Category Archives: News

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

Animal’s Daily NoRK Gulag News

Thanks as always to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

Apparently North Korean athletes should fear a bad performance – not fear of embarrassment, but actual fear for their lives.  Excerpt:

Having failed to land a single medal in South Korea so far, its Winter Olympic team could suffer the same fate as previous underperforming athletes – imprisonment in one of the country’s sick gulags.

The most infamous case is that of the North Korean football team which made history for reaching the second round of the 1966 World Cup.

Former leader Kim Il-Sung is widely believed to have ordered them to be arrested after they lost to 5-3 Portugal days after they were seen drinking with local women in public.

Instead of going home to a proud welcome, the are reported to have been sent to one of the reclusive nation’s most notorious gulags.

North Korean defector Kang Chol-Hwan claims he met some of the team while they were being held in Yodok prison, or Camp 15, usually reserved for political prisoners.

In his tell-all book The Aquariums of Pyongyang, he asserts that footballer Pak Seung-Zin became infamous for his ability to endure torture.

Another inmate, dubbed “The Cockroach” after gobbling any insects he could find to fight off hunger pains, would often be thrown into a solitary chamber known as the “Sweatbox”.

While they are the best known case of the country’s harsh attitude towards “failure”, they are far from the only ones.

Dennis Rodman has been strangely quiet on the issue.

One wonders why the NoRKs were even allowed to participate in the Olympics.  I suppose it was a show of how the Korean peninsula may be re-united one day.  One might also wonder why none of the athletes have (so far) made any attempt to defect to the South, but then, consider what it likely to happen to their families were they to do so.

This is the problem with autocratic regimes like North Korea, especially when one is led by a stunted little gargoyle with bad hair from a long line of stunted little gargoyles with bad hair.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and Little Kim was pretty damned corrupt when his father was still alive.  The Olympics just being one more example that, in North Korea, you piss off the dictator at your mortal peril.

What is mildly amazing is that none of this punk’s own people have taken him out yet.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

It seems some rules for our nation’s military are changing.  the new rule is, if you aren’t deployable, you aren’t serving.  Excerpt:

New rules requiring members of the military to be able to deploy or get out were put in place to ensure fairness in deployment rates, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said.

“You’re either deployable, or you need to find something else to do. I’m not going have some people deploying constantly and then other people, who seem to not pay that price, in the U.S. military,” Mattis told reporters Feb. 17 in his first comments on the issue since the new policy was formally introduced.

“If you can’t go overseas [and] carry a combat load, then obviously someone else has got to go. I want this spread fairly and expertly across the force.”

Under new rules first reported on by Military Times, military members who have been non-deployable for the past 12 months or more will be separated from the military.

Approximately 11 percent, or 235,000, of the 2.1 million personnel serving on active duty, in the reserves or National Guard are currently non-deployable, Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, the senior enlisted adviser to Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford, told Military Times earlier this month.

Of that total non-deployable force, Troxell said, about 99,000 are on that list for administrative reasons, such as not having all their immunizations or their required dental exams. About 20,000 are not deployable due to pregnancy, and 116,000 are not deployable due to either short- or long-term injuries.

Maybe the Israel Defense Force has something going for it.

Plenty of service members have been non-deployable at one time or another, for injuries (not necessarily combat – plenty of folks have been hurt in training), pregnancy, family issues and so forth.  But this policy is aimed at the “permanent profile” folks.  If you’ve served, you know the type.

The military is not a jobs program.  It is an organization that is essential to the nation, one of the few legitimate functions of the Imperial government in concordance with the Constitution, and it has a primary purpose:  To kill people and break things.  Anything that interferes with that mission is bad.  It’s bad for the mission, bad for the people who have to pick up the burden of the service members who can’t, and bad for the country.

Once again General Mattis has the right idea.  Of all of President Trump’s appointments, James Mattis and Neal Gorsuch are probably the best.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

National treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson weighs in on embarrassing Republicans.  Excerpt:

Free-marketers are right that tax cuts stimulate economic growth that in turn lead to expanding production and eventually more federal tax revenue.

But the problem traditionally has been that to obtain tax reductions, Republicans also have had to sign on reluctantly to larger expenditures. Or, worse, they willingly believed they could spend more, simply because more money poured into the federal treasuries.

George W. Bush doubled the national debt. After running against Bush profligacy (remember the Chinese credit card trope), Barack Obama doubled it again by doubling Bush’s levels of borrowing. Conservatives blasted Obama for his even greater lack of thrift. The Tea Party movement emerged in reaction to reckless expenditures and borrowing to fund Obamacare.

