Category Archives: News

My thoughts on the news of the day, both local, Colorado, national and international.

Animal’s Daily Balkanization News

Continuing on yesterday’s theme:  America Faces One of Three Inevitable Paths: Unrest, Tyranny, or Divorce – Pick One.  Excerpt:

In a piece for The Federalist entitled, “It’s Time For The United States To Divorce Before Things Get Dangerous,” writer and former Marine Corps combat veteran Jesse Kelly ruffled more than a few feathers with his contention that the time for the United States as a united nation may be nearing an inevitable end. 

Comparing the Left and Right in America to “the couple screaming at each other all night, every night as the kids hide in their room,” Kelly cites a congenial divorce as the best option for a country that’s “hopelessly divided” on seemingly every important issue. He even tweeted a helpful accompanying map with a hand-drawn red line ceding the Left coast and the northern states to the liberal governance they deserve.

In his piece, Kelly cites issues from gun control to border security, issues that, while both sides hopelessly disagree, will soon prompt increasingly intolerant Leftists to “start coming for the careers (and lives) of any normal American who sees things differently.”

But here’s the part that provoked my interest:

And these days, the idea isn’t just coming from the Right. The Calexit movement would secede California from the United States entirely, and it’s more financed and organized than you might think. Perhaps it’s time to give them what they want.

“[Conservatives’ reasons for splitting] would be a major cultural shift toward the left and half the country refusing to go along with tyranny,” writes Kelly. Liberals’ reasons might be a desire to run things their own way without the adults in the room interfering. But either way, the way I see it there are three possibilities for America’s future – unrest, tyranny, or divorce.

Out on a limb.

Look at loony Californey these days, and the solution may be obvious:  Let California go, and let “progressive” folks in the country go with them.  Encourage leftie emigration to the new Left Coast socialist state, but off California with their big block of Electoral College votes and their Democrat supermajority – oh, after collecting fair value for all the Imperial lands and installations in that state – and let them lie in the bed they’ve made.

With California gone, the political Left in the United States will be set back several generations.  Of course, that has us stuck with the GOP, who thus far has shown not one iota of testicular fortitude; but who knows that with confidence in majorities and the White House, maybe even the current soft-shelled creatures in the Imperial City might grow some semblance of a spine.

In any case, it beats the hell out of a civil war.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

I know a few folks who are of the opinion that the United States is headed for a second civil war.  I’ve written some on the topic myself in these virtual pages.  Here is an interesting take on the topic.  Excerpt:

I was interviewed by a mainstream media reporter yesterday. I thought he wanted to talk tech issues, but we actually spent almost the entire conversation discussing the feeling that many conservatives have that America has gone off the tracks and is headed toward dissolution or alternately, a civil war one day. Obviously, this would be a terrible thing and ironically, twenty years ago, it would have been laughable. Today, the joke isn’t so funny because we are a deeply unhealthy society with a dysfunctional government and for all our money, success and storied history, we seem to be on an increasingly dangerous trajectory.

Read the whole thing, but I’m not sure I can agree with the conclusion, which has to do with possible gun confiscations:

When it is discussed on the Left, there seems to be an assumption that lone resisters might get into firefights with dozens of police or soldiers, as opposed to ganging up with other formerly law-abiding Americans to waylay gun confiscators, politicians and anti-gun activists at THEIR HOMES in guerrilla actions that would be silently applauded and supported by hundreds of millions of Americans concerned about their freedom. Confiscating guns is a dangerous and stupid idea that could in and of itself end our republic if a serious attempt were ever made to implement it.

I do agree with the premise above; any whole-scale confiscation of privately owned firearms would almost certainly end in bloodshed.  And any hot civil war between Left and Right (and I speak, I think, for most libertarians when I say we would be aligned with the Right, especially where guns are concerned) would not end up to the benefit of the Left.  They are not, after all, the ones with all the guns, and any such attempts would not have the support of most of the military or even much of civil law enforcement.

I do think, though, that if anything bad happens, it will be not with a bang but with a whimper.  No Republic has ever lasted forever, and the United States is no exception.  But some sort of balkanization is more likely than a hot war.  The lines of demarcation in our nation now are geographical to some extent, but not with the old north-south demarcation; it’s largely urban/rural, with huge swaths of the country red and the major cities in blue.  Our economic crises will affect everyone, but the major events described in items 2 and 5 will effect rural areas, they will result in our major cities destroying themselves.  I think some sort of unfriendly but inevitable separation more likely.

Either way, I can say one thing for sure:  I hope I don’t live to see it.  I’m afraid my grandchildren will.

