Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Freedom – even the relative freedom of China, compared to the gigantic gulag that is North Korea – is a powerful draw.  Excerpt:

Charles, who was born to a Chinese father and North Korean mother in the dictator state, managed to escape five years ago by crossing a river into China in the dead of night. 

He was born to a Chinese father and North Korean mother. When he was just 5 years old his father abandoned the family – returning to China.

Six years later, Charles’ mother died from starvation and he ended up living with his aunt before eventually escaping to China and reuniting with his father in 2008.

‘Life in China was so much better. I was so happy because I was living my life in freedom,’ he told SoulPancake.

‘But the happiness I felt in China was only temporary.’

Because the Chinese government does not recognise North Korean citizens as refugees – Charles was soon deported back to North Korea.

Upon his return he was brutally interrogated by officials who tried to pressgang him into admitting he had been trying to defect to South Korea.

He denied the charges and after being beaten for weeks – Charles was sent off to the North’s notorious labour camps.

‘In the labour camp I was only allowed to eat 150 kernels of corn a day,’ Charles added.

‘One morning we were marching in our rows and I saw dried vomit on the side of the road.

‘I was so hungry that I got on my hands and knees and started eating the rice from the vomit. I didn’t stop until the beating from the guards was too unbearable.’

But Charles kept an eye open for the main chance.  Eventually he got away again, escaped into China, met with an American consular official and got a refugee visa to come to the United States.  And I say, good for him; I suspect he will make a great American.  Nobody will appreciate liberty more than someone who has been violently and cruelly denied it.

And no government is more thorough at denying basic human freedoms than North Korea.

I’m glad Charles is here in the United States.  I hope he spreads the word far and wide what an overly powerful central government can do.  I hope he finds great personal success here in the United States, and serves as an example of what a self-directed person can do in a free society, in spite of the most disadvantageous of all possible starts.

Animal’s Daily Avoiding Starbucks News

Are you a coffee drinker?  If so, I’ve got one word for you:  Folgers.  Because Starbucks, predictably, ain’t gonna be a place you want to hang out any more.  Excerpt:

In an effort rehab their image, Starbucks Corp. announced they would no longer use old guidelines that a person present in the building or wanting to use their bathroom must purchase an item, according to the Wall Street Journal:

“On Saturday, the company told its employees in a letter that “any person who enters our spaces, including patios, cafes and restrooms, regardless of whether they make a purchase, is considered a customer.”

Under the new policy, when a customer is “behaving in a disruptive manner,” employees should follow the company’s procedure on handling disruptive guests, which will contain some new guidance, a spokesman said. Starbucks didn’t say what that procedure entails or define what constitutes disruptive behavior. If a situation presents an immediate danger or threat to employee or customer safety, Starbucks employees should call 911, the company said.

Having just spent a year in the Bay Area, I can product what’s going to happen in walk-in Starbucks stores in the major cities:  They will turn into free campsites for every smelly bum in the area, and their restrooms will become shit-caked, disease-ridden hellholes.

Many, many years ago, I worked night shift at a 7-11 for a while to make ends meet.  I was young, and figured any job was better than no job.  The store manager had a policy:  The restroom was closed to the public from 10PM to 6AM, unless it was a cop that asked to use it (7-11 in those years actively courted cops to hang around; it was policy that we gave them free coffee, too.)

After one night when the enormous blowpig who delivered newspapers to the store begged me to let him use the facility, I learned why that policy was in place.  That fat asshole literally left the place a shithole; he managed somehow to get stinky crap all over the toilet seat and even the floor.

When I read Starbucks’ new policy, I remembered that night and the unpleasant clean-up job that followed.  And the first thought that came to mind was this:  Coming soon, to a Starbucks near you.

Stupid is as stupid does.  This new “policy” will cost Starbucks customers and, maybe, the company.  And they will have had it coming.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

In the news over the weekend:  The nation that produced von Moltke, Bismarck, von Schlieffen, von Manstein, Guderian and Rommel, now we have a German Army that is effectively useless.  Excerpt:

There are so few German army helicopters available for the troops that pilots have been forced to train in bright yellow civilian choppers leased from the German Automobile Club.

