Category Archives: News

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

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Justice Ginsburg is having more health issues; if she dies or is forced to resign, David Axelrod is claiming that the next Trump appointee will face a battle that makes the Kavanaugh hearings look like a schoolyard scrap.   Uh huh. Excerpt:

A former Obama adviser set the stage for a potentially nasty confirmation fight in the Senate next year within an hour of the Supreme Court announcing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently completed three weeks of radiation treatment after doctors found a localized cancerous tumor on her pancreas.

“If there is a SCOTUS vacancy next year and @senatemajldr carries through on his extraordinary promise to fill it-despite his own previous precedent in blocking Garland-it will tear this country apart,” David Axelrod said in a tweet Friday afternoon.

He was referring to how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this year that the Senate would consider a presidential nominee to fill a vacancy on the court if one occurred in 2020.

“Oh, we’d fill it,” the Kentucky Republican said at an event in May.

That upset Democrats who remember the role McConnell played in blocking consideration of then-President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. At the time, he defended Republicans’ decision not to hold a confirmation hearing for Garland because it was a presidential election year.

To the paragraph immediately above I can only say this:  Politics is a nasty business, and were positions reversed, I’m abso-damn-lutely certain Chuck Schumer would have done the same thing.  When worn on the other foot, the shoe pinches.

But, yes, should President Trump get another appointment, which he almost certainly will, watch – the long knives will indeed come out.  It won’t matter who he nominates; the Democrats will dig into every possible aspect of the nominee’s background, down to and including his/her kindergarten teacher:  “Judge (Name), I have hear a sworn deposition from Mrs. Karen McGillicuddy, your Goforth Elementary school kindergarten teacer, that you once refused to help clean the chalkboard erasers alongside a student of color.  Now we demand a response to these allegations!”

It’s going to be epic.  And it’s going to be silly.  And, barring some sort of upset in the Senate in November 2020, which doesn’t look likely, Trump will eventually win, and his nominee will be seated on the Court.

Rule Five Red Light Cameras Friday

Our own Aurora and the neighboring city of Denver have experimented with red-light cameras.  I think it’s a terrible idea, and almost certainly unconstitutional.  Here’s an interesting take on the topic.  Excerpt:

Speed and red-light cameras are the bane of many motorists. A modern idea made possible by technology, they have been installed in at least 24 states. Although these cameras are a revenue boon for governments across the nation, their intrusion into daily life is disturbing, and their constitutionality is dubious.

Specifically, use of these cameras could violate the Sixth Amendment. The Confrontation Clause grants criminal defendants the right to be confronted with the witnesses against them. Since it is a camera and not a person that witnessed the offense, such violations generally cannot be considered a criminal offense. The ticket is issued to the owner of the vehicle, not to the person driving it, leaving a lack of certainty as to the identity of the offender.

Therefore, the “ticket” in most places is nothing more than a civil fine, making enforcement and collection difficult. To date, governments have avoided this problem by requiring payment of the fine before motorists can renew their driver’s license or auto registration. Although there generally are appeals procedures, they typically do not give drivers a day in court. In other words, what happened to being innocent until proven guilty?

There are several for-profit companies that install and operate the cameras, some of them foreign-owned. In a typical arrangement, a camera company will contract with a local government to pay the capital cost of installing the cameras in exchange for a share of the revenue generated via fines. In short, governments get a new revenue stream without any operating cost, and the camera companies make a tidy profit.

Stop right there.  Take a look at that last sentence.  Here, read it again:

In short, governments get a new revenue stream without any operating cost, and the camera companies make a tidy profit.

Did you get that?

In short, governments get a new revenue stream without any operating cost, and the camera companies make a tidy profit.

Now there, True Believers, you have the key to the whole thing.  These red light cameras, which almost certainly violate the Sixth Amendment – how can you confront your accuser when the accuser is a camera? – aren’t about traffic safety.  They are all about generating revenue for city governments.