Animal’s Daily Hidden Tax News

This just in from libertarian scribe John Stossel:  Hidden Taxes.  Excerpt:

Yesterday was “Tax Day.” It was April 17 this year because April 15 fell on Sunday and Monday was Emancipation Day. But by calling April 17 “Tax Day,” the media miss the big picture. Income taxes make up less than half the tax most of us pay.

We also must pay payroll tax, corporate tax, gift tax, gambling tax, federal unemployment tax, gas tax, cable and telecom taxes, plane ticket tax, FCC subscriber line charges, car documentation fees, liquor and cigarette taxes, etc.

People can’t keep track. For my latest YouTube video, Tate asked people, “What’s your tax rate?” Tourists in Times Square said that they thought they paid about 20 percent. But they left off the hotel taxes, airline taxes, etc., that push Americans’ total tax load to almost 50 percent.

And yet, with all these taxes, the Imperial government is still 20 trillion dollars in debt.

There are two sides to this problem.

  1. Most people have no idea how much they are actually taxed, at all levels.  Here in the Casa de Animal we probably have a better idea than most, as we have been small business owners for years and have to make quarterly payments.  But payroll withholding has effectively ‘hidden’ direct taxes, and most folks aren’t bothered to add up all the various taxes and fees that suck away income.
  2. The scope of government is out of control.  No matter how much of our resources the government confiscates under threat of force (try not paying your Imperial taxes and see how long it takes them to send men with guns out after you) the governments spend more, and more, and more.  The answer is obvious and I’ve said it many times here:  Fuck you, cut spending.

There’s an answer to all this, at least at the Imperial level:  The balanced budget amendment and the FairTax.  But the odds of the Imperial Congress voting to strip themselves of that much power is so small as to be immeasurable; you’d have better odds counting neutrinos.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

It seems San Francisco is having trouble presenting themselves as a desirable tourist destination.  Having just spent a year working in that unenviable area, I can see why.  Excerpt, with my comments:

As president of S.F. Travel, the city’s visitors bureau, Joe D’Alessandro’s job is to promote San Francisco. You’d think he’d be hyping the city’s gorgeous vistas, top-notch restaurants and glorious museums.

Instead, he’s getting honest.

It’s hard to see what other choice he has.  This is a city where the “homeless advocacy” groups fought bitterly against attempts to crack down on public defecation.  The city now distributes “poop maps” to tell tourists which areas to avoid.

The ancient Romans knew better than this.  The ruling cabal of San Francisco?  Not so much.

Sure, San Francisco has great facets worthy of postcards and travel books, but it also has a worsening underbelly that D’Alessandro says he can no longer gloss over.

No shit.  Well, actually, yes, shit.  Literally shit.

People injecting themselves with drugs in broad daylight, their dirty needles and other garbage strewn on the sidewalks. Tent camps. Human feces. The threatening behavior of some people who appear either mentally ill or high. Petty theft.

“The streets are filthy. There’s trash everywhere. It’s disgusting,” D’Alessandro said, adding he’s traveled the world, and San Francisco stands out for the wrong reasons. “I’ve never seen any other city like this — the homelessness, dirty streets, drug use on the streets, smash-and-grabs.

I witnessed this for my own self during the year I lived and worked in the area.

“How can it be?” he continued. “How can it have gotten to this point?”

Well, you might ask yourself who has been running this city for the past several decades.  That might yield the answer you are looking for.

Remember, this is the man whose job is to glorify San Francisco, which tells you something about how far the city has sunk.

I don’t envy the guy his job.  He might consider moving his talents to some other, more appealing tourism destination, like Cleveland.

San Francisco is in the state it’s in because of one thing:  Decades of mushy-headed, political correct government.  The problems Mr. D’Allesandro is dealing with won’t be fixed without fixing the root cause – San Francisco voters, who keep putting the same lunatics in charge of the asylum.

In other words, Frisco is, yes, a microcosm of the state in which it resides.

Animal’s Daily Government Waste News

Nobody should be surprised by this, but the Imperial government is going to audit the progress of Californey’s high-speed train to nowhere, and things aren’t looking good.  Excerpt:

Gee, I wonder what federal auditors will find — besides a phantom train set and a lot of wasted money? With a new study out showing that California doesn’t have the funding to complete even the first phase of their high-speed rail project, the Inspector General for the Department of Transportation will open the books to see how federal monies have been spent:

California’s high-speed rail project is facing an audit from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s as costs continue to climb.

The inspector general’s audit, announced Thursday, will examine the Federal Railroad Administration’s oversight of nearly $3.5 billion in federal grant money awarded to the project.

