the honking big vise I got from Dad's house, but it's not an emergency.
Nice feeling: last night Mrs. Fungus told me again how glad she is that the basement is clean. "Every time I go down there, I can't believe how nice it is!" If we could get more of that stuff out of there, it'd be even nicer. That day will come.
As for me, I was looking at that old stove in the garage, and wondering if I really did need a trailer to get rid of it? But how much would it cost me to rent a trailer, anyway?
--and I got the electric and gas bills all paid up today. I could actually afford to rent one....