Most of the citations issues are civil fines, meaning you have no recourse in the courts.  And since these are based on photos of moving vehicles and are focused on the plates, the better to ID the owner, they are issued to the owner of the vehicle.  So if you loan your car to a friend, or let your teenager drive, you are fiscally liable for a minor infraction you didn’t commit.

Crap like this lessens respect for the law.  It’s capricious, lacks even a pretense of due process, and is clearly and transparently a revenue-generating tool for city governments.

Last year our own Aurora put the issue on the ballot.  The residents of our town, yr. obdt. among them, voted to get rid of the cameras.  That’s a step in the right direction.  Let’s hope more municipalities follow suit.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

This time, Florida Man isn’t the one who comes off looking like an asshole.  Excerpt:

Just last week, a man in Florida had his firearms confiscated simply because he had the same name as a criminal. That’s right. A man was stripped of his Second Amendment right…because the police failed to differentiate a law-abiding citizen with a thug.

According to Ammoland, Jonathan Carpenter received a certified letter from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services saying his concealed handgun permit had been suspended for “acts of domestic violence or acts of repeat violations.”

Carpenter was forced to go to the Osceola County clerk’s office to have a form filled out stating he wasn’t the person law enforcement was looking for. At that point, the clerk instructed Carpenter to speak with the sheriff’s office.

From Ammoland:

The Sheriff’s office supplied Carpenter with a copy of the injunction. In the statement, the plaintiff stated that she rented a room out to a “Jonathan Edward Carpenter” and his girlfriend. She alleged that this Carpenter was a drug dealer who broke her furniture and sold her belongings without her permission. He had a gun, and she feared for her life. She was not sure if the firearm was legal or not.

Carpenter had never met the woman in question and never lived at the address listed in the restraining order. Moreover, other than being white, he looked nothing like the man the terrorized the woman.

The man in question is 5’8. Carpenter is 5’11. The alleged drug dealer is 110lbs. Carpenter is over 200. The man has black hair. Carpenter is completely bald. Last but not least, the man in question is covered in tattoos, and Carpenter only has a few.

Even though it was evident they had the wrong man, Carpenter was forced to hand over his firearms. There was no hearing or any kind of court proceeding. 

This is so stupidly unconstitutional it’s not even funny.  Here’s the Fifth Amendment:

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Jonathan Carpenter was deprived of his property without due process.  No judge was involved.  No court order was filed.  Carpenter had no opportunity to confront his accuser.  The accuser wasn’t even talking about him, just some asshole who happened to have the same name.

Red Flag laws are the subject of much discussion right now.  Proponents of those laws – in both parties – assure us that the law-abiding citizen has nothing to worry about; that due process will always apply; that nobody’s property will be capriciously confiscated.

Well, tell that to Jon Carpenter.  He has a long road, a great deal of expense, and a nebulously defined path ahead to get back his own damn property that the government had no business taking in the first place.

And if he had refused to comply, the Osceola County authorities would have flung him into a cell.

If that’s not a horrendous injustice, I don’t know what is.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Here are a few tidbits from the last 24 hours news-crawl to start off your week:

From my own Iowa:  Trump-supporting former Democrat urges a return to civility in America.  Yeah, good luck with that.

The Southern Poverty Law Center – a hate-based scam.  That rates a giant “no shit.”

In Portland, AntiProFa fascists were kicking up their heels again over the weekend.  Several assaults resulted.  These masked cowards keep thinking they can go on with this kind of behavior; sooner or later regular citizens are going to have had enough, and the ProFa assholes aren’t going to enjoy the result.

Roger Simon points out that the news compilation site RealClearPolitics has replaced the New York Times as the news source of record.  Representatives of the former Gray Lady, now fish-wrapper, were unavailable for comment.

I’m really digging Lindsay Graham 2.0.  The other day he schooled a bunch of reporters nitwits as to why he owns an AR-15, and why he will continue to do so.