A chronic shortage of spare parts and assorted technical woes have grounded 29 of the Bundeswehr’s 130 camouflage-green helicopters. Acute shortages of parts have also left only 39 of the Luftwaffe’s 128 Eurofighter jets combat-ready — idled along with nearly half of the armed forces’ 224 Leopard tanks and five of its six submarines.

No country in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance has savored the “peace dividend” as much as Germany, which slashed military spending in half after the Cold War. And no country in NATO has drawn more criticism from President Trump for not carrying its own military weight than Germany.

The country’s embarrassingly long laundry list of inoperable fighter jets, grounded helicopters, idled tanks and dry-docked submarines has exacerbated tension between Germany and the United States, which — like other NATO allies — worries about the threat of Russian aggression after its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

That’s the what; here’s the why:

But for all the tough talk, there appears to be little pride in the country’s armed forces among many Germans.

“We don’t need weapons,” said Anja Kruger, a 51-year-old Berlin travel agent. “Instead of spending money on arms, it should be spent on education and making people’s lives better. Maybe it sounds naive, but the world needs more empathy and not war — never, ever.”

It has been more than 70 years since World War II ended, and many Germans have little or no memory of wartime.

“They’re more interested in their own welfare and their prosperity, and don’t feel threatened,” said Gero Neugebauer, a political scientist at Berlin’s Free University. “After generations of living in peace, the idea of war is too abstract, it’s too far away from their lives.”

As Leon Trotsky is frequently (mis)quoted, “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”

If history tells us anything, it’s that there is always another threat.  This isn’t 1945 and the Soviet Union isn’t invading Germany, but there is always another threat, one that Germany won’t be prepared to meet.

“But Animal,” you may ask, “why should we worry about Germany’s readiness, being as we are on the other side of the Atlantic?”  Well, NATO, for a start; Germany is a NATO partner and has NATO obligations that they aren’t meeting.  If – when – trouble comes, I can see it coming plain as the nose on my face, that the Germans will screech to the USA for help.

And, once again, Europe will look across the Atlantic for our help in bailing them out of a mess.

Rule Five Alien Octopus Friday

I can’t believe that the editors of the Express published this with a straight face. Science news: Octopuses came to Earth from space as frozen eggs millions of years ago.  Excerpt:

Octopuses are “aliens” which evolved on another planet before arriving on Earth hundreds of millions of years ago as “cryopreserved” eggs via a process known as panspermia, radical new research has suggested.

The extraordinary claims were made in a report entitled Cause of Cambrian Explosion – Terrestrial or Cosmic? which was co-authored by a group of 33 scientists and published in the Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology journal.

The paper suggests that the explanation for the sudden flourishing of life during the Cambrian era – often referred to as the Cambrian Explosion – lies in the stars, as a result of the Earth being bombarded by clouds of organic molecules.

But the scientists go on to make an even more extraordinary claim concerning octopuses, which seem to have evolved on Earth quite rapidly something like 270 million years ago, 250 million years after the Cambrian explosion.

The paper states: “The genome of the Octopus shows a staggering level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes more than is present in Homo sapiens.

And:

“One plausible explanation, in our view, is that the new genes are likely new extraterrestrial imports to Earth – most plausibly as an already coherent group of functioning genes within (say) cryopreserved and matrix protected fertilized Octopus eggs.

About this article, I can only say this:

What utter horseshit.

For crying out loud, the place in the Earth’s tree of life occupied by cephalopods has been known for a long time now.  Yes, octopuses are rather unique; they are quick to learn, adaptable and capable of exploiting lots of different environments.

But then, so are lots of other animals.  Like, for example, us.

This is pseudo-scientific woo along the lines of anti-GMO or anti-vaxxer hysteria; clueless and utterly unsupported by anything with a remote resemblance to a fact.

