Mudsock Heights

Mudsock Heights

Credit: Timothy R. Butler/Stable Diffusion

In a Handbasket

By Dennis E. Powell | Posted at 9:13 PM

It’s a little mortifying to learn that the Temptations’ hit song, “Ball of Confusion” was a hit 53 years ago.

The worrying part is how long ago it was released. And how it came a half century too early.

Read or listen to the news. If you search hard enough, you might find some small mention of the report that resulted from a long investigation. It concluded, with the supporting evidence, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and numerous other government agencies and officials are thoroughly corrupt. You might suppose that this would have been regarded as a matter of some importance, and to a small extent it was. But the day’s real news, by the lights of most of the broadcast and some of the print media, was the appearance of 81-year-old former jailbird Martha Stewart on the cover of a pamphlet (have you seen it lately?) called Sports Illustrated.

Likewise, investigators at the Internal Revenue Service who were enumerating the apparent crimes of one Hunter Biden were taken off the case. But that’s not the headline, because it’s far more important when a minor member of the British Royal Family and recessive-gene poster boy named Harry and his wife, a former cable television actress named Megan, who have made a business of drawing attention to themselves, drew attention to themselves.

After China’s proof that it’s possible to engineer a virulent virus that can, whether intentionally or not, kill millions of people in a fairly short time, the country has turned its attention to “artificial intelligence.” Make no mistake: artificial intelligence, called “AI” by those who want to appear trendy and in the know but who are unwilling to expend any thought to it, can kill you. It can kill pretty much all of us. (And it will unless we keep buying cheap plastic stuff from China that breaks in a day or two.) As Jim Geraghty said in the last article linked above (which you should read), “Oh, Wuhan, haven’t you already given the world enough through scientific experiments that ‘break the existing rules’? Accidentally spilling the Andromeda Strain wasn’t enough, so now you have to go and try to invent SkyNet?” China recently put AI in control of a satellite.

But hey, we’re on it. Never mind that close Donald Trump advisor Peter Navarro, a flinty character who occasionally makes a bright spark, said in an interview two weeks ago that Trump was tricked into believing that the “vaccines” he spent billions of your grandchildren’s dollars on were good for something. “They [Pfizer Inc, and Dr Anthony Fauci] made him think that it was a true vaccine when it’s not,” said Navarro. “It’s mRNA technology.” It’s increasingly clear that mRNA products may be neither effective nor safe. “Anaphylaxis, antibody-dependent enhancements, and deaths, comprise the most serious side-effects . . .” noted one scientific study. Some of us, at least some of us not living in Canada, consider death an unacceptably serious side effect.

But the virus has come, many if not most of us have gotten it and recovered, maybe multiple times. Medicine is not the government’s job (and long may we remember it), and the next big thing is AI.

And we’re on it. You want proof? There was a Congressional hearing. We’ve seen in the past how our smart-as-whips representatives handle technological issues, with probing questions such as “How do I make my video recorder stop blinking?” from the geriatric elected officials, “How do I change the wallpaper on my phone to a picture of myself?” from the younger representatives, and “Will you take a selfie with me?” from the staff.

This time they didn’t expose their idiocy, even if it wasn’t entirely banished.

For his part, Joe “My dad used to say, ‘Joey, you’ll never amount to anything,’ and it’s my life’s goal to prove him right” Biden heard about artificial intelligence and wondered where he could order some, the way he bought hair plugs. Though he’s the titular head of an elaborate criminal conspiracy, he’s never been accused of being a criminal mastermind. Lately, he’d be hard pressed to be called a putting-on-his-pants mastermind. But he surely has a crack team of specialists busy learning how much money China would pay the family business if he looked the other way on AI.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, wouldn’t demand money. All the Chinese would need to do is tell him how everyone loves him and the deal would be done. In short, there’s no hope there, either.

Speaking of Trump, you may have noticed the lone bright item in the week’s news. He canceled a huge outdoor rally in Iowa Saturday when it became clear it would be only an outdoor rally — nothing huge about it. I’ve seen varying figures for the number of people who showed up, from 34 (including the loony bedding vendor) to about 300. He said it was because of the weather that he canceled, and anytime Trump doesn’t show up it is indeed an act of God, but the weather doesn’t seem to have much bothered anyone else.

If our hope is the youth of America, we’re well and truly screwed. A decade ago we complained that the children were spending all their time playing video games. The video game companies sponsored “studies” that purported to show that video games are good for you. We saw reports that the military wants recruits who are adept at video games. (I think that it’s not because they are skilled but instead because they are inured to pulling the trigger and killing opponents — the step to those opponents being real people is a short and easy one.)

There’s a shortage even of those. That’s because today’s young people are spending money not on video games but to watch other people play video games. They have now moved from doing next-to-nothing to doing nothing.

The fact that the TikTok application and its parent company provide everyone’s personal details to the Chinese Communist Party has had absolutely no effect on its use by young people (and, sadly, some others). The phenomenon reached its pinnacle today with release of a poll in which teenagers said they’d rather give up the right to vote than give up TikTok. (The best reaction to this was on Twitter: “Promise?”)

Elsewhere on the (unfortunately non-cutting) edge of society, University of Wyoming sorority sisters have sued because one member — literally — who is a guy dressed up as a girl has been infesting areas where they are sometimes undressed. “Mr. Smith has, while watching members enter the sorority house, had an erection visible through his leggings,” the lawsuit alleges.

Sorry, but there need to be a few minimums. There is reason not just to deny but to out and out ridicule the notion that a guy can turn into a girl or vice-versa even if the full power of science is put to use. But when that hasn’t happened, it’s not trans-sexualism, it’s sexual assault. Before any guy who claims to be a woman hopes to pass the laugh test, he needs to get some things lopped off. If there’s anything in the world more obvious I cannot imagine what it would be.

Yet the President of the United States, Joe “My dad used to say, ‘Joey, you’re an ass’” Biden, actually issued a proclamation in support of the likes of the six-foot, two-inch Wyoming guy. It was entitled “A Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility.” Perhaps the Wyoming lad isn’t a creeper or a perv. Maybe he’s just following Biden’s instructions to make a visible display.

This week, The Wall Street Journal dropped the use of honorifics saying in part “[T]he flood of Mr., Ms., Mx. or Mrs. in sentences can slow down readers’ enjoyment of our writing.” Yeah, sure. The real reason is that it’s too big a pain to deal with those whose profession is being offended. And, hey, wait — “Mx.”? Yeah, it’s a thing. As I was writing this I received a note from a friend overseas asking about something in a New York Times story: “The small city had recently passed a law granting domestic partnership rights, like the ability to receive employment benefits or make hospital visits, to people in polyamorous relationships. Mx. Knight, who is nonbinary and has been nonmonogamous since 2014, was impressed.” (You can print out the story and put it in your poison-control kit, because it will induce vomiting.)

Stop for a moment and imagine yourself a few years ago. Imagine any of these situations. You would have found them unbelievable. I used to say, and I don’t think I was the first, that today’s absurd over-the-top joke is tomorrow’s policy and next week’s law. Now, we have the President of the United States making proclamations and enacting rules granting special rights to guys who dress up as girls (and vice versa). And newspapers using “Mx.” for whatever that is supposed to mean.

If the end isn’t near, it ought to be. We talk about going to hell in a handbasket. Well, we’re already there.

Dennis E. Powell is crackpot-at-large at Open for Business. Powell was a reporter in New York and elsewhere before moving to Ohio, where he has (mostly) recovered. You can reach him at

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