In Wales, they’re getting serious about preventing sex in public toilets.  I’m not sure what to think about this.  The Welsh seem skeptical, which may be add fuel to the Welsh independence movement.

By the way, there really is a Welsh independence movement.  Who knew?

In New Jersey, the law apparently is THOU SHALT NOT COOK FOOD FOR PEOPLE IN RETURN FOR MONEY.  Because we can’t just have people, you know, freely providing a service to other people in return for compensation.

Robert Stacy McCain points out that kooks are gonna kook.

Our good friend Jillian Becker has a great piece on the ongoing revelations about Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I’s email servers.

Bill Maher finds an acorn.  The Nut Squad calls for a boycott.  They really are becoming tiresome.

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

Rule Five Organ Donor Friday

Ever wondered about ways to solve the shortage of donor organs for folks needing transplants?  Well, John Stossel may have an idea on how to help, at least in some cases.  Excerpt:

I just clicked the box on the government form that asks if, once I die, I’m willing to donate my organs to someone who needs them.

Why not? Lots of people need kidneys, livers, etc. When I’m dead, I sure won’t need mine.

Still, there are not enough donors. So, more than 100,000 Americans are on a waiting list for kidneys. Taking care of them is so expensive, it consumes almost 3% of the federal budget!

So why not allow Americans to sell an organ?

People already legally sell blood, plasma, sperm, eggs and bone marrow. Why not a kidney? People have two. We can live a full life with just one.

If the U.S. allowed people to sell, the waiting list for kidneys would soon disappear.

“Poor people are going to be hurt,” replies philosophy professor Samuel Kerstein in my latest video. Kerstein advised the World Health Organization, which supports the near universal laws that ban selling organs.

“Body parts to be put into Americans will come from poor countries,” warns Kerstein. “I don’t want to see poor people in Pakistan having their lives truncated.”

What arrogance.

People have free will. Poor people are just as capable of deciding what’s best for them as rich people. Who are you, I asked Kerstein, to tell people they may not?

“We are people who care about people who are different from us,” he replied, “and poorer than we are. That’s why we care.”

These are “vacuous moralisms,” replies Lloyd Cohen, an attorney who’s long argued against the ban on organ-selling.

Vacuous is exactly the right term.

The fact is, you can sell an organ right now.  Let’s say you’re approached by someone who desperately needs a kidney – somehow they have become aware that you are a compatible donor.  Let’s say that this is a fabulously rich man or woman, and they make you a quiet offer – “…just between us, you understand.  I’ll put $1.5 million in an escrow account in your name, to be released to you after completion of the surgery.”

That’s technically against the law.  But who is going to report this crime?  The person whose life was saved, or the person who is now a mill and a half richer?

There’s no reason this should be illegal.  It’s a financial transaction between capable, consenting adults, both of whom have agreed to the terms of the transaction.

“But Animal,” you might ask, “won’t this sort of thing promote organ trafficking?”

“Organ trafficking happens now,” I’d reply, “and legalizing the process should actually reduce that by providing a supply of kidneys at less (or at least comparable) cost, with much less risk.”

Stossel has this one right.  It’s not the role of government to interfere in a private business arrangement between competent, consenting adults.

Animal’s Daily Meat Tax News

Fuck off, slavers!

Some idiots are thinking that a sin tax on red meat might be a good idea.  My reply:  Fuck off, slavers.  Excerpt:

The idea is still in its infancy and faces a lot of opposition from farming groups, but it’s emerging as a trend in Western Europe, said the research group. If taxes gain traction, it could encourage more people to switch to poultry or plant-based protein and help drive the popularity of meat substitutes.

“The global rise of sugar taxes makes it easy to envisage a similar wave of regulatory measures targeting the meat industry,” Fitch Solutions said. However, “it is highly unlikely that a tax would be implemented anytime soon in the United States or Brazil.”

