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Cake day: June 13th, 2023

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  • My friend, I wish I knew. The more I learn about this timeline, the darker our future becomes. There’s a reason Putin, Bibi, and the Ayatollah all have their pedals to the metal right now, and it’s not because they sense that America is on the up and up.

    If what seems likely comes to pass, by next January Project 2025 will begin the wholesale dismantling of our federal bureaucracy, Republicans will hold the Senate, Trump will lay out the red carpet for Putin to attack NATO by refusing to honor Article 5, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito will orchestrate their successors, abortion will be banned at 12 weeks nationwide, Obergefell will be overturned, and future US elections will not run the way they’ve been run before. If we have a legitimate chance of winning the Oval Office in 2028, I’ll be absolutely shocked. None of this is outlandish or far-fetched, and people have bragged openly about most of it.

    For what it’s worth, the far left is absolutely correct. It’s a genocide, and we’re complicit. We’ve funded too many genocides in the past for this to be ok in any way, shape, or form. But also, the center-left is absolutely correct. It’s a multi-polar world now, and Bibi already has the blank check he needs. If Biden backs down, he’ll be slaughtered at the polls. What comes after will absolutely be worse.

    One of the reasons Hitler was able to do what he did was that the far-left KPD turned on the center-left SPD under the banner of “anti-fascism”. The SPD tried to unify with the KPD after the elections of 1930, but the deal was rejected. The KPD routinely got about 10% of the German vote in the Weimar Republic. In 1933 the Nazis came to power and banned the KPD on day one. Then they blamed the KPD for the Reichstag fire, and suspended civil liberties in response. The Weimar Republic collapsed, and the rest is history.

    If the far left and the center left can’t find commonality under a shared vision for the future, I think we’re all about to be fed to the wolves.


  • Make no mistake, Bibi is doing all of this knowing that a Trump victory will give him the carte blanche permission he needs to annex Gaza, and so the political damage this is doing to Biden is just icing on the cake. He has made this much clear by inviting Trump’s lackeys to peacock for the Knesset. Friedman isn’t alone in thinking that Biden’s playing checkers while Bibi is playing chess, but even if Biden made a 180 and took a hard stance against what’s happening, two things would be virtually guaranteed:

    1. He would be ruthlessly lambasted as an antisemite by the AIPAC-endorsed left and all of the right, and lose the Jewish vote in every swing state, handing the election to Trump in a landslide.

    2. Bibi would ignore him just like he ignored the Israeli left, the Supreme Court, and now his own Defense Minister.

    This is looking more and more like an Iranian masterclass in subterfuge which began during the Obama years, and which Trump unwittingly supercharged.


    Edit to Add

    This piece really puts a very complicated, multi-decade process into much clearer focus. For anyone who’s been flabbergasted at how awful this situation is, and who suspects that there’s something deeper and more sinister going on, these are the major points that have been highlighted behind the paywall:

    1. Why did Israel/Bibi secretly help fund Hamas for all those years? Because it destabilized Gaza and made a 2-state solution less likely.

    2. Why did Hamas act so brazenly if they were so militarily outgunned? If they knew the reaction would be disproportionate? Because they weren’t calling the shots, and they were useful pawns for Iran.

    3. Why has the reaction been so unreasonably bloodthirsty? Because Bibi is facing possible jail time and knows a strong alliance with the bloodthirsty far-right is his only means to avoid it. Their votes are all that’s keeping him a free man.

    4. Why does Biden trust Netanyahu so much? Even after his lurch to the right and during a staggering onslaught of civilians? Because he knows AIPAC will sink his reelection if he takes a stand, and the risk of nuclear war will rise considerably if he loses.

    5. Why has Netanyahu flatly refused to negotiate with Abbas and the Fatah-led PA? Why does there seem to be no “what’s next” plan? Because the far-right wants to annex Gaza, not coexist with the Palestinians. The Supreme Court tried to get them to stop the annexation of the West Bank, and Bibi’s far-right coalition neutered the Court in response.

    6. Why are US politicians so blind to all of this? Many of them are too old to have seen the ground shift beneath them, and don’t see the Israel you and I see.

    7. Why is Netanyahu kissing Trump’s ass? Because Iran is days/weeks away from becoming a nuclear power, and he thinks Trump is willing to nuke them to stop it.

    None of this timeline could play out if Bibi willingly negotiated a post-Hamas ruling coalition. He won’t stop the onslaught because his far-right cohorts have already decided that the end game is complete annexation of disputed territory, and Iran has forced them into that corner because they knew Bibi’s coalition was dumb enough to go full bore. This ends with complete isolation of Israel on the world’s stage one way or another, and all Iran had to do was fund a small band of murderous ideologues for a few decades to set the stage for a final showdown.

