Category Archives: Pet Peeves

Animal’s Daily Climate Hypocrite News

I can’t abide hypocrites.

And national treasure  Ann Althouse has found a doozy.  Excerpt:

This is one of my longtime issues — the hypocrisy of those who purport to care deeply about carbon footprints yet enthusiastically imprint their feet all over the world and encourage (and even pressure) others to do the same.

I like to see how the NYT deals with this subject — the NYT, with all its concern-mongering about climate change and all its travel articles and ads and its need to serve the emotions and vanities of its readers. What are we having today? A little shame, spiced with humorous self-deprecation, along with the usual self-esteem boosting about our progressivism and our love of the good life?

For this article, the author is by Andy Newman. Let’s read:

[T]hese are morally bewildering times. Something that seemed like pure escape and adventure has become double-edged, harmful, the epitome of selfish consumption. Going someplace far away, we now know, is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change. One seat on a flight from New York to Los Angeles effectively adds months worth of human-generated carbon emissions to the atmosphere. And yet we fly more and more….

What’s morally bewildering? If you believe what the consensus of climate scientists and the proponents of the Green New Deal are telling us, you should never travel. Everything else is morally wrong. If you are bewildered, you’re just bewildered about whether you — as opposed to those other people — want to center your life on morality.

But here’s the giggle line:

How does Newman bring this thing in for a landing? He’s still taking his family to Greece and Paris this summer. His reasoning is pathetically emotional: “We’re going because last year we canceled vacation to come home and watch our dog die. We’re going because the New York City public high school application process was an ordeal.” Why not rent a car and drive your spouse and teenager to a state park in upstate New York? You can hike and sleep in tents.

Mostly we’re going because of things we saw last time we were there. The tiny beach at the base of the towering cliff. The playground where the little children played past midnight while their parents and grandparents sat chatting. Chubby partridges pecking around the ruined temple of Poseidon.

So you’ve already gone, but you want to re-see what you’ve seen, because somehow the way they do it in Europe is more to your taste. I’m sure there’s a tiny beach with a towering cliff at one of those state parks I linked to.

This Newman – what an asshole.  He whines about the “carbon footprint” he produces, but then blithely announces he’s going to take his family to Europe anyway.  His reason is, effectively, because “fuck you, that’s why.”

Oh, but he bought some “carbon offsets,” which are the purest corral litter.  The fact is, he has no intention of changing his lifestyle; he just wants Top Men in the Imperial City to force you and I to change ours.  The proper response to this is, of course, “fuck off, slaver.”

Newman’s particular brand of hypocrisy isn’t unique to him.  Take a look at AL Gore’s mansion.  Take a look at Leonardo DeCaprio’s private jet, which he uses in this globe-trotting campaign to stop carbon emissions – except, apparently, for his.  A few moment’s searching would certainly reveal many, many more such examples.

What is it about these jerks, what weird cognitive dissonance is it, that makes them immune from the results of their own pet issues?

Animal’s Daily Robocall News

If you, like me, carry around a cellular phone as a matter of personal necessity (mine is my business phone as well as my personal phone) then you’ve probably been on the receiving end of the recent plague of robocalls and scam calls.  I know I have.  Not surprisingly, the FCC is under a lot of heat to do something.  Excerpt:

It was 3 a.m. when the phone rang.

But it wasn’t an emergency — it was a robocall, and it enraged one resident of Marietta, Pennsylvania, enough to fire off a profane complaint to the Federal Communications Commission.

“Someone should shoot these a**holes,” that robocall recipient wrote.

Both the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission receive a mind-boggling number of complaints monthly from Americans who can’t stand the growing scourge of scam calls. Last year, the FCC received 232,000 complaints regarding unwanted calls like robocalls and telemarketing offers, while the FTC received more than 3.7 million robocall complaints alone. For both agencies, these complaints are the most frequent ones they receive.

Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request from NBC News, the FCC provided roughly 200 lightly redacted complaints — all from May 1 and with the names of the filers redacted — that highlight just how fed up Americans are with the scam calls and how badly they want the government to take action against the perpetrators.

Here’s what’s been done:

Both federal agencies and lawmakers are trying. On Thursday, the Senate passed the TRACED Act, 97 to 1. That bill would push major telecom companies to better authenticate calls while also increasing penalties and fines that the FCC can levy for violations. In the House, legislative efforts are underway to combat “spoofing,” in which scammers trick a caller ID into believing that a call is coming from the recipient’s area code.

Well, great.  Now as a staunch minarchist, I’m not generally in favor of government solutions for every problem, but in this case, I’m in favor of this action, as what I am given to understand this bill does is to actually deregulate the telecom companies in one respect; prior, all service providers were required by law to pass on any attempted call.  Now they will have more latitude to identify and block scammers and robocalls.

As far as the increased penalties, they won’t amount to a damn; most of the robocalls come from overseas, in jurisdictions that aren’t interested in cooperating with the FCC.

Anything to be done about this will have to be done here; let the FCC identify and block these calls, and I suspect the problem will dry up, and the scammers will have to go back to emailing people, claiming to be exiled Nigerian princes.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

Meanwhile, now this here is some stupid shit.  Excerpt:

A group calling itself Genesis II Church of Health and Healing plans to convene at a hotel resort in Washington state on Saturday to promote a “miracle cure” that claims to cure 95% of all diseases in the world by making adults and children, including infants, drink industrial bleach.