In Germany, some politicians have proposed raising the sales tax on meat products to fund better livestock living conditions. A poll for the Funke media group showed a majority of Germans, or 56.4 percent, backed the measure, with more than a third calling it “very positive” and some 82 percent of voters for the environmentalist Greens in favor. Similar proposals have been introduced in Denmark and Sweden since 2016, Fitch Solutions said.

Goldsmiths, University of London, announced on Monday that it’ll stop selling beef on campus as part of a push to combat climate change. The decision was met with opposition from the U.K.’s National Farmers Union, which said it was “overly simplistic’’ to single out one food product as a response to global warming.

Not only is this a stupid idea – the very concept of a sin tax is utterly antithetical to a free society.  The very concept of liberty – actual, honest individual liberty – requires that free citizens live free of coercion, whether the coercion comes from a street-corner thug or government.

And let’s be honest, that’s what sin taxes are – coercion.  The government is using their power to initiate the use of force to change people’s behavior.  The only time government has the legitimate right to do that is to prevent one person from harming another physically or financially; to prevent the use of force or fraud by one citizen on another.

The purpose of taxation is to raise what funds various levels of government needs to carry out the (few) legitimate roles of government; namely to take care of a few distributed interests, like national defense, treating with other nations, and establishing currency – that can best be done at that level.

Not to change behavior.  Not to reward or punish.

Mind  you, the idiocy proposed in the linked article is in Europe.  But the United States has long had a wealth (hah) of sin taxes, and still does; only this week Princess Spreading Bull Warren proposed a sin tax on guns.

A sin tax on red meat?  There are certainly enough nitwits here that would find it a good idea.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Yesterday was a doozy.

After seeing to some family business and visiting our daughter in Iowa, Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. repaired Monday evening to Des Moines, where we had an early flight the next morning – yesterday.  We arose at 4AM and went from our one-night hotel room to the airport, there to board our plane on time.

And then, in that plane, we sat on the tarmac for an hour waiting for some thick fog to clear so we could take off on the VFR-only runway, the “instruments” runway being closed.  (Who knew that was a thing?)  So that made us an hour late getting into our connecting airport, Chicago/O’Hare, one of the worst airports in the nation.  And, sure as hell, we were rebooked on the next flight, with crappier seats.

And then that flight was delayed two hours due to weather screwing up air traffic on the Eastern Seaboard.  Instead of getting back to our temporary New Jersey lodgings at a little after noon, as expected, we got here about five o’clock.

Well, these things happen.  But because of that, I have no substantive news post today.  So instead, have a few random tidbits this morning:

Chris Cuomo Is An Asshole.

Don Lemon Is An Asshole.

Bernie Sanders Is An Asshole.

China Is A Nation Run By Assholes.

Joe Biden Is An Asshole.

Congress Is A Great Big Bag of Assholes.

It’s Assholes All The Way Down.

I guess the theme for today is “people in so-called ‘public service’ are generally assholes.”  But then, honestly, we knew that already, didn’t we?

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

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Robert Stacy McCain has some interesting thoughts on the President’s responses to demands for a “conversation” on guns.  Excerpt:

I admit to some mild anxiety over Trump going wobbly regarding guns. Then I read Surber:

President Trump is playing Democrats again. They want to make gun control an issue. He said, OK, and took control of the gun control debate. The debate will be on his terms and in his language. That is power positioning.

The mopes at the Post and Matt Drudge thought they could divide President Trump from his supporters with the report on the NRA warning the president on guns.

I knew in an instant what was happening. I knew Democrats would lose because President Trump never engages the enemy without first winning the battle. I also knew the president, a busy man, had outsourced the terms of the Democrat surrender to the NRA.

Whatever deal is made will have the NRA’s approval.

I knew because of the First Squeal Rule. Whenever decisions are made privately, the loser is the one who goes public first in an effort to save face.I see a lot of musing on how President Trump is so adept at playing 3-D chess with his political opponents, who are legion.  But I don’t think it’s 3-D chess as much as the South Park version of roshambo; they kick him square in the nuts, he kicks them back square in the nuts twice as hard.

