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  • New Year’s Eve, 2020/21

    Posted by David Foster on December 31st, 2020 (All posts by )

    A thought from the late and very great Neptunus Lex:

    “I’ve often wished that you could split at each important choice in life. Go both ways, each time a fork in the road came up. Compare notes at the end, those of us that made it to the clearing at the end of the path. Tell it all over a tumbler of smokey, single malt.”

     

    36 Responses to “New Year’s Eve, 2020/21”

    1. Jonathan Says:

      It’s a nice thought.

    2. Mike K Says:

      My wife and I married in 1979, divorced in 1987 and married again in 2016.

      Second chances do happen.

    3. Brian Says:

      You only get one time through. But there’s still nowhere better to have your one time than right here in the US of A. I’d like to have the nation I grew up in back, but we don’t always get we want. So here’s to a 2021 where we all do our part, no matter how big or small, to shift things the right way, so that in the end which the quote refers to we can confidently say we have fought the good fight, we have finished the race, we have kept the faith.
      May everyone here have a glorious and blessed New Year to come.

    4. Mike-SMO Says:

      And go back to your TV and pop corn. Life is choice and what you accomplish along the path you took.

      I was immensely impressed with President Trump who made a decision in the fog about the Chinese Crud. Incomplete data, no information except lies from China and Italian “statistics”. He chose “flattening the curve” and travel restrictions, to minimize the death and damage. A very profound, “military” decision made with no certainty. Fantastic! My only hesitation was, “Who is going to explain this to the “troops “?”

      It is reality; CHOOSE OR DIE. Tales from the Decameron has already been written. By time the medical “studies” are complete, no one will be alive to care. Stand there and be swept away by the flood.

      God, who may or nor exist, probably diddled the initial conditions to get some final condition that he/she/it wanted but which we cannot possibly understand, but then enjoyed watching our solutions to the problems. As a child, I got bored with operating a train set. Round and round, so what!? I am pretty sure that a god would have gotten bored manipulating the pieces of his “creation”. If you want to watch all the possibilities, watch Saturday cartoons and then go back to sleep. When the guy in the yellow vest touches the deck and points into the wind, the pilot chooses a path. He is betting his ass on his skill and the skill of his wingman.

      If that isn’t the game for you, there is always the Chinese crystals that you can inject into your arm. Pretty colors and a cheap buzz….. Or maybe, exactly the same job for 40 years. Or a bottle of Tequilla and then a detailed study of the patterns in the wall paper.

      I appreciate President Trump since he can see the complexity, better than I can, and is willing to make a choice/decision without a certain outcome.

      If that is too much for you, we’ll come back later and change your diaper. Get in the game or get out of the way. There is always a dim, scummy socialist apartment hole for the unimaginative or fearful or some pre-packaged mush on the boob-tube or in the comic books. I am sure that you will have plenty of company in the gloom. Or turn into the wind and risk whatever you got.

      She was lovely and scared the crap out of me. Launch!

      Oh, Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year, whatever path you take.

    5. Mike K Says:

      I will wish everyone a Happy New Year, whether or not I believe it will happen.

      I think the best we can hope for is to be left alone.

    6. PenGun Says:

      “I’ve often wished that you could split at each important choice in life. Go both ways, each time a fork in the road came up.”

      This is pretty well exactly the ‘many worlds’ interpretation of quantum mechanics. The idea that every time there is a quantum “decision” it takes both paths instead of choosing one.

      Happy New Year!

    7. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      I recommend Jorge Luis Borges short story “The Garden of Forking Paths” for fun speculation which will enhance your own speculations on this. There are, however, usually four or five choices, and then another four or five in the next minute. We think the big decisions in our lives are the big decisions, but that might not be so. Many of those will come back to the center of the river quickly enough (though perhaps we are in a different boat) while the small chances may prove decisive.

      As for Trump, or any leader, decisions in a fog are what it is about. He is decisive. I recall Bush saying “I am the decider” and getting unending grief for it, but he was quite right. Everyone else gets to look back and tell you you are wrong. That is the specialty of intellectuals and journalists, actually. They are good at it, and often correct. Yet in the moment, they are not often helpful. European intellectuals had a nearly unbroken record of being wrong politically in the 20th C, and they aren’t off to a good start in the 21st.