    We are weeks/months away from a nuclear standoff in the middle east.



  • Reposting from this comment because it bears repeating:

    Only one of my ten Nazi friends saw Nazism as we—you and I—saw it in any respect. This was Hildebrandt, the teacher. And even he then believed, and still believes, in part of its program and practice, “the democratic part.” **The other nine, decent, hard-working, ordinarily intelligent and honest men, did not know before 1933 that Nazism was evil. They did not know between 1933 and 1945 that it was evil. And they do not know it now. None of them ever knew, or now knows, Nazism as we knew and know it; and they lived under it, served it, and, indeed, made it. **

    As we know Nazism, it was a naked, total tyranny which degraded its adherents and enslaved its opponents and adherents alike; terrorism and terror in daily life, private and public; brute personal and mob injustice at every level of association; a flank attack upon God and a frontal attack upon the worth of the human person and the rights which that worth implies. These nine ordinary Germans knew it absolutely otherwise, and they still know it otherwise. If our view of National Socialism is a little simple, so is theirs. An autocracy? Yes, of course, an autocracy, as in the fabled days of “the golden time” our parents knew. But a tyranny, as you Americans use the term? Nonsense.

    When I asked Herr Wedekind, the baker, why he had believed in National Socialism, he said, “Because it promised to solve the unemployment problem. And it did. But I never imagined what it would lead to. Nobody did.” I thought I had struck pay dirt, and I said, “What do you mean, ‘what it would lead to,’ Herr Wedekind?” “War,” he said. “Nobody ever imagined it would lead to war.”

    The evil of National Socialism began on September 1, 1939; and that was my friend the baker.

    Remember—none of these nine Germans had ever traveled abroad (except in war); none had ever known or talked with a foreigner or read the foreign press; none ever wanted to listen to the foreign radio when it was legal to do so, and none (except, oddly enough, the policeman) listened to it when it was illegal. They were as uninterested in the outside world as their contemporaries in France—or America. None of them ever heard anything bad about the Nazi regime except, as they believed, from Germany’s enemies, and Germany’s enemies were theirs. “Everything the Russians and the Americans said about us,” said Cabinetmaker Klingelhöfer, “they now say about each other.”

    Men think first of the lives they lead and the things they see; and not, among the things they see, of the extraordinary sights, but of the sights which meet them in their daily rounds. The lives of my nine friends—and even of the tenth, the teacher—were lightened and brightened by National Socialism as they knew it. And they look back at it now—nine of them, certainly—as the best time of their lives; for what are men’s lives? There were jobs and job security, summer camps for the children and the Hitler Jugend to keep them off the streets. What does a mother want to know? She wants to know where her children are, and with whom, and what they are doing. In those days she knew or thought she did; what difference does it make? So things went better at home, and when things go better at home, and on the job, what more does a husband and father want to know? The best time of their lives.

    There were wonderful ten-dollar holiday trips for the family in the “Strength through Joy” program, to Norway in the summer and Spain in the winter, for people who had never dreamed of a real holiday trip at home or abroad. And in Kronenberg “nobody” (nobody my friends knew) went cold, nobody went hungry, nobody went ill and uncared for. For whom do men know? They know people of their own neighborhood, of their own station and occupation, of their own political (or nonpolitical) views, of their own religion and race. All the blessings of the New Order, advertised everywhere, reached “everybody.”

    There were horrors, too, but these were advertised nowhere, reached “nobody.” Once in a while (and only once in a while) a single crusading or sensation-mongering newspaper in America exposes the inhuman conditions of the local county jail; but none of my friends had ever read such a newspaper when there were such in Germany (far fewer there than here), and now there were none. None of the horrors impinged upon the day-to-day lives of my ten friends or was ever called to their attention. There was “some sort of trouble” on the streets of Kronenberg as one or another of my friends was passing by on a couple of occasions, but the police dispersed the crowd and there was nothing in the local paper. You and I leave “some sort of trouble on the streets” to the police; so did my friends in Kronenberg.


  • No, that’s not a plain text reading of the statute. You have to refer to the definition specified, and you can’t replace it with the implication. It would be:

    “or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”

    So clearly the second phrase is meant to capture mechanical alterations that turn it into a weapon with automatic fire, not mechanical alterations that turn it into a weapon with simulated automatic fire, or a weapon that approximates automatic fire. Intent isn’t the operative clarifier in the sentence, the functionality is, and intent only comes into play if you intend to convert it into the different functionality. A bump stock doesn’t do that.