Our own Colorado is in the forefront of beer technology. Not surprising, the state was known for Coors (ugh) before microbrews were a thing. Coors may be a sex-in-a-canoe beer, but it got the state started on brewing.
NY Mayor De Blasio wants to ban skyscrapers. It’s unclear what he intends to do about, you know, the entire Manhattan skyline.
Going to San Francisco? Now you can get a poop map, to help you avoid the liberal (hah) amounts of human feces littering the streets of what was once one of the world’s great cities but now is an actual shithole.
Kamala Harris again; now she’s campaigning for Mike Pence for President. Have any of these people figured out that, if by some strange confluence of events they are actually able to oust President Trump, that it wouldn’t somehow magically make Her Royal Highness President, but rather Mike Pence? Mike Pence, who holds pretty much all the same policy positions as President Trump but who is much more measured, more congenial, more on-message, and who is generally regarded as one of the nicest men in politics?
As for trying to impeach a sitting President being a good campaign move – Newt Gingrich would like a word.
Daffy old Socialist from Vermont: “Socialism will give us a better country!” Woman whose family fled the (socialist) Soviet Union: “You’re an idiot.”
On that note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.
The first hint that Ohio might have lost its bellwether status came in 2016. If you’ll recall from my Wargaming the Electoral College series for the presidential election, Ohio was never in play for Hillary Clinton. While that should have been a coal mine canary that Trump’s chances of winning were far better than the polls indicated, most every expert (and Yours Truly) glossed over that indicator as we pored over our 270toWin maps.
Previously, Barack Obama won Ohio handily in 2008 and 2012. George Bush’s electoral mastermind, Karl Rove, bet big on Ohio twice — and won twice, too. In fact, as Roll Call’s Ben Peters reminds us, “Going back to 1896, the Buckeye State has backed the winning candidate in all but two elections — the best record for any state in recent history.” Looking ahead, he writes, “Election handicappers largely put Ohio in the GOP column for 2020 — Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the state’s presidential race Likely Republican.”
You have to go all the way back to 1960 and JFK to find a president who got elected without Ohio. If I could pick football teams the way Ohio picks presidents, I’d be a very wealthy man.
Ohio hasn’t elected a Democrat to state office since Obama took the state by a solid three points (50.6% to 47.6%) over Mitt Romney. And yet Donald Trump, for all his supposed unelectability, scored nearly 52%, beating Hillary Clinton by a whopping eight points. Current Republican Governor Mike DeWine might not be anyone’s idea of an exciting campaigner, but he beat Democrat Richard Cordray with ease last year, by an almost four-point spread. The Ohio House has a GOP supermajority of 61-38. And — get this — an even more lopsided supermajority of 24-9 in the state Senate.
As stated, I’m not so sure. Barack Obama won Ohio twice, easily. Like with most things, it depends on who the Dems nominate. Ohio is very heavy on blue-collar Truman Democrats; while old Groper Joe Biden, with his folksy ways and busy hands, may appeal to some of them, he won’t appeal to liberals in Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland. The daffy old Socialist from Vermont will appeal to urban millennial but not to union Blue Dogs.
Ohio’s a tough nut to crack for the Dems. But then, it’s a hard nut to crack for the GOP as well. That’s why it’s a swing state. But President Trump is a marketing guy, and watch for him to be spreading word of his brand all over Ohio and the Rust Belt next year. If the Dems are smart, they’ll do the same.
A group calling itself Genesis II Church of Health and Healing plans to convene at a hotel resort in Washington state on Saturday to promote a “miracle cure” that claims to cure 95% of all diseases in the world by making adults and children, including infants, drink industrial bleach.
The group is inviting members of the public through Facebook to attend what they call their “effective alternative healing” at the Icicle Village Resort in Leavenworth on Saturday morning. The organizer of the event, Tom Merry, has publicized the event on his personal Facebook page by telling people that learning how to consume the bleach “could save your life, or the life of a loved one sent home to die”.
The “church” is asking attendants of the meeting to “donate” $450 each, or $800 per couple, in exchange for receiving membership to the organization as well as packages of the bleach, which they call “sacraments”. The chemical is referred to as MMS, or “miracle mineral solution or supplement”, and participants are promised they will acquire “the knowledge to help heal many people of this world’s terrible diseases”.