      I have often thought of Marshall Tito’s (probably apocryphal) statement in the 1950’s when evaluating Trump: “Leadership is easy. All it takes is for someone to make the decision. And if you are right more than half the time, so much the better.” Trump was decisive and right more often than wrong, maybe 60-40. I doubt Biden will be decisive, and even when he is, will be lucky to reach 30-70. He has the wrong instincts.

    8. Jonathan Says:

      Very well put, AVI.

    9. David Foster Says:

      Years ago, the CEO of one of the big heavy equipment companies–maybe it was John Deere…offered some thoughts on the making of major decisions. Can’t find the exact quote, but something like:

      “You need to go into the thicket of ambiguity and suffer there awhile, and then come out the other side.”

      ie, don’t ignore the complexities, but don’t let them stop you from making a clear decision, either.

      Advice is obviously relevant only in those situations were at least a little *time* is available for the decision-making process; there are other situations when instinct and even muscle memory are key.

    10. Mike K Says:

      Advice is obviously relevant only in those situations were at least a little *time* is available for the decision-making process; there are other situations when instinct and even muscle memory are key.

      I spent 50 years in a situation where decisions were almost instantaneous. Some were wrong decisions, not many, but Patton made the point that wrong decisions are better than none at all. It has left me with small patience with fools and something of a curmudgeon but it gave me an appreciation for Trump.

      Of course he was never going to get credit for his leadership as the game has been fixed for 25 years.

    11. MCS Says:

      I like to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year. At the same time, I have to acknowledge a little guiltily that 2020 has been a pretty good year for me. This is certainly not because of any special virtue on my part and the question of divine intercession I’ll leave to the theologians. I’ll leave it at luck.

      Decisions are what life is made of. Who stops to weigh the small but real risk of dying in an accident before going to the grocery store? Yet it happens about a hundred times a day somewhere. Now the avoidance of an unquantifiable risk of catching wuflu has been injected into the gears where it is steadily wearing them away. So far the effect has been to increase friction, reducing in person business and rechanneling some of the balance into remote transactions.

      I wonder how much Wal-Mart figures they lose because delivery customers are sticking to their lists, no more picking something up because it looks good or they just realized they were out of it. I’m sure the same sort of thing is happening all over.

      You don’t have to be a mechanical genius to know that the increased friction eventually becomes complete failure and everything stops. I very much believe that we will see soon places where this happens because this abrasive been added not into some well maintained machine but one that has been running overloaded with too little oil for years. These places have, moreover, made the deliberate decision add ever more of the wuflu grade grit and double down with a huge pile of “social justice” extra hard and large grade as well.

      We choose to elect those that will make decisions for us. I doubt that Biden is up to deciding what color socks to wear on a particular day, we will regret choosing him, very soon and for a long time thereafter.

    12. Brian Says:

      “We choose to elect those that will make decisions for us.”
      Actually I think the last four years have shown that this is not the case. Trump was not allowed to be president, in the way that all of his predecessors were.
      This isn’t new, but I just came across it the other day:
      https://theethicalskeptic.com/2017/06/18/tyflocracy-the-new-art-of-oppressive-governance/
      Tyflocracy: /philosophy : illicit governance : expansion of power by strategic employment of risk/ : /from Greek: τυφλός (tyflós: blind eye)/ : a power-wielding and expansive form of governance or administration which is willfully or maliciously blind to a suffering subject group or citizenry – often displaced in favor of groups who are not under its charge, employed as a means to increase its power. A group who strategically apportions risk, dismissing or refusing to examine its impart to a disfavored group over which they rule or have administering authority and impact – wherein a condition of negligence is indistinguishable from malevolence. A government who has assumed that the ‘general welfare’ is something it possesses and owns, and has duty to apportion to its constituents based upon virtuous justice – making the government an indispensable entity which must protect itself at all costs, up to and including ending public scrutiny of its conduct, corrupt mechanisms of power and election, and establishing a credible/vital nuclear option.

      Sounds familiar, no?
      But we’re not in a hopeless situation. I went for a drive in upstate New York today. Still lots of Trump flags, though nowhere near as many as the number that blanketed the area a couple months ago. We The People need to make the powers that be exquisitely familiar with classic foreign terms like “non serviam”, “molon labe”, etc.