Now Donald Trump is caught in the same old matrix. His deregulation, tax cuts, and energy expansion will likely increase federal revenue. But his various budget concessions and his own proposed increases in defense spending and infrastructure would likely bleed the budget at a far greater rate than the growing federal revenue.

Once again, new spending will discredit conservative vows of budget prudence and supply-side economics. (Budget-wise, what good does it do to expand the economy if the political price is acquiescence to ever greater and costlier government?)
Trump is blasted for not filling federal positions and for his threadbare staff. In reality, he probably gains support for the mere appearance of parsimony. He should press that advantage by enacting a government hiring freeze and a pay-as-you-go philosophy, even if at first it is only symbolic.

If Trump wants to build the wall and “make Mexico pay for it,” why not simply slap a 10 percent tax on the $50 billion in remittances that flow annually to Mexico and Latin America, largely from illegal aliens and foreign nationals? In addition, the government could help fund the wall with fees and fines from DACA qualifiers who seek green cards.

President Bush (43) was only a mediocre President at best, but his rhetorical blindness is rather staggering, as Dr. Hanson points out:

While in Dubai, Bush criticized the Trump Administration’s lack of progress on immigration reform. Then he weirdly noted, “Americans don’t want to pick cotton at 105 degrees, but there are people who want to put food on their family’s tables and are willing to do that.”

Where to start when Republican elites confirm their own stereotypes?

Doing work American’s won’t do?

(I’m sternly resisting the urge to type “Now, wait just a cotton pickin’ minute” here.)  Picking cotton?  Seriously?  For one thing, cotton picking has been automated for decades.  As Dr. Hanson also points out, many other types of agricultural work, even the harvesting of fragile crops like peaches and grapes, is likewise becoming automated.  So President Bush’s argument is not only ill-advised and rather condescending, it’s factually incorrect.

They don’t call the GOP the Stupid Party for nothing, and the recent Senate-passed budget is another example; increasingly, both parties seem to only be concerned about spending and debt when the other party is in power.  As a staunch libertarian, I generally vote GOP because 1) I live in a swing state, and a protest vote for a Libertarian party candidate may have the outcome I desire least; b) the Libertarian Party seems to have a penchant for running knuckleheads for office (“What’s a Leppo?”) and 3) the GOP generally at least comes close to what I want to see in matters such as the 2nd Amendment, trade and tax/fiscal policy.

But they make it difficult when their supposed “senior statesmen” spout off in foreign countries.  What the hell ever happened to politics ending at the border, anyway?

Animal’s Daily Blue Flight News

File this under “big surprise:”  People who advocate for statist policies increasingly flee the places where their preferred statist policies are in place.  Excerpt:

According to United Van Lines, the top 10 states people are leaving include the blue states Wisconsin, Ohio, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. Only three red states made the list; Kentucky, Utah, and Kansas.

The top 10 states people are moving to include the red states Idaho, South Dakota, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Nevada and Colorado (the last two are purplish states). Only three solidly blue states made the list, Vermont, Oregon and Washington. In 2017, Vermont slipped, with its inbound and outbound moving becoming about equal. Notably, all three of those states used to be much more moderate, only turning blue within the past 25 years or so. Longtime residents in Washington and Oregon regularly rant about Californians taking over their states and turning them blue. People in Vermont complain about Democrats from Massachusetts and New York moving into their state. The bluer those three states become, the fewer people will move there as we’re already seeing with Vermont.

Last week, CBS in San Francisco reported that the number of people leaving the Bay Area reached its highest level in more than a decade. Topping the list of reasons for moving was the high cost of housing. Democrats are more reluctant than Republicans to allow permits for homebuilding, and pile on regulations.

A comment on the linked article expressed the hope that the people leaving those blue states would contemplate why they left and vote accordingly on their arrivals in their new residences.  While that may happen in some cases – California has made life pretty unhappy for anyone to the right of Leon Trotsky, and part of that state’s polarization is due to the departure of right-of-center types – the opposite is more often the case.

I can point to my own Colorado as an example.  Having lived in Colorado for almost thirty years, I can attest to the transformation of that state from a right-of-center state with some strong libertarian influences to a purple state today.  And that purple is increasingly turning blueish; the state went for Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I in 2012, even as many purple states (Michigan and Wisconsin, among others) answered to President Trump’s populist message.

