February 17th, 2019

#6641: It was a hoax. What a, uh, surprise.

The headline tells the tale: "Nigerian Brothers In Smollett Investigation Paid $7,000 To Stage "MAGA Country" Attack: Report".

I have been saying this shit was a hoax from the first time I heard the story. I based that on the fact that every other time there has been a big to-do about an alleged white-on-black hate crime, it has been a hoax.


Welcome to the Sai-- no, I did that one already. (But this is a perfect example of the application of the phrase.)

* * *

In War Games there is a scene where Matthew Broadderick is sent to the principal's office yet again.

The principal greets him sarcastically: "Lightman! What a, uh, surprise. Won't you step into my office?"

* * *

Giving the communists a taste of their own medicine. While I generally deplore vandalism, I cannot think of a better place where its application is warranted.

The grave of Karl Marx ought to be shallow, unmarked, and shared with dozens of strangers. 100,000,000 people have graves like that because of him. If there is anyone that I could point to as the focus of evil in the modern world, it's Karl Marx.

* * *

Yesterday was one of those days where you look at the clock and think, "WTF, why isn't it later than this?" After being at work two hours, it felt like five, and it wasn't, and when I later looked at the clock and saw that it was seven PM I moaned, "Why isn't it nine?"

But the day did end, eventually, and I proceeded to be up until 4 AM fooling around with the PC and doing a little WoW. We slept in today; I had a shower as soon as I woke up but then mucked around with WoW for a while before running to the grocery store for some needed sundries. Came home, more WoW, then a 4-hour nap; and when I got up from that, Mrs. Fungus wanted Taco Bell.

The new Taco Bell here in the Fungal Vale does not suffer from whatever malady besets the next-nearest one, in Richton Park; when we get food from that one, we inevitably suffer "symptoms" the next day. But this one, the food tastes good and doesn't ruin our digestions, and as a bonus they're open after midnight. And we like Taco Bell; we just don't like having our dispositions upset by bad food.

There are half a dozen other fast food restaurants I would have preferred in its place, but as long as the Taco Bell continues to have non-gastric-destroying food, it'll do.

* * *

Watched a series of videos on YouTube by "Fuzzy Dice Projects" in which the guy rebuilt a 4T60e transmission in his garage.

I do not quite understand why, in this era of digital controls, modern automatic transmissions have to be as complex as they are.

Take a transmission like the good old Turbo-Hydramatic 350. Three forward speeds, one reverse...and it's a fiendishly complex beast. It's not hard to learn how it works--this band applies for that gear, etcetera--but at the heart of it is the valve body, which is a rat's warren of passages through which hydraulic fluid passes, under pressure.

The valve body of an automatic transmission is, essentially, an analog computer that uses hydraulic, rather than electrical, pressure. PSI instead of volts. The pressure on the various valves and regulators in the thing determine which gear is operational at any one time, and it's a function of load, vehicle speed, engine speed, and throttle position. It basically integrates those four variables and selects a gear based entirely on those inputs. (The driver can manually select gears but that's a different function.)

With computer control, though, it seems to me that things should be different. The digital computer running the rest of the drivetrain can see all those variables (and others besides) and should be able to run the automatic transmission without that complicated valve body. And I figure that machining the valve body has to be a fairly expensive process, so they'd get rid of it if they could; the fact that they don't indicates it's necessary. But I don't get why.

Anyway the 4l60e adds an overdrive gear, and somehow that makes it even more complicated than the Turbo-Hydramatic was. The guy completely disassembles it and puts it all back together over a series of eight videos, and I was bewildered by the array of parts in the damned thing. The valve body was the worst, with clips, plugs, valves, springs, accumulators, regulators, and check balls. Holy crap.

Guess that explains why transmission repair is so expensive.

On the plus side, the 4L60e does not require a great deal of specialized equipment for service. A good set of snap ring pliers, a specific type of spring compressor fixture, and a good set of bushing and seal drivers would do it. Then you just need to keep track of all the parts and make sure they all go back where they came from.

I figure that rebuilding the Jeep's transfer case is probably in my future. I don't know what I'd do if the transmission went, but I'd bet money it's not as easily rebuilt ("easily"! argh) as the 4L60e is. Probably try to find one in a boneyard.