    13. MCS Says:

      I don’t think there is anything much more hopeless than a Republican in New York. What do they think their representatives can accomplish? The Democrat majorities in the government make them a minor nuisance to the machine, probably, without enough influence to merit being paid off. There was no blatant corruption in the election there because there was never any doubt who the winner would be. A reckoning is coming but I suspect the Democrats are so entrenched that those west of the Hudson will stay as passive victims as the whole thing implodes.

      The battle will be won or lost in the states where the Republican party is still competitive. It will depend on whether the voters can retain focus long enough to hold those charged with insuring honest elections accountable and seeing that changes are made to keep these embarrassments from happening again.

      This is where the Tea Party failed. Why? Because the IRS interfered with their fund raising? Or because they held a few rallies and just evaporated, leaving no more trace than their scrupulously policed rallies? They weren’t going to earn credibility in six months or by accepting vague lip service from candidates that then felt perfectly safe in simply ignoring what was never a real commitment.

    14. Brian Says:

      MCS: Basically every sheriff in the state publicly told Andy to get outta here with his anti-Thanksgiving edicts, and he didn’t bother repeating it at Christmas or New Year. Our government system has been hollowed out significantly the last 50 years but the centralization isn’t complete yet.
      I think the GOPe thinks they can squash people now the same way they did with the Tea Party, but they have no clue how much angrier people are now, and how much of it is directed straight at them, not at the Democrats.

    15. MCS Says:

      Everyone in New York is on the way to being collateral damage in Cuomo’s quest to be President. There’s a 36 billion hole in the slush fund amusingly called a budget and anyone that’s still on the wrong side of the state line will be contributing. Get out while you can.

    16. Helian/Doug Drake Says:

      There are those who say we have no free will (Dennett, Coyne, Hossenfelder, etc.), and therefore there are no genuine forks in the road with real choices. We live in a determinist universe, with those choices programmed in advance. If that’s true, one wonders why we have such a powerful illusion that we do have free will. I personally simply assume that I have free will. It’s one assumption that cannot possibly do any avoidable harm if it’s wrong. After all, if I don’t actually have free will, my assumptions are just as predetermined as everything else. I could not possibly have avoided assuming that I have free will.

    17. MCS Says:

      Counting universes is strange. It goes 1,∞ with nothing between unless there is a bounding function that would somehow constrain the number to a finite value greater than one. I find the existence of a bounding function implausible.

      It would seem to me that a totally predestined universe could only exist in a unitary universe framework while a free will universe could exist under either model.

      Predestination also precludes free will completely, again on the basis of bounding. Free will that is unable to exceed the bounds of predestination is not free.

      The illusion that there is empty space between me and the wall of this room is also very strong when the reality, as we understand it, is there is only a difference in density. When you consider the range between the most empty reaches of intergalactic space and a collapsing neutron star in the instant before it becomes a black hole, the difference is within less than a rounding error of zero. Yet the illusion persists. The illusion only fades when you look through a sufficient path of “empty” air and notice the interference or seek to move at a sufficient relative velocity that the physical resistance becomes apparent. In both cases the difference between reality and illusion is easily measurable over very short distances and very low velocities, just not with our unaided senses.

      So it would seem, all we need to do is design an instrument that would measure the possible resistance to free will caused by predestination. The first requirement is a NIST traceable supply of free will.

    18. Mike K Says:

      I think the GOPe thinks they can squash people now the same way they did with the Tea Party, but they have no clue how much angrier people are now, and how much of it is directed straight at them, not at the Democrats.

      I hope this is true. One sign might be what happens to the Republican Congressmen and Senators that voted to over ride Trump’s veto.

      109 Republicans voted with Democrats.

      His objections served as the latest loyalty test for Republicans in the aftermath of his election defeat by Joe Biden. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, announced that he would not vote to override Trump’s veto despite supporting the original bill, which passed both chambers of Congress with strong bipartisan backing.
      But it was not enough. Some 109 Republicans broke from Trump on Monday and joined Democrats to support the bill. The final tally of 322-87 comfortably reached the two-thirds threshold required to override the veto.

      Mac Thornberry, the most senior Republican on the House armed services committee, urged colleagues who had supported the bill earlier this month to back it again. “It’s the exact same bill, not a comma has changed,” he said. “I would only ask that as members vote, they put the best interests of the country first. There is no other consideration that should matter.”

