All posts by Animal

Rule Five Shoe On the Other Foot Friday

Parties, Not Principles.

It’s interesting to note how many folks think that someone is stupid just because they disagree on any certain issue.  Granted, some people really are stupid; some people in public life, for instance.  But plenty of people are not, and plenty of people hold variety of opinions on plenty of topics.  Someone who disagrees with you isn’t necessarily stupid; they just disagree.

I’ve written on this phenomenon before.  It’s long been a pet peeve of mine.

But there’s a corollary of this; people who form opinions of any person, event or policy based on the political affiliation of the person or persons who are involved.  Let’s look at the current impeachment circus, for example.

Reversals

This whole mess brewed up over a phone call between the President and the President of Ukraine.  Here’s a relevant statement from the transcript by the President:

The other thing, there’s a lot of. talk about Biden’s son, that Eiden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.  Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.

Now, that’s a very small excerpt of a five-page transcript, but I’m not going to analyze the whole thing; that’s not what I’m aiming to do here.

Let’s hypothesize the exact some statement, only coming from President Trump’s predecessor:

The other thing, there’s a lot of. talk about Cheney’s son, that Eiden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.  Cheney went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.

Would Barney Google-Schiff have been gung-ho to impeach President Obama over this?  Hell no; he would have said the same thing that some in the GOP are saying now, that the President has the right and, indeed, an obligation, to investigate corruption in a country that will be receiving millions in American taxpayer dollars.

And they’d be right.

Principle-Free

But the order of the day now is partisanship, not principles.  And, to be fair, both sides are guilty of it.  If they had principles, then those principles would not change with the political affiliation of the object; but they have no principles, only partisanship.

To a certain extent, I find this excess of partisanship strangely comforting.  When the Imperial government is hopelessly deadlocked, as they seem to have been for some time now – even when the GOP held both houses they couldn’t seem to get anything done, leading to the obvious comparison of them to The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight – at least they can’t hurt us.

But while this kabuki theater in Washington is still going on, while Barney Google-Schiff keeps bringing forward “witnesses” who heard from a guy who heard from a guy who may have heard the President say something, the Imperial  government continues to pour trillions of taxpayer dollars every year on millions of ratholes, the Imperial debt continues to rise, and the Washington establishment grows more and more entrenched.  And all in the name of naked, toxic partisanship.

There doesn’t seem to be any end to it.

There’s an answer, of course.  We spoke of it only a week ago, if somewhat obliquely; tear the whole damn thing down.  Hogtie the Imperial government behind restrictions they can’t break:

  1. Term limits, to eliminate the permanent ruling class we have now.
  2. A balanced-budget amendment, to keep the new class of pols from spending our grandchildren into bankruptcy.
  3. Voting security, to make damn sure our elections are valid.

I could name a bunch of other ideas, but these would be a good start.

None of this will happen, of course.   The toxic atmosphere in the Imperial City today won’t allow the necessary cooperation to achieve anything positive.  The current impeachment circus is a symptom, not a cause, but it’s a damn telling one.

Animal’s Daily Luxury News

I found this kind of interesting:  What Are Luxury Beliefs?  Excerpt:

It’s an intriguing thought, well worth our consideration.  If you have ever wondered why people with gobs of money, who have ascended the economic status hierarchy are so prone to mouth incoherent radical leftist tripe, Rob Henderson offers one response.

They wear their beliefs like status symbols. Henderson calls them luxury beliefs because they believe that being being politically correct, however much it damages the nation, is a way to assert higher social status.

I would add that in an age where the national media and its attendant mob shuns anyone who expresses a discordant non-radical belief, spouting luxury beliefs is good public relations. It protects you from being branded a bigot and being expelled from public society.

Were I to speculate I would add that people who have conquered the marketplace and who have amassed great fortunes seem to have the unfortunate tendency to think that they must now become philosophers. They look for new words to conquer and they set their sights on the marketplace of ideas. Thus, they turn to those professorial and media intellectuals who seem to have status within the world of ideas. And they allow said intellectuals to manipulate their minds, to persuade them to think politically correct thoughts. They resemble the dupes in the Socratic dialogues, the rubes who easily allow the great philosopher to make them think what he wants them to think… and to persuade them that they are independent thinkers.