Not only is the evolutionary and genetic relationship of the cephalopoda well documented, there’s another problem with this idea:  We have several metric tons (or tonnes, if you prefer) of meteorites to examine, and to date not one iota of genetic material has been found in any of them.

To the authors of this research, I can only say this:  Gwyneth Paltrow called.  She wants her bullshit back.

Animal’s Daily Seattle Stupidity News

Seattle has a homelessness problem.  So, as John Stossel notes, they are reacting by punishing businesses.  Go figure.  Excerpt:

Members of Seattle’s city council want all big Seattle businesses to pay a tax of $500 per employee.

In response, Amazon stopped building a new complex. Construction workers joined Amazon in protesting the new tax.

On the other side are city council members like Kshama Sawant. She and members of her political party, Socialist Alternative, demonstrated in support of the tax. They chanted, “Housing is a human right!”

Seattle does have large encampments of street people. Some are mentally ill. Some are young people looking to get stoned and live free. Some are homeless simply because they cannot afford apartments. There are many reasons for that, but one is that Amazon and other companies have brought so many new jobs to Seattle that the demand for housing exceeds the supply.

Normally, when that happens, the free market quickly solves the problem. Builders view the rising prices as a wonderful thing. They quickly build new housing to sell to the new customers. But in Seattle, and many towns in America, politicians make that very hard.

Seattle’s building code is 745 pages long.

If you want to build apartments, you better hire lawyers and “fixers” to keep you on the right side of the rules.

But at least the city’s overlords can see reason:

Monday, after Amazon’s pushback, the city council imposed a tax of $275 per worker instead of the originally proposed $500 tax.

The money raised, supposedly, will go to “solve” the homeless problem.  One consultant reckons that this will cost the city $400 million; funds they are unlikely to raise when their policies are driving major employers out of the city.

Stupid is as stupid does, and the Seattle City Council is being gobsmackingly stupid here.  Never mind the destructive head tax; never mind the ruinous zoning restrictions.  It’s a rule of nature that what you tax you get less of, and what you subsidize you get more of.  Seattle is proposing to tax employment and subsidize homelessness.  This won’t end well.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

This should come as a surprise to no one:  NRA Breaks 15-year Fundraising Record.   Excerpt:

The National Rifle Association on Tuesday announced that its Political Victory Fund had a banner month in March, raising $2.4 million, which is $1.5 million more than it raised in March 2017.

McClatchy reported that most of the donations were less than $200. The money from the fund is earmarked for political campaigns. The donations were made after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., which prompted a nationwide gun debate.

The report pointed out that gun control groups have fallen short of such fundraising numbers. Everytown for Gun Safety’s Political Action Fund, for example, raised $13,580 in March, the report said.

Predictably, idiots gonna idiot:

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., tweeted out against the NRA after learning about the fundraising record.

“The NRA is NOT a civil rights organization,” he wrote. “It’s a fundraiser for gun manufacturers trying to protect their interests.”

Rep. Deutch is either lying or doesn’t know his ass from his face about the NRA.

The NRA has seen the success that it has because it represents its members, not any industry group or manufacturer.  NRA members even get to elect the organization’s officers and vote on by-laws – how many of the anti-gun groups can say that?  I’m not aware of any.

The NRA’s recent fundraising success is largely due to one thing:  Peaceable, law-abiding gun owners are continually demonized for the actions of criminals and lunatics.  Speaking as a Life Member myself, I’m good and damn sick of it -and I’m good and damn sick of clueless jackwagons who know precisely fuck-all about firearms offering nonsensical “solution” after nonsensical “solution” to deal with gang shootings or the occasional lunatic.

Maybe someday the would-be gun grabbers will figure that out.  In the meantime, look for donations to the NRA to continue at the current pace.

Animal’s Daily Jerusalem Embassy News

To quote daffy old Uncle Joe Biden:  This is a big fucking deal.  Excerpt:

Sixty-nine years after Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital, and 23 years after the US Congress passed a law mandating that Washington move its embassy there, the US formally opened its embassy in the city on Monday afternoon, in a move Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called “courageous” and “momentous.”