I do--when the weather warms up--want to massage the old crate and fix a bunch of stuff that's been bothering me. Besides the little mechanical bits that need doing, I'm thinking that I'll take a stab at fixing the rocker panels, and patch the hole in the floor. WTF I have the welder; why not use it?

#6642: A hoax, all right (the long version)

I do feel it necessary to stand up and say "This is what I've been saying!" because--being the youngest in the family--no one ever listened to me. I understand Cassandra's plight implicitly.

Vox Day is a little late to the party. He may have considered this a "dog bites man" story, though.

Second City Cop, which had interesting inside information, now mentions that the hoax could have a federal component. Apparently there was some kind of threatening note mailed somewhere, and on the evidence sheet the first line item is "magazine on bird cage". Since SCC doesn't talk about firearms but paper magazines, I infer that this magazine is missing words or letters, which were cut out out of the magazine and pasted on paper to make a threatening letter.

Problem: when you do that and mail the thing, that makes it a federal crime.

Karl Denninger goes right for the obvious conclusion. Unfortunately, we're talking about something perpetrated in Chicago, which--as always--has a "difficult" racial environment. No one is going to jail for this; forget it.

That "difficult" racial environment is no different than any other Democrat Machine city, and it's used as an excuse to be just as lax on crime as they can be. If the Machine told the blacks that under no circumstances were they to riot, and then found this turkey guilty, do you honestly think the blacks would riot? There would be some spontaneous nonsense, but you'd have Jesse Jackson out there urging everyone to be calm and all the other race hustlers and "community organizers" would be keeping a lid on things.

But the Machine--wherever one exists--finds it useful to have mob violence on standby, because that helps them to keep the middle class and upper class whites in line. "You know, if it wasn't for us, those blacks from the south side would roll right over you--but we're barely hanging on, here, so pay up." So, when a black man spends literal thousands of dollars to fake a hate crime, the Machine can't punish him for it--not because they're incapable of doing it, but because it would erode their position with the people who have all the money.

You'll notice that when there are riots over perceived injustices, they don't take place in the tony uptown neighborhoods. They don't happen in the downtown districts where the court buildings are, nor do they happen near City Hall. One would think that people rioting over a court decision they don't like would riot somewhere nearer one of those locations, you know? Where the injustice actually took place?

Why do these people riot and destroy and burn their own neighborhoods? That doesn't make a lot of sense, does it? Even if you assume the people who are actually rioting have short time preferences and are largely uneducated? If someone's screwed me over, I don't think that punching myself in the face does much to rectify that. That kind of calculus should not be beyond anyone capable of feeding and dressing himself.

Bears thinking about. But I digress.

I am not the only one capable of identifying these things as hoaxes, even a mile away. As a bonus this includes what the story would have looked like had it not been a hoax.

The nigerian brothers pretty much confessed to everything and now the third-rate actor is having to explain himself. He's doubling down on his story.

I don't know what the motive is for this. Some people have said that the actor was due to be written out of the show, and he did this to avoid that happening. The production staff has said that there are no such plans. (Or perhaps the word was "were"?) For what that's worth, I believe them; too many times the people who perpetrate these hoaxes are the only ones who understand why they're doing it.

The attempt at connecting the assault with supporters of President Trump is probably the key. Plenty of leftists out there think that "if only the people are shown the truth!" they will come around to their way of thinking. Problem is, the "truth" is not obvious enough for "the sheeple", so they think that by doing something like this everyone will suddenly have this epiphany about what Trump supporters are really like. And so, out comes this stupid crap.

The problem is, these idiots don't realize how thorough and deep modern criminal investigation can be. I scoffed at the Chicago cops trying to find out where the rope was sold, but they did it; and having the sample from the guy's neck and whatever was found in the apartment, a decent forensics lab can probably match the two rather neatly.

It doesn't take nearly as much as you might think. The default position for anyone wanting to commit a crime should be I won't get away with it, because if they are sufficiently motivated the police will find out who did it.

And a lot of these hoaxes end up being found out because of stupid errors. For example, the lesbian who claimed she was accosted by "right-wingers" while trying to withdraw money from an ATM--I don't remember all the details but I do remember that something was scrawled on her forehead, only it had been written backwards as if she'd done it to herself in a mirror. Like that.