      So Thornberry and 108 others ignored the reasons for the veto.

      Trump objected to provisions that would slow a troop drawdown in Afghanistan and mandate the renaming of 10 bases that honor Confederates. He also demanded that it repeal legal protections for social media companies.

      They voted to kill more troops in the lost Afghan war.

      Among the most vocal GOP supporters of the legislation was Clarendon Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.
      The retiring Texan, who earlier this month criticized his fellow Republicans for a “mindless sort of obedience” to Trump, had made the case to his colleagues that the bill’s passage was about “doing right by our troops and what needs to happen for the country.”

      “It’s up to us,” Thornberry said ahead of the vote. “Our troops, the country, indeed, the world is watching to see what we will do, whether we can tune out other differences and still come together to support the men and women of the military and American national security.”

      He continued: “I would only ask that as members vote, they put the best interests of the country first.”

      Retiring Clarendon Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, offered this message to the GOP on the best way forward: “It’s pretty simple: Put the country first.”

      Retiring Texas Republican, Rep. Mac Thornberry, chides GOP for ‘mindless sort of obedience’ to Trump

      Other Texas Republicans to vote to override were Rep. Kevin Brady of The Woodlands, Rep. Michael Conaway of Midland, Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Houston, Rep. Bill Flores of Bryan, Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth, Rep. Will Hurd of San Antonio, Rep. Michael McCaul of Austin, Rep. Pete Olson of Sugar Land, Rep. Van Taylor of Plano and Rep. Roger Williams of Austin.

      So, a “retiring” neverTrump Congressman led the vote. Crenshaw has also lost any contributions I might make. The Senate votes this week.

      Tried to post this earlier but got a server error.

    19. Anonymous Says:

      “I find the existence of a bounding function implausible.” The bounding function is whatever the Creator wants it to be. One, x or infinity universes still require an external cause.

      Trump made it pretty clear why he sent the defense allocation back and what they needed to fix it. “what is best for the country”? Yeah, that. Get the crap cut out of it and then you meet that criterion. Dah!

      Death6

    20. Brian Says:

      I’m shaking my head reading all the comparisons online to the GOPers planning to object next week to the Dems who did so in 2017 and previous elections, as if the Dems didn’t spend 4 years portraying Trump as completely without legitimacy. Did they really think they could take over the Trump DOJ for a total BS investigation, then when that was finally squashed, immediately move towards impeachment based on something even more BS, with the entire GOP acting like Mitt Romney about the whole thing? (If you know any ultra-libs, I dare you to ask them about what impeachment was about and see if they have any clue. I bet they’ll mumble it was something about Russia.).
      The answer is yes, they did think that, because that’s the way DC operates. It’s trash like Pelosi and Harry Reid against trash like Mitt Romney, round and round and round. And a majority of the GOP base, but not the GOPe, is sick of it and is throwing it all out the window.

    21. miguel cervantes Says:

      yes and lin wood, who saw how doug jones pursued richard jewell, in lieu of eric rudolph, where he was allowed to escape into the appalachians, then you have sydney powell who saw how arthur anderson was carved up (cui bono) for hsbc and a segment for accenture, where nellie ohr would end up on her way to fusion, while neither goldman nor bp who were much larger enablers for enron were never touched, patrick byrne did his own research re suspicious financial manipulations and he was burned by lawfare battalion, for extrapolations that seem to fly when igor danchenko packaged them for christopher steele,

    22. miguel cervantes Says:

      the watch word is omerta,

      https://apelbaum.wordpress.com

    23. yara Says:

      I don’t think MC’s comment “sydney powell who saw how arthur anderson was carved up (cui bono) for hsbc and a segment for accenture” about accenture is quite correct. i was working for Andersen Consulting when it split off from Arthur Andersen. The story we were told was that the profitability per partner was higher in the consulting than in the accounting. As i remember it, as part of the split, Andersen Consulting offered Arthur Andersen $1 billion dollars to keep the Andersen consulting name. When it was refused, there was an internal contest to determine the name. And we had to relabel all the documents and turn in all our swag w/the Andersen Consulting name. And a year or so later the Enron debacle occurred and then nobody regretted having to change the name.

      none of which denies that the Enron case was well (however you define that) handled.