There’s another side to this, and it ranges from astrophysicists (Yes, Neal DeGrasse Tyson, I’m looking at you) to movie stars to software developers – because they have grown famous knowing about one thing, they assume they know about many things.  The problem is it’s usually not true.  Dr. Tyson, for example, is rightly judged a knowledgeable astrophysicist, but I once heard him opinion about economics, a subject about which he plainly knows little.

But holding the opinions is one thing, and it would be of little import if the people described in the linked article didn’t feel the need to chatter about them so much.  The beliefs may be luxury beliefs, but that need to talk, that’s just virtue signalling – just plain, old, garden-variety virtue signaling, of the type engaged in by plenty of folks who just can’t keep that sort of thing to themselves.

Gobs of money or not, people are pretty much just people.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

On to the links!

Stacey Abrams is an idiot.

NBC’s Vin Gupta is an idiot.

Mother Jones’ David Corn is an idiot.

Bonus:  National Review’s David Harsanyi explains why Paul Krugman is an idiot.

Attorney General Barr on the Executive Branch.  Worth the read.

Economic Ignorance 101:  Pete Buttigieg Has a $1 Trillion Plan to Drive Up Housing, College, and Labor Costs.

Why Navy SEALS love the Sig P226.  Sigs are great guns; we’ve had a few at one time or another, even though I’m more of a wheelgun  guy.

Speaking of – daffy old Uncle Joe Biden is out bothering people about handguns now.

Elsewhere in the Special Ops community, SOCOM is looking to “upgrade” the 7.626 NATO M110 sniper rifle to fire the 6.5 Creedmor.

Government corruption isn’t limited to the Imperial City.

Justice Neil Gorsuch – better than expected?

You went full retard.  Never go full retard.

Should we make every weekend three days long?  As I get older, I’m increasingly down with this, even if it means making up for it the other four days.

Here’s a better way to convert dog years to people years.

Guess what?  The Democrat’s presidential candidates are being funded by billionaires.  Here’s the list.

And on that well-heeled note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.

Animal’s Daily Futuristic News

Be sure to catch my latest over at Glibertarians; this week it’s another installment of my Allamakee County Chronicles.

Meanwhile:   SingularityHub’s Dr. Peter H. Diamandis Has a list of new technologies he thinks we’ll see in the next ten years.  Color me skeptical.  Here’s the list, with my comments:

Hyperloop One: LA to SF in 35 Minutes

Did you know that Hyperloop was the brainchild of Elon Musk? Just one in a series of transportation innovations from a man determined to leave his mark on the industry.

In 2013, in an attempt to shorten the long commute between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the California state legislature proposed a $68 billion budget allocation for what appeared to be the slowest and most expensive bullet train in history.

Well, he’s not wrong about the bullet train.

But Elon Musk’s Hyperloop isn’t going anywhere on any real scale.  Certainly not in the next ten years.  Just obtaining the real estate necessary would be a massive undertaking, and he hasn’t (apparently) even started yet.  This is the same guy who has promised to start a colony on Mars, among other things, and the Hyperloop is another display of Musk’s primary talent:  Self-promotion.

Which brings us to:

Rocket Travel

As if autonomous vehicles, flying cars, and Hyperloop weren’t enough, in September of 2017, speaking at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, Musk promised that for the price of an economy airline ticket, his rockets will fly you “anywhere on Earth in under an hour.”

No.  Way.  In.  Hell.  Not in ten years.  Not in twenty or thirty years.  While the technology exists for this, the practical application of it is decades away – and decades more before the economies of scale make it possible for ordinary folks.  Even Musk admits this:  “We could probably demonstrate this [technology] in three years,” Musk explained, “but it’s going to take a while to get the safety right. It’s a high bar. Aviation is incredibly safe. You’re safer on an airplane than you are at home.”