The third-rate actor's errors are pretty manifest: somehow he kept his sandwich, completely intact. His assailants knew who he was, and identified him as such. The timing of the attack was ludicrous: 2 AM on the night of the worst cold snap Chicago has seen in thirty years. And as the Gormorgons post makes plain, not really beating him so much as just assaulting him and messing him up a bit. Have to believe that a beating that was part of a real hate crime would've put this gomer into the hospital, you know?

To say nothing of the fact that the guy's actions, after the attack, were suspicious. I mean, if you've been attacked, completely out of the blue, you're rattled--unless it's something that happens to you all the time, in which case you have other problems--and shaken and you cooperate with them. You don't wait 45 minutes to call the cops, and sit there with the noose still around your neck, and-and-and.

Because of how this thing went down it was pretty obvious from the get-go that it was a hoax. And the odds were good that it was precisely because we've seen so many of them.

The guy should go to jail for this. But he probably won't. Oh well.

#6643: The other stuff.

I'm not the only one talking about the Amazon tax credit stupidity coming from the left wing. And I say "stupidity" advisedly; as noted previously here in the Fungus, Amazon would have ended up generating a lot of tax revenue for NYC and the state--money which, thanks to the grandstanding of the left-wing morons, they will not realize.

How much? "...[E]ven if Amazon's New York tax bill were just HALF of what it paid in Washington, then New York City would have been recouping more than 100% of its tax incentive EVERY YEAR."

NYC offered Amazon tax credits to the tune of $120 million per year. Amazon pays Washington state $250 million per year, and their taxes are lower than NY's taxes. So figure that even in Amazon owed NY only what it owes WA every year, that's still $130 million over and above the tax credit.

Then? "The company itself estimated that they it generate an average $500 million per year in tax revenue for New York City."

Using that number, we're looking at $370 million rather than $130 million. Now we're starting to talk about real money, aren't we?

And it turns out that NYC is running a $500 million budget deficit this year. Coincidentally, Amazon estimated it would generate $500 million in tax revenue for the city. Hmm....

Where is the victory that the leftists are crowing about? What advantage do they see in this situation? What does this fix? "Haha, we kept Amazon out!" And cost the city $500 million per year in tax revenue. Good going.

* * *

Nancy Pelosi thinks this is clever. She says the next Democrat President will "declare a national emergency on guns."

As Denninger points out, there is a right to keep and bear arms; there is no right to enter the country. He says "unlawfully" but in fact there is no right to enter the country at all. Citizens of the country have the right to be here; noncitizens do not. At any time the country can tell noncitizens, "Get out," and they have to. They can be barred from entry at any time for any reason.

The distinction is tricky. It can be argued, "Well, if the country says no one can come in, then if they do, they're entering illegally." But it could be argued that as long as there is a legal process for entry, we must let someone in that follows that legal process--and that's what I'm talking about. While it is routine to grant entry to those holding visas, there is absolutely no legal right to entry. Entry to the US is a privilege if you are not a citizen.

So much for the constitutional basis for Pelosi's horseshit. But what about the rest of it?

Any President trying to make an end run around any constitutional right should be impeached, immediately, and removed from office--but as we see from the Civil War and Lincoln's suspension of habeus corpus, that doesn't happen.

What would happen? Denninger thinks "Civil War II" and I'd wager he's not far off. Only an idiot would try to disarm the American populace through brute force. But I do not have a lot of faith in Pelosi's intellect.

* * *

Bernie Sanders, you're a dud.

* * *

I'll go one better: why did his prior felony conviction not come up during the background check? Whenever you buy a gun from a dealer, you fill out a form, and they run a background check. The background check is supposed to flag people who are not eligible to purchase firearms.

Oh, but more laws and more restrictions will totally end gun crimes. Right?

* * *

I want one. Actually I want an "infinity dodecahedron" because the 12-sider has always been my favorite polyhedron die. Most cool.

* * *

Last night it felt cold and...quiet. When I went out to do my shopping, the air felt heavy, and sound seemed muffled. I figured it was going to snow, but it didn't.

Today I got up and saw snow on the ground, maybe as much as an inch of it.

That's fine. This winter has already been a lot more harsh than I expected.