When I first moved to Colorado, I figured I’d probably stay there for the rest of my life.  That was before I saw Alaska.  Hopefully The Last Frontier will stay clear of such nonsense; urban illiberals that try a move there generally don’t seem to last through their cheechako year.  Alaska may remain one of the few good places left.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Moving right along:  Sometimes, you know, the difference between the political Left and the political Right really starts to blur.  Here is one such incidence, in which PJMedia’s Michael Walsh calls for the breakup of the Big Four tech companies by the force of the Imperial government, because, reasons.  Excerpt:

Monopolies themselves aren’t always illegal, or even undesirable. Natural monopolies exist where it makes sense to have one firm achieve the requisite scale to invest and offer services at a reasonable price. But the tradeoff is heavy regulation. Florida Power & Light serves ten million people; its parent company, NextEra Energy, has a market cap of $72 billion. However, pricing and service standards are regulated by people who are fiduciaries for the public.

The Four, by contrast, have managed to preserve their monopoly-like powers without heavy regulation. I describe their power as “monopoly-like,” since, with the possible exception of Apple, they have not used their power to do the one thing that most economists would describe as the whole point of assembling a monopoly, which is to raise prices for consumers.

Nevertheless, the Four’s exploitation of our knee-jerk antipathy to big government has been so effective that it’s led most of us to forget that competition—no less than private property, wage labor, voluntary exchange, and a price system—is one of the indispensable cylinders of the capitalist engine. Their massive size and unchecked power have throttled competitive markets and kept the economy from doing its job—namely, to promote a vibrant middle class.

Not all of us, Mr. Walsh, have a “knee-jerk antipathy towards big government.”  Some of us have a thoughtful, carefully-considered antipathy towards big government, and part and parcel of that antipathy is due to people like you flipping over to the side of more Imperial intrusion at any perceived “wrong” on the part of private enterprise.

If you don’t like Amazon, don’t use it.  If you don’t like iPhones, don’t buy one.  If you don’t like Google, use another search engine.  If you don’t like Microsoft, set up a computer on Linux.  There are alternatives to all of these things that Mr. Walsh decries as the “Big Four,” and what’s more, more will arise.  Nobody had heard of Microsoft before about 1984, and in another thirty years, Microsoft may well have been supplanted by some other software company with products that appeal to more people – you know, in the marketplace.

In the meantime, Mr. Walsh would be well advised, if he wants to continue to claim to advocate for liberty and free markets, to stop calling for Imperial power to shut down private enterprises.  It’s not the role of government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace – it is the place of consumers.  Hands off my free market!

Animal’s Bonus SHTF Memo News

Out on a limb.

I was going to wait until next week to absorb all this memo business and post some thoughts, but my ‘tween-projects hiatus has gifted me with more free time than normal, so what the hell.

First, some links; here is what Drudge offers this morning:

DISGRACE….
Trump attacks integrity of FBI and Justice Dept…
‘Politicized’ probe in favor of Dems…
‘Lot of people should be ashamed’…
MEMO RELEASED…
Spy Warrant Relied On Dossier…
DETAILS, DETAILS…
NUNES SPEAKS…
SECOND MEMO FORESHADOWED…
SESSIONS: ‘NO DEPARTMENT IS PERFECT’…
COMEY MOCKS: THAT’S IT?
CNN BLITZER: RUSSIA WINS…
PELOSI: ‘CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS’…

Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s take on it, and American Greatness, and our friends over at Maggie’s FarmPirate’s Cove has weighed in, as has The Other McCain.  Over at PJMedia, Roger Simon also has some sharp words on the topic.

Now, my thoughts:

This, True Believers, is coming out to have been a cluster-fuck of the first magnitude on the part of the Clinton campaign, the DNC and elements in the FBI.  The plan seems to have been “if you can’t uncover evidence, make some up.”  As Robert Stacy McCain points out:  “In the case of the make-believe “Russian collusion,” it appears that practically everybody involved in trying to get the Trump campaign tangled up in this embarrassing mess was, in one way or another, working for FusionGPS, which was being bankrolled by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.”

Heads should roll over this.  Heads probably won’t roll over this, sadly; a few minor functionaries will be the designated fall-takers, and some fines and maybe some jail time will be meted out.  But while common sense may tell us that it’s impossible to believe that the highest levels in the Clinton campaign and the Obama Justice Department didn’t know what was going on (clandestine taxiway meetings, anyone?) it’s widely known that Her Imperial Majesty and the former President Obama and his higher-level staff are untouchable.

Why?  Because equal treatment under the law is a dead letter in our nation, and has been for some time.  The Dowager Empress and her favored minions will skate.  The scandal will blow over, and most of the Imperial apparatus will continue with business as usual.