Avatars

An avatar is a second self, typically in one of two forms. The digital version has been around for a couple of decades. It emerged from the video game industry and was popularized by virtual world sites like Second Life and books-turned-blockbusters like Ready Player One.

Now this one is a tad more realistic.  In fact, we’re already sort of doing it, with WebEx and Skype.  Videoconferencing is nothing new.  But the VR avatar concept is somewhat different; Diamandis describes a robotic version:

Robots are the second form of avatars. Imagine a humanoid robot that you can occupy at will. Maybe, in a city far from home, you’ve rented the bot by the minute—via a different kind of ridesharing company—or maybe you have spare robot avatars located around the country.

Either way, put on VR goggles and a haptic suit, and you can teleport your senses into that robot. This allows you to walk around, shake hands, and take action—all without leaving your home.

I don’t think for a moment that many companies would go to the massive expense of buying VR-occupiable robots just so remote workers can walk around and shake hands.  In the next ten years, what will happen is that companies will continue to use Skype and WebEx.  I use WebEx a lot, and it’s better than a telephone call – you can loop in many people and in discussions, especially where any debate is involved, it’s great to be able to see the people you’re talking to.  It not only personalizes the other folks in the meeting, but it allows you to take in the visual cues that make conversation much more than just the spoken word.

And finally:

Final Thoughts

Individual car ownership has enjoyed over a century of ascendancy and dominance.

And will continue to do so for the next ten years and beyond.

The first real threat it faced—today’s ride-sharing model—only showed up in the last decade. But that ridesharing model won’t even get ten years to dominate. Already, it’s on the brink of autonomous car displacement, which is on the brink of flying car disruption, which is on the brink of Hyperloop and rockets-to-anywhere decimation. Plus, avatars.

Not in the next ten years.  Not in America.  The ride sharing and autonomous car model may work for someone living in New York City, but not for a farmer in rural Missouri, a small-town doctor in Iowa or a rancher in Wyoming.  The majority of Americans are going to continue to own and operate personal vehicles.

The most important part: All of this change will happen over the next ten years. Welcome to a future of human presence where the only constant is rapid change.

Dr. Diamandis, are you a bettin’ man?  I’ve got a C-note says you’re wrong.  I’ll be around in ten years.  I’m sure you will be too.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links.

Moving right along:  Colorado’s 15+ round magazine “ban” is up before the state Supreme Court.  Excerpt:

In arguments before the state court Wednesday, the groups’ lawyer, Barry Arrington, said that since the U.S. Supreme Court has found that the right to bear arms is a fundamental right, the state has a heavier burden to prove that the magazine limit is needed. He said they cannot meet that standard.

The law was passed in 2013, a year after the Aurora theater shooting, in an effort to limit the number of deaths in mass shootings. While large capacity magazines were used in the Columbine and Aurora shootings, Arrington said that have also been widely used by gun owners, with millions of them in existence when the law was passed.

The legal challenge brought by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the National Association for Gun Rights is based on the gun rights’ provision in the Colorado Constitution, which expressly protects the right of people to be armed to defend their homes, property and themselves. Given that, Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson told the justices they have the right to interpret the state’s constitution on their own, noting that U.S. Supreme Court guidance changes over time.

Olson argued the state Supreme Court should instead stick with the approach it established in 1994 in a challenge to an assault weapons ban passed by Denver — deciding whether a law furthers a legitimate government interest without being too broad.

The relevant statement in the Colorado state Constitution states:

Section 13. Right to bear arms. The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.

Well, the state Constitution seems pretty clear on this as well.

The state’s “magazine ban” is a sham in any case.  You can legally buy all the parts required to build a magazine and build one on your own.  You can drive up to Wyoming, over to Utah or down to New Mexico and buy any magazine you want.  Many of the state’s Sheriffs are refusing to enforce the magazine ban, any many of those counties are in the areas along the state’s boundaries, well away from the Denver-Boulder Axis that comes up with these stupid laws.