    24. miguel cervantes Says:

      that may be what you were told, but that wasn’t what came to pass, I just follow where the pieces ended up afterward with hsbc, which has some interesting people, that keep them from receiving any degree of accountability, from judge gleeson, for instance, who has been less understanding with regards to the fraud in the General Flynn case, or we can look at other parties like banamex, which paid a modest fine, and the year before gave a 50k honoraria to robert mueller, before he became special counsel, same robert mueller whose firm represented deutsch bank another repeat offender in the money laundering game,

    25. Mike K Says:

      I did not notice anyone mentioning that Weissmann’s conviction of Arthur Anderson, which destroyed the firm, was reversed 9-0 by the USSC. He should have been disbarred. My niece, who was a CPA working in Chicago for Arthur Anderson at the time, was so traumatized by the experience that she has had agoraphobia since. She had gone back to school in her 20s and got her BS in accounting, then her CPA. Her life was ruined.

    26. Brian Says:

      I have a bad feeling about Jan 6. The left will want to turn it into a new Charlottesville, to attempt to discredit all opposition to the new regime.

    27. Anonymous Says:

      Brian, Good point. That would be their play and it will get full lame steam media support.

      Death6

    28. Sam L. Says:

      As keep saying, the GOP is the Go Along To Get Along Party, and I will never, Never, NEVER give them any of my money. It/they can NOT be trusted.

    29. Brian Says:

      Death6: I fully expect the DC cops to try to force fights by directing groups towards each other. Everyone organizing these sorts of events needs to have very clear safety routes, enforced by trusted and competent people. Outrageous that that’s the situation we find ourself in in America right now.

    30. Brian Says:

      Wooooow. The (GOPe) GA SoS recorded a phone call with President Trump and gave it to the Washington Post to edit and release…presumably to sabotage any moves to support him on Wednesday, and to help give complete control of the federal government to the Dems.
      The GOPe is gonna get purged from the party completely.

    31. MCS Says:

      How many major frauds since Enron without a batted eye or a perp walk, let alone any accounting? They’ve gotten a lot better at knowing who to pay off since. The media has become much more reliable at ignoring what they’re supposed to.

      Poor Lizzy Holmes must have missed a a payment.

    32. Brian Says:

      “How many major frauds…”
      Jon Corzine should be rotting away in prison, but those with D after their names don’t have to worry about that.

    33. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      From:

      Brian Says:
      January 3rd, 2021 at 1:27 am

      Through:

      Brian Says:
      January 3rd, 2021 at 3:20 pm

      Something else besides a “Charlotteville” may be being set up for January 6. This may be a “Boston Massacre”/Concord-Lexington/Bunker Hill moment.

      Once the Supreme Court ruled that no one has “standing” to ask the courts to enforce the plain language of the Constitution or Federal election laws [the Texas suit], and insisted that all other appeals not be heard until after the installation of President-Reject Biden [and to be honest with “the law’s delay” we are talking about years after]; there are a lot of people who have been convinced that the rule of law under the Constitution is gone and incidentally that any further elections will be/are already rigged.

      If there is no hope of a peaceful, lawful resolution of the fraud this may be a point that historians remember. I seem to remember something called the “3% Rule” in reference to the 1775-1782 festivities. Things move a lot faster than centuries ago. Incidentally, has anyone else heard reports that they are dismantling the stands along what would be the inaugural parade route?

      Subotai Bahadur

    34. Brian Says:

      Does anyone know what time things happen on Wednesday? I think the rallies start in the morning, but when is the stuff in Congress? I have no idea what’s going to happen. I am very apprehensive.

    35. Bill Brandt Says:

      I believe that we tend to believe “if only we had taken the other path”. Only the other path might have been worse.

      Maybe – for those who believe – at the End we are shown the possible results with taking other paths.

      For some people and their choices the verdict is obvious; eg, choosing a life of crime.

      The most profound thing someone said to me was that “all of life is nothing more than choices”

      And if you think about it where we all are at this moment is simpoly a culmination of choices made up to this point.

    36. Brian Says:

      As far as I can tell the Proud Boys are a couple dozen LARPers, but arresting their leaders preemptively while letting BLAMtifa trash cities is a really good way to accelerate civil disintegration.