Still:  Let us watch closely over the next few weeks.  This thing isn’t over yet, and this is an occasion where I’d love to be proven wrong.

Rule Five Horse Squeeze Friday

A few days back, noted author and our good friend Jillian Becker had this piece over at her blog The Atheist Conservative.  Please do go read the entire article, but there is one specific quote I want to discuss here, that quote being from (formerly) radical leftist professor Bret Weinstein:

I explained in numerous interviews and essays, I was not a Trump supporter; I was never a right-winger, or an alt-right-winger; I was never a conservative of any variety. I wasn’t even a classical John Stuart Mill liberal.

In fact, for several years, I had identified as a left or libertarian communist. My politics were to the left (and considerably critical of the authoritarianism) of Bolshevism!  (Emphasis added by me.)

Now, take a look at that bolded portion.  Digest that for a moment.

Ready?  Now, I’ll tell you what I think of that:  It’s pure, unadulterated horseshit.  You can not say again not be a libertarian communist, any more than you can be a feathered fish.  The two are utterly incompatible.  Communism is a statist system, with government in control of the entire production system; in a pure communist state there is no enterprise, no entrepreneurship, no private property, no liberty.   My response to the original blog post was this:

I keep seeing this, “libertarian socialist” and similar horse squeeze being bandied about by idiots. The two are contradictory; you can not be a “libertarian communist” or a “libertarian socialist” any more than you can turn right and left at the same instant.

Liberty is antithetical to totalitarian systems like communism or socialism. Rectenwald is, in this sentence, talking out of his ass.

As Rand pointed out, contradictions in assertions of fact do not exist. One of the contradicting premises is always false; in this case, it is his claim to be libertarian.

Now, here’s the good news, and it’s news that gives me a little more hope for my fellow man; Dr. Weinstein responded himself to Ms. Becker’s commentary:

I am no longer a communist, nor a leftist of any stripe, believe me. I consider myself a classical John Stuart Mill liberal now, and thus, by contemporary standards, a conservative.

A John Stuart Mill liberal, or “classical liberal,” is closer to a libertarian than a conservative as the term is used today.  But that’s as may be; to Dr. Weinstein all I can say is, sir, welcome!  Welcome to the cause of liberty.  Please do all you can to spread that cause throughout academia, because as I am sure you know, that vocation needs all the exposure to the cause of liberty that we can send it.

What would be interesting to know is the story behind this conversion to the side of freedom.  Any thinking person can look at the history of socialist and communist governments:  The enduring misery that was the Soviet Union, the crash-and-burn economy of Venezuela, the brutal oppression of dissenters in communist/socialist nations from Cuba to Red China.  Did Dr. Weinstein read this history and apply his own capacity for reason to the observations of fact?  Did he stop to contemplate the prosperity enjoyed citizens of nations with free-market economies?

Whatever the reason, his conversion is a good thing.  Let’s hope for more like him.

Animal’s Daily There They Go Again News

Thanks again to The Other McCain for the Rule Five link!

Moving on:  Go on, tell me you’re surprised.


One wonders (as suggested by one of my fellow Glibertarians) if these boneheads think they will be getting some sort of alimony settlement in this “divorce.”   They won’t.  Here’s a hint to the CalExit folks:  Go talk to South Carolina and see how well secession will work for them.  Not only will Californey not get a settlement, in any fair break-up they would be required to pay the Imperial government come kind of compensation for not only the various military bases but also all of the other Imperial lands and installations in the state.

Granted these days there’s no Lincoln who will send the Union Army into California to compel their return; President Trump may well grin and wave good-bye.  Nor is there a General Billy Sherman waiting to “make California howl,” and maybe burn a few of their major cities.

Having just spent a year in loony California, watching the once and former Golden State frantically pursuing Venezuelean economic policies, I’m inclined to grin and wave good-bye myself.

Animal’s Daily Imperial Closures News

We are back at the Casa de Animal for a while, having spent a day in Las Vegas and driven across northern Arizona and southwest Colorado.  We saw such landmarks and historic sites as the Mojave, Flagstaff, the Four Corners, Wolf Creek Pass, the San Juan and Arkansas valleys and the famous South Park.

While that was going on, the Imperial government was shut down for… well, a few hours.  Did you miss it?  Neither did John Stossel.  Excerpt:

One day, one of these shutdowns should be permanent. We would still have far more government than the Founding Fathers envisioned.