That’s bad news for a project that has already had plenty of bad news over the last several years. The IG will apparently focus mainly on how the FRA has performed in reporting on California’s progress rather than the performance of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. At issue will be whether the FRA has enforced project performance requirements, but that will still point out the lack of progress California has made despite all of the cash it received:

The federal money awarded to California comes with specific conditions that Kelly has promised to meet. They include completing a 119-mile (192-kilometer) segment of track now under construction in the Central Valley and finishing environmental reviews for the full line by 2022.

The audit will specifically evaluate how the Federal Railroad Administration determines whether California has complied with federal guidelines.

Out on a limb.

Let us all hazard a guess, shall we?  The state of this project’s finances will, very likely, be grounds for multiple prosecutions, if not a full-blown RICO investigation.  This is a cluster-fuck of, well, Californian proportions.

And the bad thing is this:  It was doomed to failure from the start.  A high-speed rail network will work in a country like Japan, where 200 million people live in a land the size of California.  Trains are even useful in the densely populated northeaster USA.  But in the wide-open Western states, where there are miles and miles of miles and miles?

Nope.

This entire project wasn’t thought up and pushed through for any practical reason.  It was state-wide virtue signalling, nothing but, in a heavy-handed attempt by government to wean people off their cars (which allow a pesky amount of independence and freedom of movement) and shove them into rail travel.

Doomed to failure, True Believers.  I’m sure you didn’t hear it here first, but it’s nonetheless true.

Rule Five Immigration Ideology Friday

This just in (well, earlier this week) from national treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson:  Illegal Immigration Ideology.  Excerpt:

The ideology of illegal immigration rests on certain illogical assumptions that must not be questioned. Immigration exactly is one-way. But why exactly do we simply accept that without inquiry? What is it about a free-market, constitutional, transparent, and law-abiding America that draws in millions desperate to abandon their homes in otherwise naturally rich landscapes in Mexico and Central America?

In the absence of intellectual honesty about the need for political and economic reform in Latin America, mythologies can abound. Millions are desperate to enter a country antithetical to the protocols of their own. They are even more desperate to stay here — even as many mask that paradox by expressing ethnic and cultural chauvinism, along with anger at their hosts. Witness the signs, flags, and symbols of many open-borders, anti-immigration-enforcement rallies. Apparently, nations that create conditions that drive out their own can be the objects of romance, but only at a safe distance.

The ethos of the Mexican government has become surreal. Its racist and imperial classes welcome the flight of 10 percent of its indigenous population. It assumes that the United States cannot, must not, adopt immigration laws similar to its own. Driving out one’s own people apparently vents social tensions in lieu of reform, and the government is thereby exempted from accountability for its utter failures. About $30 billion arrive in return as remittances, many of these transferences subsidized by American social services and entitlements.

Now, I’m not against immigration per se.  I am against illegal immigration.  I’m also against unchecked immigration; the day when the United States can absorb an unlimited number of immigrants is over.  We should now be selective in admitting only people who can contribute to our economy; we can either have a welfare state or open borders, but we most assuredly not have both.

I’ve been asked how, holding as I do minarchist libertarian opinions, I can favor restrictions on immigration.   While I do believe that people have a right to travel, in this case property rights take precedence, and to the people of a nation, the nation is their property; a nation is a defined structure, an association of people (a voluntary association, I might add – if you don’t like it in the U.S.,you are certain free to leave) and not only do we have the right to protect our property, our nation, against invasion, we also have the right of disassociation – the right to choose who we allow to join our group.

Dr. Hanson concludes:  When Jerry Brown or Nancy Pelosi lectures the state on its illiberality, or on the immigration sins of Donald Trump, or the advantages of nullification and a sanctuary state, we assume that these are just the penultimate chest poundings and virtue signals of rich septuagenarians about to go into apartheid retirements in Napa or Grass Valley.

In that context, all of their legacies above make perfect sense.

And, yes, with that, all the agitating by open-borders activists does make sense; like all statists, they favor most policies that they reckon won’t effect them.

Animal’s Daily Second Amendment Scholar News

Forewarned is forearmed.

Here’s a bit on the background of the landmark Heller decision I wasn’t aware of.  Excerpt:

In the hours after February’s school massacre in Parkland, Fla., Joyce Lee Malcolm watched the response with growing annoyance:

“Everybody seemed to leap upon it, looking for a political benefit, rather than allowing for a cooling-off period.” As a historian, Malcolm prefers to take the long view. As a leading scholar of the Second Amendment, however, she is also expected to have snap opinions on gun rights, and in fact she often has engaged in the news-driven debates about violence and firearms. “Something deep inside of me says that people never should be victims,” she says. “And they never should be put in the position of being disarmed by their government.”