And that’s not to mention all the mags already legally in the state, those that were grandfathered in.  Mrs. Animal and I both have copies of the AR-15 pattern rifles; Tacticool stuff really isn’t either of our cup of tea, but we’re both stubborn and independent people, meaning in part that the fastest way to get us to do something is to tell us we shouldn’t.  When I set those rifles up for us, I bought one basic load of magazines for us both, meaning seven thirty-rounders for each rifle.  When the “magazine ban” passed, before it took effect, I – legally – bought seven more for each.

Because fuck those finger-waggers in the Capitol, that’s why.

But in the end, I don’t know as any court decision will matter much.  Colorado has gone blue, and unless the state’s GOP extracts themselves from the circular firing squad formation they’ve been in since Bill Owens left the Governor’s office, that’s not changing.  The Legislature will come up with a new stupid, meaningless “magazine ban” and Governor Polis (or whoever replaces him) will sign it.

And the cycle will continue, ad nauseum.

Saturday Gingermageddon

Programming note:  While I appreciate suggestions for the weekly cheesecake posts, I do not use “selfies” and almost never post photos of Hollywood celebrities (at least not anyone I recognize as a Hollywood celebrity).  The former are almost always lousy photography, and the latter get more than enough coverage anyway. Continue reading Saturday Gingermageddon

Rule Five Taxation is Theft Friday

A Wealth of Bad Ideas

It’s no surprise to anyone that has been paying attention that Democrat Presidential candidate Spreading Bull Warren is proposing a wealth tax to pay for her massive spending proposals, not least of which is “Medicare for All.”  While her proposals suck for a number of reasons, this one is perhaps one of the worst.  Let’s look at the reasons why.

Practical Reasons

Let’s forget legal aspects for a moment and look at the practical aspects of this proposal to confiscate the wealth of successful Americans by force.

By her own words, she claims that her proposal would only affect either “billionaires” or “the top 1%,” depending on which day you listen to her.  But these people are the same people who are best equipped, best prepared and most able to evade just such a tax; the inevitable result of this plan would yield only a massive capital flight from our shores, and a resulting catastrophic crash of our financial markets.  Less wealthy Americans, less able to flee the new taxation scheme, would see their retirement accounts evaporate.  Businesses would suffer; layoffs and business closings would follow.

And bear in mind that her proposal isn’t a one time thing.  It would tax the assets of every American that meets the criteria, every year.  And her claim of 2%?  Well, that’s how the income tax started, too.  How long do you suppose the wealth tax would stay at 2%?

At best, we could expect a prolonged recession that would make the 2008-2009 “Great Recession” look like a blip.  At worst, we could see a prolonged Depression, quite possibly worse than the 1928-1938 Depression, very likely the worst downturn in our nation’s history.

But there are stronger arguments against Princess Spreading Bull’s plan, and those are found in the Constitution.

Constitutional Reasons

Article One, Section Nine of the U.S. Constitution, Limits on Congress, contains the following unambiguous statement:

No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

What does this mean?  Simply this:  Congress can levy no direct tax unless that tax is levied in proportion to the population of the several States.  In other words, if California contains 12% of the nation’s population, then California must supply 12% of any direct tax.  If Alaska contains 2%, then the residents of Alaska are only responsible for 2% of the total.  Now it’s pretty apparent to anyone who’s been paying attention that a few states, like New York and California, contain a proportion of wealth far higher than their percentage of the nation’s total population; other states, like Alaska and Arkansas, rather less so.

In order to levy the existing income tax, the Sixteenth Amendment was passed:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Note that final clause; a specific exemption was stated to allow the current income tax to be collected without regard to “…any census or enumeration.”

Liawatha Warren’s wealth tax, in which she proposes to confiscate the wealth of many successful Americans, a tax which would wreck our economy and lay a heavy levy on wealth generated with post tax dollars – thus representing double taxation – would require a Constitutional amendment, one which has rather less chances of ratification than would an amendment denying the vote to all persons with red hair and blue eyes.