That’s because even during so-called shutdowns, a third of federal employees — nearly a million people — remain on the job, declared “essential” government workers. Military pay continues, too, although political commentators, eager to make a shutdown sound scarier, repeatedly claimed that military families were being cut off.

Here’s a list of functions that kept going during the “shutdown”:

  • Law enforcement.
  • Border Patrol.
  • The TSA.
  • Air traffic controllers.
  • The CDC.
  • Amtrak.
  • Power grid maintenance.
  • Social Security checks.
  • Medicare checks.
  • Medicaid.
  • Food stamps.
  • Veterans hospitals.
  • The U.S. Post Office.
  • U.S. Treasury debt auctions.
  • Federal courts.
  • The EPA.

Do we need more government than that? Do we even need that much?

If you love the FDA, the Agriculture Department or government websites, you might be frustrated, but the private sector (Underwriters Laboratories? Consumer Reports?) would do drug testing faster; much of what the Agriculture Department does is harmful; and private websites update information faster than government websites.

And don’t forget there are still 50 state governments, plus thousands of local governments. We’re buried in governments.

It’s been pointed out before and will be again, but one of the things we heard about this shutdown-that-wasn’t-a-shutdown, as with others before it, was that “non-essential” government employees would be furloughed.  And, as has been asked repeatedly, if these employees are non-essential, why the bloody hell are we paying them?

As George Washington pointed out, government is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.  It should be – nay, must be – tightly constricted.  A part of that constriction must be in place in order to avoid wasting taxpayer’s money.  Nobody reasonable can look today at the Imperial Colossus and see anything but rampant, runaway waste.

Rule Five Dynasties Ending Friday

This is a week or so old, but I stumbled across it last night and felt it worth presenting; here is national treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson on the end of the Clinton dynasty.  Excerpt:

The Hillary/Bill fortune — generated by pay-for-play influence peddling on the proposition that Bill would return to the White House under Hillary’s aegis and reward friends while punishing enemies — hit a reported $150 million some time ago, a fortune built not on farming, mining, insurance, finance, high-tech, or manufacturing, but on skimming off money. The Clintons are simply grifters whose insider access to government gave them the power to make rich people richer.

Long gone was the Scrooge-like need to write off used underwear as charitable tax deductions or to play 4-trillion-to-one odds in rigging a $100,000 cattle-futures profit on a $1,000 “investment,” or Hillary’s decade-and-a-half as a corporate lawyer masquerading as a children’s advocate. How pathetic the minor league Whitewater cons must seem now to the multimillionaire Clintons — such a tawdry ancient example of amateurish shakedowns when compared with the sophistication of real profiteering through the humanitarian-sounding, high-brow, corrupt Clinton Foundation.

So the Clintons finally got their millions and what such millions can ensure for their separate lifestyles. They have at last beautiful gated estates, tasteful and secluded from hoi polloi, light years away from Arkansas and the Rose Law Firm. Progressive Chelsea married a multimillionaire hedge-fund operator whose father served five years in federal prison for bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Her parents’ profiteering can allow Chelsea to announce, perhaps even sincerely, that she is not interested in money. Why should she be, given her own reported $15 million net worth from maternal spin-off favors? She lives in a $10 million Manhattan residence, so her parents had no motivation to get more in order to “provide” for their offspring. Instead, was bringing Chelsea down to Bill and Hillary’s level as a Foundation fixer a way to leave her a post mortem primer on how to get even richer?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  In the 2016 election of Donald Trump, one thing is certain:  The nation dodged a huge bullet.  More like a 155mm artillery shell, in fact.  That bullet was Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, the most deeply and fundamentally corrupt political figure since Huey Long.  Maybe since Caligula.

Compare the Clinton family fortune with that of what the political Left would have us believe are the arch-demons of the national scene, the Koch brothers.  The Koch brothers made their fortune the traditional way; by producing and selling products and services that add value to the lives and businesses of those who purchase them.

The Clintons, on the other hand, made theirs through graft.  Bill’s half-million dollar speaking fees, for example; not to mention the massive donations to the Clinton Foundation by foreign nationals who then were granted access to the State Department whilst Her Imperial Highness was SecState.

And let’s not forget the appalling disregard Her Imperial Majesty showed for even the most elementary security measures with classified information while she was SecState.  And let’s be honest, at least amongst ourselves; she was only in that role because President Obama was savvy enough to adhere to the old truism “keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer.”

Yes, Dr. Hanson, the Clinton political machine may finally be grinding to a halt.  The nation is safer and more prosperous because of it.  For that, more than any other single thing, we owe a debt to President Trump.