It’s a curious thing, though; one wonders if the quoted Surber is really correct.  The Overton Window has shifted quite a bit; President Trump is, politically, a 1980’s moderate Democrat on many policy issues.  As a New Yorker he doesn’t really have a personal investment in the Second Amendment.  He talks strongly on protecting our Second Amendment and has so far been strong on the subject, but I’m wondering how strong he’ll stick of Congressional Republicans start going wobbly.

The NRA has screwed its courage to the sticking-point on this issue.  But will the President?  That remains to be seen.

Animal’s Daily Indentured Servitude News

And then there’s this asshole.  Excerpt:

A presidential candidate hopes to break out from the back of the pack and into America’s hearts by promising to force America’s high school graduates to spend a year working for the government, whether they want to or not.

John Delaney has made it into the Democratic Primary debates this week, despite polling between 0 and 1 percent recently and looking and sounding like a character invented by Will Ferrell. Over the weekend he attempted to grab some attention by rolling out a plan for mandatory national service:

Under his plan, he explains on his site, “all Americans would be required to serve their country for at least one year, with an option to serve for two. This requirement would apply to everyone upon turning 18, no exceptions.”

To which I can only reply, “fuck off, slaver.”

Seriously, what the hell is this moron thinking?  In what insane universe is he living in to think this is a good idea?  It’s bad enough that our kids are already sentenced to twelve years in our government-run public schools, now shit-for-brains Delaney wants them to labor for the Imperial government for two more years?  I’d ask why, but the answer would almost certainly be “because fuck you, that’s why.”

And what “sense of shared destiny” is he talking about, exactly?  A shared destiny that involves government-mandated indentured servitude?

If that’s Delaney’s idea of shared destiny, I’ll have no damned part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

And to think, we just had lunch there last Saturday.  Now the ACLU is suing the Colorado mountain town of Fraser over a homeowner’s anti-Trump signs.  Excerpt:

A home in the Town of Fraser has become the center of attention after the owners were asked by the town to take their anti-Trump signs down because they didn’t comply with the code.

The ACLU has since gotten involved and says the town violated the First Amendment rights of the owner.

ACLU director Mark Silverstein says his clients had no problems for more than a year. That was until the town manager sent them an letter asking them to remove the signs.

“After the election of 2016 our clients began putting signs in their yard that expressed their displeasure with President Trump, expressed their views about the need to do something about global warming,” Silverstein said.

Additionally, he said his clients went back to the town manager after they were asked to take the signs down and showed them renderings of others they would like to hang. Still, they were denied.

“They met with the town manager one last time and the client said, “Look, these are works of art, these are exempt from the sign code and the town manager said, ‘No, those would just attract more attention,'” said Silverstein.

The town says they are only enforcing the code.

Here’s what the town code states:

Although the town manager chose to not go on camera, he provided letters that were sent to the owner.

The first one says the owner can only have one yard sign not exceeding 6 square feet.

In a subsequent letter, the town manager signed off on letting the owner keep one of the Trump signs that still hangs on the shed.

Now, the libertarian in me wants to defend these folks right to freedom of expression, even if I disagree with their opinions.  The First Amendment overrides any political disagreement.

There’s a hedge, though:  There seems to be a city code involved, and I can understand how the town of Fraser would want to enforce that; and I’m OK with that as long as the code has been a) adequately communicated to the homeowners and 2) completely, impartially and dispassionately enforced on all homeowners, regardless of political opinions or, indeed, any other opinions.

Frankly I’d be pretty annoyed with neighbors who feel the need to broadcast their political opinions like this, regardless of who/what they support.  It’s cheap and tawdry.  The Fraser town manager seems to be trying to keep the town presentable.  That’s part of his job.

Here’s my big question:  Would the ACLU have gotten involved if the town of Fraser was contending with a staunch Trump supporter who was displaying similar signs?  I suspect not.