In a world where people still profess belief in a flat earth, UFOs, chemtrails, Bigfoot and socialism as a workable economic system, it’s not so surprising that some morons would believe that drinking bleach can cure all the world’s ills. I mean, what do they put in water to purify it for drinking? Chlorine. What’s the primary component of most bleaches? Chlorine.
By that logic, since alcohol is used to kill germs, I should drink more whiskey and then I’d never get sick.
Here’s what I see as the real crime here, and it’s not mentioned in the article; I’m pretty damned certain that the assholes that run this “Genesis II Church of Health and Healing” don’t really believe any of this horseshit, and I’m damned certain they aren’t drinking this toxic crap themselves. They are soaking idiots for $450 each to drink bleach, and excusing it by calling it “religion,” which, of course, is crap.
Now, I’m a staunch minarchist. But even in a minarchist system there are protections against fraud. It’s important to remember that there are only three ways to conduct an economic transaction; by choice, by force, or by fraud. This is a perfect example of the last of those.
A comment on this article over at Glibertarians provoked some thought. Glibertarians is one of my favorite sites not only because they let me write about guns and outdoor stuff, but because the commentariat there is a good cut above the normal. The comment that got me thinking:
The social justice cadres suffer under the delusion that all of our social codes, all of our strictures on what we can do to one another are about protecting us from them. It doesn’t occur to them that it just might be about protecting them from us. Unremitting brutality isn’t some sort of exception or oddity in the course of human history. It’s historically been the utter norm.
Does anyone think, for a moment, that the men who settled continents, conquered the elements, and defeated any challenger who crossed their path established concepts like individual liberty, rule of law, or private property to protect themselves from bands of marauding purple-haired Women’s Studies and Literary Criticism majors?
Or is it maybe a little more likely that we’ve chosen to bury our more vicious and murderous impulses under a set of standards of bourgeois restraint? Now, they’re insisting that that veneer of restraint is unfair. Holy Shit! Have they thought for second about what their own damnation of bourgeois standards and values implies about the what they’ll be facing then?
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
It’s true that the vast majority of human history has been one of brutality, oppression and violence. That continued until fairly recently; the late 18th century saw, in Western Europe and the New World, the Enlightenment that led to one small group of people in North America proclaiming the blessings of liberty. But it’s true that you can see the endings in the beginnings; just as you can listen to Wagner and hear the roots of modern German death metal, just as you can look at Mozart and Freddie Mercury and see uncanny similarities, you can see a return to elitist brutality in the goals of modern statists:
“Liberty? You’ll have as much liberty as we allow you. Property? It’s only yours after we take what we want to redistribute it to others who haven’t earned it, after skimming off… well, a lot. Individual rights? You have the right to labor on other men’s behalves; the right to submit to the rule of your ‘betters’ for your own damn ‘good.”
They forget what kind of people set up those institutions that protect and defend liberty, property and individual rights. They forget how many people still value them today. They forget to what lengths people who decide they have nothing left to lose will go. Strength, true strength, does not arise from outrage; it arises from work and achievement. Confidence, real confidence, arises from the knowledge you can do things no matter what obstacles others try to put in your way.
How much longer will regular folks allow people to be intimidated by street thugs with black masks? How much longer will people watch Berkeley cops stand by while those thugs run riot in the streets? How much longer will it be before people have had enough, before the counter-protests become counter-attacks? How much longer before the perpetually outraged suddenly, horribly, realize what wages their outrage has wrought?
The message to those who would tear down those institutions that define civilization – liberty, property, individual rights – I can only offer the warning voiced in that same comment: We’re not locked in here with you. You’re locked in here with us.
Nothing really catches my eye in particular this early Thursday morning, so here are some random tidbits from the news – well, some random tidbits followed by one rather larger… bit. Enjoy.
John Stossel reminds us we not only have the right to bear arms, but also to print them. He also exposes some of the more hysterical pronouncements of those who would try to put the toothpaste back in the tube.
President Trump: Troll-In-Chief. It is funny, how he does this; every time some major event is in the works, he issues a tweet, or gives a presser, makes some outrageous statement, and the Democrats and the legacy media scream “squirrel!” and run off in every direction.
It turns out that when you die, you might know it. Relevant excerpt:
Top medical experts have forever been at loggerheads over what happens when humans die, with anecdotal evidence of bright lights and flashes reported by people who have ‘come back’ being the cause of much debate.