In Conclusion…

Liawatha Warren is perhaps one of the most dangerous politicians to ever seek the office of the President.  Her proposals would destroy the Constitution, would result in economic ruin, and would drive wealth out of the country.  Fortunately, while she seems to be in a good position to gain the Democratic nomination, her odds thereafter are not good; if for no other reason, her Medicare-for-All plan would strip the generous,  union-negotiated health care plans of millions of blue-collar and middle-class Americans.  If the Democrats lose the labor unions, they lose the election, and this plan guarantees that loss.  Add to that the fact that her proposals would prove wildly unpopular to all Americans other than the far left, and her nomination is little more than a gift to the Trump re-election campaign.

But still, it’s important to examine her policy plans, and spread the word on why and how they would result in disaster.  Let’s hope most Americans are paying attention.

Animal’s Daily 1984 News

National treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson has put together a piece on the upcoming 2020 election.  Go read it all.  Excerpt:

When Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and a number of Democratic presidential candidates sympathize with the New York subway jumpers who openly threaten the police, then what or who exactly is the alternative to such chaos?

When the media proves 90 percent partisan according to its own liberal watchdog institutions, or reports things as true that cannot be true but “should” be true, what are the forces behind that?

When the violence of Antifa is quietly—or sometimes loudly—condoned, who are those who empower it and excuse it?

If a late-term abortion results in a live baby exiting the birth canal only to be liquidated, who exactly would say that is amoral?

If the leading Democratic presidential candidates openly embrace the Green New Deal, reparations, abolishing the Electoral College, welfare for illegal aliens, open borders, amnesties, wealth taxes, a 70-90 percent income tax code, Medicare for all, and legal infanticide—what is the alternative vision and who stands between all that and a targeted traditional America?

In California, the nation’s largest utility preemptively shuts off power to multibillion-dollar industries and two-million customers, given its ossified grid and over-regulated operations, and the deliberate policy of the state not to clean up drought-stricken dead forests and underbrush that are ignited by wind and antiquated transmission cables. So, who or what then in 2020 would oppose all that?

Well, for 2020, I think we already know the answer.  My official prediction is that President Trump will easily survive the attempt to remove him from office, and barring any major economic or political calamity, he’ll be re-elected next year.  And no, nothing the Dems have come up with yet comprises a major political calamity.

But for 2024 and after?

I know I harp on this theme a lot, but the big-government ratchet only turns one way.  We can’t regain freedoms lost or liberties infringed, except – maybe – by violence.  And violence, nine hundred and ninety-nine times out of a thousand, won’t result in a glorious restoration of the Republic.  It will just result in the end of our Republic.

Dr. Hanson concludes:  One side advocates a complete transformation not just of the American present but of the past as well. The Left is quite eager to change our very vocabulary and monitor our private behavior to ensure we are not just guilty of incorrect behavior but thought as well.

The other side believes America is far better than the alternative, that it never had to be perfect to be good, and that, all and all, its flawed past is a story of a moral nation’s constant struggle for moral improvement.

One side will say, “Just give us more power and we will create heaven on earth.” The other says “Why would anyone wish to take their road to an Orwellian nightmare?” The 2020 election is that simple.

And so will the 2024 election be that simple.  And the 2028 election.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Now, on to the links!

Monday, of course, was Veteran’s Day.  Have a listen to a great piece commemorating that day from one of my follow Glibertarians.

Want to know how to spot a psychopath?  Well, you could look at Congress.

The President of the University of Virginia is an idiot.

This Popeyes worker is an idiot.

At least half of the university students in the UK are idiots.

The next big tech thing may be smart glasses.  I figure I’ll just keep my old dumb glasses.

Things in Hong Kong are quickly going from bad to worse.

Heh heh heh.

Autophagia on the Left.

Yesterday, we talked about the Imperial judiciary, but it seems at least Justice Gorsuch is framing well at the task.  So far.

A homeless man bum in Los Angeles dumped a bucket of “hot diarrhea” over a woman’s head.  That’s as opposed to the hot diarrhea coming out of Congress.

Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, is concerned about something she doesn’t understand.  Again.

Double-Secret Impeachment.

Alexandria Occasional Cortex once again opens her mouth, removes all doubt.

This asshole deserved at least twice the sentence he got.

In the nation’s capital, the school system is an abject, total failure.

And on that note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.