And:

At a time when armies were marching around England, ordinary people became anxious about surrendering guns. Then, in 1689, the English Bill of Rights responded by granting Protestants the right to “have Arms for their Defence.” Malcolm wasn’t the first person to notice this, of course, but as an American who had studied political loyalty in England, she approached the topic from a fresh angle. “The English felt a need to put this in writing because the king had been disarming his political opponents,” she says. “This is the origin of our Second Amendment. It’s an individual right.”

There are all kinds of practical arguments for the Second Amendment; the general failure of gun-control laws to have any meaningful impact on crime rates (you could in fact argue just the opposite, holding up some of our major cities as examples) as well as the increase in American gun ownership set against the near-historic low violent crime rates nationwide.

But while all those articles are useful, it’s Heller and the Second Amendment that is our strongest argument.  We are either a free people or we are not; the primary measure of liberty is the degree to which the people are armed.  The armed citizen is the bulwark of liberty.

Dr. Malcolm, hardly a right-wing agitator, understands this.  It would be great if some of our pols would heed her words.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks once again to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

Moving on:  File this under “really good ideas that will never happen.”  Excerpt, with my comments:

The House is slated to vote next week on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution after lawmakers return from their Easter recess.

The decision to bring the measure — which would require Congress not to spend more than it brings in — to the floor comes just weeks after the passage of a $1.3 trillion spending package that is projected to add billions to the deficit.

Irony, thy name is the United States Congress.

The amendment, introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), would require a “true majority” in both the House and Senate to pass tax increases and a three-fifths majority in both chambers to increase the debt limit.

And that would be a great idea.  But:

The measure has virtually no chance of becoming law as it would need Democratic support in the Senate and ratification from the majority of states. While conservative hard-liners largely support the proposal, critics argue adding a constitutional amendment could weaken economic activity and exacerbate recessions by limiting the government’s ability to spend money.

Good.  Good!  My response to that complaint from the “critics” takes the form of four words:  Fuck you, cut spending.  There are entire Cabinet-level departments that are not authorized by the Constitution and therefore prohibited by the Tenth Amendment:  Education, Commerce, Environment, and so on.  Wipe them out.  RIF the bureaucrats, let them find honest jobs.

The decision to take up the measure stems from an agreement struck between Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.) in October. Ryan agreed on a vote on the amendment in exchange for conservative support on a procedural budget measure needed for Republicans to move forward on tax reform.

And of course Ryan agreed; it doesn’t cost him anything, as he knows it won’t go anywhere.  I don’t agree about the ratification argument; I think it’s very likely that 38 states would vote to rein in Imperial spending.  But in the current Senate, no way.  It’s not going anywhere.

It’s a fine pass we’ve come to – that such a proposal, requiring the Imperial government to live within its means like all of the citizenry must do, is doomed to failure before a single vote is called.

Animal’s Daily Vegan Nutbar News

On Tuesday last, when the first news of the YouTube shooter hit the interwebs, I suspected a domestic issue or (maybe) an Islamist nutcase.  But I have to admit, I didn’t see this one coming.  Excerpt:

After hours of false reports on the shooting at YouTube’s headquarters earlier today, the truth has finally come out. A 38-year-old vegan activist (seriously) named Nasim Aghdam has been identified as the shooter by authorities.

And:

After reviewing Aghdam’s personal website, it became clear that she was a YouTuber, angry over losing ad revenue and viewership on the platform due to YouTube’s updated policies on monetization in February. She made several posts and videos ranting about being censored by YouTube, and believed her car had been vandalized by so-called “anti-vegan radicals.” Her father, Ismail Aghdam, had contacted San Diego authorities after posts he viewed as “disturbing” led him to believe she might act out on her anger toward YouTube in response to what she believed was a targeted campaign of censorship by the video-sharing site.

So, a left-wing vegan nutcase.  That’s interesting although, with the benefit of hindsight, not completely unexpected.

Back in the late 1990s, when I was researching and writing Misplaced Compassion, one of the things that quickly became apparent was the totalitarian streak among animal rights/vegan activists.  It wasn’t enough that they advocated for their ethically bankrupt viewpoint; they advocated enforcing it by law, a goal which was so far out of their reach as to be laughable – but now, perhaps, we see what a few of them may be capable of.

Yes, I know, most animal rights/vegan loons are harmless.  Most Muslims are peaceful, too.  But totalitarian impulses are what lead people to these sorts of actions.  The vegan YouTube shooter, who obviously places a higher value on the lives of cows than the lives of people, is just the latest example.