However, a new study suggests your consciousness carries on functioning after your heart stops beating and your body movements fail.
This means you are essentially ‘trapped’ inside your dead body with your brain still working, if only for a short time.
Honestly, I find that… horrifying. I sure hope they’re wrong.
Finally, the big bit: The (redacted) Mueller report should be released today. My prediction: Democrats and some Republicans will insist on seeing the unredacted report. If they get that, they’ll insist on seeing the original source material. If they get that, they’ll insist on interviewing all the witnesses. And the kabuki drama that is the Russiagate “investigation” will go on, and on, and on.
On that pessimistic note, we return you to your Thursday, already in progress.
“The reason Japan’s population is now falling so fast is not the low birth rate but rather an increase in the number of deaths,” said Akihiko Matsutani, professor emeritus in applied economics at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
It’s true that Japan has an aging population. It’s been a matter of concern for some time that young Japanese people aren’t reproducing at anything like replacement rate.
The population decline is despite record immigration.
Here’s where they get it wrong.
There is very little immigration into Japan as we understand the word. They have a work-visa program, like most places; many gaijin come to Japan to work for a matter of weeks, months, even years. I’ve done so myself. But when your work is done, the gaijin are expected to go home. It’s very difficult to get permanent residency in Japan, and even more difficult to become a Japanese citizen, even if you’re married to a citizen. If you do manage to gain citizenship, you’re expected to assimilate even to the point of taking a Japanese name.
I don’t think Japan will descend into extinction, though. Their population may drop to the 100-year-ago level described, but I expect it will stabilize at some point.
I hope so, anyway. It’s hard for me to explain exactly why I’m so fond of Japan, given that it’s far too authoritarian to suit my minarchist sensibilities, but I do love the place. I love the people, the culture, the food, the culture. I hope Japan survives whatever’s coming and, yes, I hope Japan stays Japanese.
Now, on a sad note: I don’t care what religious beliefs you might have, or if you, like me, have none; Notre Dame cathedral has burned, and that’s a tragedy beyond description.
The 850-year old Notre Dame has survived wars, survived occupations, revolutions and riots, and now fire has badly damaged that ancient building – although from first reports it looks like the interior came through better than one might have expected.
Notre Dame is a building with spiritual significance to millions, and of great historical significance to everyone. The original is irreplaceable; it will be rebuilt, but it will never be the same.
Now, I won’t speculate as to the cause of this fire. That would, at this juncture, be simply irresponsible. There are experts a-plenty who will make that determination. The building was under renovation, and that can easily lead to accidents in a building said to include almost 60 acres of bone-dry, centuries-old timbers.
But there are groups out there that would like to see places like Notre Dame destroyed; groups that have no regard for freedom of conscience, freedom of association, for history, for culture. And they have made an attempt on Notre Dame at least once.
It’s very likely the Notre Dame fire was the result of some horrible accident. Time will tell. For now, we’ll mourn the lost of a great landmark of Western civilization, and be grateful that at least no lives were lost and that no one was seriously hurt.
And if it turns out that someone did this on purpose… Well, then, one would hope that the French authorities come down on them like, well, the wrath of God.
Tax time is stressful for all of us, but when you run your own business, things become way more complicated. I’m not sure how many times, I just want to throw up my hands and give up, but we all know that’s not really an option.
When I took over all financial record keeping over 20 years ago, we didn’t have the luxury of spending extra on anything, so I began tracking expenses so we could see the big picture. After a few years, our business income became the primary income, prompting me to create a much more detailed record keeping system. Every penny is accounted for by category and subcategory, which account(s) are affected, and who was paid.
When tax season comes along, I run a detailed report including the categories I need to include for tax purposes. I visually go through the data to check for data entry errors (I’ve gotten pretty quick with that) and summarize all the numbers. It should be easy to just enter the numbers on the forms, and I’m done. Right?
Most people might not realize it, but tax laws change from year to year. And consequently, the software necessary for that changes each year as well. Tax categories seem to be fairly fluid, so for example what I put under auto services one year had to be split into separate oil change and repair categories the next, even though it’s all totaled on the final form. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it changes back at some point in the future.