“What a glorious day. Remember this moment!” Netanyahu entreated the applauding crowd. “President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history. All of us are deeply moved. All of us are deeply grateful.”

“Last December, President Trump became the first world leader to recognize Jerusalem as our capital, and today, the United States of America is opening its embassy right here in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “Thank you President Trump, for having the courage to keep your promises!”

In a video address to the assembly, US President Donald Trump said the move was “a long time coming,” and that Israel, like all sovereign nations, has a right to name its own capital.

Even President Trumps’ peripatetic critic Senator Schumer agrees that this is a good thing:

“In a long overdue move, we have moved our embassy to Jerusalem. Every nation should have the right to choose its capital,” Schumer said in a statement. “I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it.”

It’s interesting to see President Trump and Senator Schumer agreeing on something.

Now, the local Arabs are, predictably, RHEEEEing about how unfair it is that Israel actually determined where their own capital is located, and that the United States has the nerve to locate their embassy in Israel’s capital.  But the question is this:  The relocation of the embassy has been a matter of US law for decades, every President in recent history has paid lip service towards the relocation but did nothing about it.

So what’s different about President Trump?  The answer is, of course, “almost everything.”  You might agree with him and you might not, but nobody can deny that he is getting things done.

That in and of itself is rather refreshing.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links, and to blogger pal Doug Hagin over at The Daley Gator for the linkback!  Bonus callout to the Glibertarians site for running my pre-Tacticool firearms article.  I’ve been taken on as a contributor over there, so look for my writings on guns and outdoor stuff there in future.

Moving on:  Should John Kerry (who, by the way, served in Vietnam) be in jail?  Excerpt:

Still not elected president ever, Mr. Kerry has once again gone underground to conspire with the enemy to undermine U.S. foreign policy.

Two weeks ago in New York, according to the Globe, “more than a year after he left office, he engaged in some unusual shadow diplomacy with a top-ranking official.”

“The rare moves by a former secretary of state highlight the stakes for Kerry personally, as well as for other Obama-era diplomats who are dismayed by what they see as Trump’s disruptive approach to diplomacy.”

Try to imagine for a second if some unelected diplomat from the Jimmy Carter administration had tried to interfere with President Reagan’s efforts to end the Cold War. Or if Condoleezza Rice had huddled with leaders from Iraq and Afghanistan to undermine President Obama’s policies in the region.

Of course, you cannot imagine that because it is unimaginable that even Jimmy Carter would have ever hired such a buffoon so utterly committed to hurting America.

Well, now that we are all so whipped up into such a frenzy over anyone who might be colluding with a foreign enemy to undermine the free will of the people and hijack the American political process, we should certainly take a hard look at Mr. Kerry.

And if he sets foot back at the United Nations or anywhere else Iran’s terror leaders can be found, Mr. Kerry should be arrested and thrown in jail.

As schadenfreudalicious as this would be, it won’t happen.  Why not?  Two reasons:

  1. The Logan Act, which is the law that would be cited in this case, has never really been enforced.  Two people have been charged under the Logan Act, one in 1802 and one in 1852, and neither was convicted.  While the Logan Act remains law, this enters (ugh) into the realm of politics, which leads us to reason 2:
  2. Kerry is on the right-think side where most of the major legacy media is; President Trump would be excoriated in the media for having Kerry prosecuted.

Now, President Trump is excoriated in the legacy media almost every day anyway.   One might ask, “so, what has he got to lose?”  But bear in mind the spinelessness of the Justice Department of late, set aside this being a mid-term election year, and the President still has an agenda to enact which will require a GOP-controlled Congress…

…Shit, how politics fucks things up.

This is probably another good argument for my proposal to make the House of Representatives like a jury duty assignment, and return the appointment of Senators to the several state legislatures.  It would at least weaken the grip that political calculations has on policy.

 

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.