To make it more complicated, while there are guidelines as to what is deductible (and at what percentage), where you account for that is not cast in stone. Office equipment, for example, includes furniture and long term assets such as printers, computers and copiers. But, if your furniture is used solely for the business, you can instead list it under supplies with paper, ink and the like. I don’t know about you, but my chair isn’t ‘used up’ at the end of the year, so this really makes no sense to me, but I’ll take advantage of the laws that benefit me.
So why do small things like this drive me crazy? Because it changes the bottom line on our personal taxes!
A pass-through partnership doesn’t pay corporate taxes. Instead everything filters to our personal taxes. But, how I choose to categorize expenses changes how much we are required pay. So if I bought an office chair for the business this year, I can put it either in depreciable assets or office supplies.
If it’s a supply, the total amount is expensed this year, and I don’t have to worry about it any more.
If I depreciate it, depending on when we bought it, there are several options for spreading out the expense, including a one time complete expense in the current year.
On the surface this looks like I can deduct the full amount either way. But it’s listed on a different line for partner expenses, which changes how the final taxes are calculated.
To put another little twist in the fabric, things like home office and auto expenses are not included on our partnership forms. We also have to submit the self-employment schedule on our personal forms to do that. (Don’t even get me started on self-employment taxes!)
Quite a few years ago, I didn’t notice a category that had previously been on the personal form had moved to the business side. Since I had already submitted our business form, it lead to a series of corrections on both sides. So each year, I don’t file any tax forms until I know I have both business and personal for federal and state(s) completed to our best benefit. Sometimes this leads me to a several variations of calculations which can confuse the software a bit, adding a little more headache.
Since I spend most of my time actually running the business, I’m sure there are ways I could legally reduce our tax burden that I’m just not finding. I wonder how our bottom line would look if a fleet of tax lawyers took a gander.
But I’d rather have a more streamlined, unbiased and fair system. Instead of penalizing success by taxing income, wouldn’t it make more sense to look into a consumption tax system?
Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links! Happy (hah) Tax Day, and watch this space later today for a commentary on taxation by my own dear Mrs. Animal.
Moving right along, last Saturday saw this piece from American Thinker’s John Leonard. Excerpt:
In 1972, Republicans were caught using former CIA operatives to spy on their political rivals. In 2016, Democrats have now been caught using active FBI and senior Department of Justice employees to spy on President Trump. It is no longer debatable whether or not it happened, because A. G. Barr just told us it happened. The only question that remains is whether or not they had any sort of justifiable reason for doing so, except that question seems to have already been resolved by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, because his report found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. In fact, the opposite appears to be true — it looks as if federal agencies conspired with foreign governments to entrap peripheral members of the Trump campaign.
Heads need to roll. Maybe even literally. This appears to the crime of sedition, the act of conspiring to incite rebellion against the authority of our government. If it could be proved that a foreign government had been involved in the conspiracy, the crimes involved might even rise to the level of treason. Sedition is bad enough.
At the heart of the Watergate scandal was a bungled burglary. No one got hurt. If Nixon hadn’t tried to obstruct justice, his presidency might have survived the scandal. Watergate is about to become ancient history because it pales in comparison to what the Obama administration just did. Innocent American citizens have had their lives destroyed in a criminal attempt to topple the Trump administration.
Astute and comprehensive as Mr. Leonard’s piece is, there’s one thing he misses, except as a remark in passing in the conclusion:
Will there be a patriot in the Democratic Party with the courage to paraphrase the same question Howard Baker posed about Watergate in 1972: “What did the President know, and when did he know it?”
The answer, of course, is “No. Nobody from the Democratic side of the aisle, neither electee, appointee or staffer, will raise any doubts as to President Obama’s involvement or lack thereof. The Dems are nothing if not unified, and no matter how much evidence is presented, no matter how overwhelming the proof is against the perpetrators of the entire Fusion GPS scandal, no matter who comes forward as a whistle-blower, they will unflinchingly stick up for The Side, no matter who gets hurt, no matter how much damage it does to the country.”
I will give the GOP credit for one thing: Generally, when a Republican pol says or does something egregious, or even something that can be perceived as egregious, the GOP smacks him down.
But the Democrats have junior members right now saying all manner of stupid things, taking all manner of stupid positions, and the rest of the party closes ranks around them.
Mark my words: Nothing will come of this. No one will go to jail; no one will have to face a grand jury; no one’s career will be ruined. Equal treatment under the law in this nation is dead, and has been so for some time.
I could be wrong – I’d love to be wrong – but I don’t think I am.