The group is inviting members of the public through Facebook to attend what they call their “effective alternative healing” at the Icicle Village Resort in Leavenworth on Saturday morning. The organizer of the event, Tom Merry, has publicized the event on his personal Facebook page by telling people that learning how to consume the bleach “could save your life, or the life of a loved one sent home to die”.

The “church” is asking attendants of the meeting to “donate” $450 each, or $800 per couple, in exchange for receiving membership to the organization as well as packages of the bleach, which they call “sacraments”. The chemical is referred to as MMS, or “miracle mineral solution or supplement”, and participants are promised they will acquire “the knowledge to help heal many people of this world’s terrible diseases”.

In a world where people still profess belief in a flat earth, UFOs, chemtrails, Bigfoot and socialism as a workable economic system, it’s not so surprising that some morons would believe that drinking bleach can cure all the world’s ills.  I mean, what do they put in water to purify it for drinking?  Chlorine.  What’s the primary component of most bleaches?  Chlorine.

By that logic, since alcohol is used to kill germs, I should drink more whiskey and then I’d never get sick.

Here’s what I see as the real crime here, and it’s not mentioned in the article; I’m pretty damned certain that the assholes that run this “Genesis II Church of Health and Healing” don’t really believe any of this horseshit, and I’m damned certain they aren’t drinking this toxic crap themselves.  They are soaking idiots for $450 each to drink bleach, and excusing it by calling it “religion,” which, of course, is crap.

Now, I’m a staunch minarchist.  But even in a minarchist system there are protections against fraud.  It’s important to remember that there are only three ways to conduct an economic transaction; by choice, by force, or by fraud.  This is a perfect example of the last of those.

Tax Day!

Not actually Mrs. Animal.

Tax time is stressful for all of us, but when you run your own business, things become way more complicated. I’m not sure how many times, I just want to throw up my hands and give up, but we all know that’s not really an option.

When I took over all financial record keeping over 20 years ago, we didn’t have the luxury of spending extra on anything, so I began tracking expenses so we could see the big picture. After a few years, our business income became the primary income, prompting me to create a much more detailed record keeping system.  Every penny is accounted for by category and subcategory, which account(s) are affected, and who was paid.

When tax season comes along, I run a detailed report including the categories I need to include for tax purposes. I visually go through the data to check for data entry errors (I’ve gotten pretty quick with that) and summarize all the numbers. It should be easy to just enter the numbers on the forms, and I’m done. Right?

WRONG!

Most people might not realize it, but tax laws change from year to year. And consequently, the software necessary for that changes each year as well. Tax categories seem to be fairly fluid, so for example what I put under auto services one year had to be split into separate oil change and repair categories the next, even though it’s all totaled on the final form. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it changes back at some point in the future.

To make it more complicated, while there are guidelines as to what is deductible (and at what percentage), where you account for that is not cast in stone. Office equipment, for example, includes furniture and long term assets such as printers, computers and copiers. But, if your furniture is used solely for the business, you can instead list it under supplies with paper, ink and the like. I don’t know about you, but my chair isn’t ‘used up’ at the end of the year, so this really makes no sense to me, but I’ll take advantage of the laws that benefit me.

So why do small things like this drive me crazy? Because it changes the bottom line on our personal taxes!

A pass-through partnership doesn’t pay corporate taxes. Instead everything filters to our personal taxes. But, how I choose to categorize expenses changes how much we are required pay. So if I bought an office chair for the business this year, I can put it either in depreciable assets or office supplies.

  • If it’s a supply, the total amount is expensed this year, and I don’t have to worry about it any more.
  • If I depreciate it, depending on when we bought it, there are several options for spreading out the expense, including a one time complete expense in the current year.

On the surface this looks like I can deduct the full amount either way. But it’s listed on a different line for partner expenses, which changes how the final taxes are calculated.

To put another little twist in the fabric, things like home office and auto expenses are not included on our partnership forms. We also have to submit the self-employment schedule on our personal forms to do that. (Don’t even get me started on self-employment taxes!)

Quite a few years ago, I didn’t notice a category that had previously been on the personal form had moved to the business side. Since I had already submitted our business form, it lead to a series of corrections on both sides. So each year, I don’t file any tax forms until I know I have both business and personal for federal and state(s) completed to our best benefit. Sometimes this leads me to a several variations of calculations which can confuse the software a bit, adding a little more headache.

Since I spend most of my time actually running the business, I’m sure there are ways I could legally reduce our tax burden that I’m just not finding. I wonder how our bottom line would look if a fleet of tax lawyers took a gander.

But I’d rather have a more streamlined, unbiased and fair system. Instead of penalizing success by taxing income, wouldn’t it make more sense to look into a consumption tax system?

Rule Five Terms You Shouldn’t Use Friday

English is a language that’s forever changing; it’s been said that while other languages adopt words and phrases, English chases other languages down dark alleys, hits them over the head and goes through their pockets for loose grammar.  (This observation is made more poignant for yr. obdt. as this Friday finds my own dear Mrs. Animal and me in Japan, where I am functionally illiterate and struggle to make myself understood because I don’t savvy the lingo.)

But even English has standards, and as a popular American talk-radio guy is fond of saying, words mean things.  So here are some words and phrases that people need to stop abusing.

Capitalism

This, like many on the list, is bandied about by plenty of folks who should know better.  Here’s the reason people should stop using this word: “Capitalism,” unlike socialism and communism, doesn’t have an underlying ideology or set of dogma.  There’s no -ism there; it’s just liberty.  What we call capitalism is in fact the free, unfettered, lassaiz-faire of people doing exactly what they choose to do with their own skills, abilities, finances and resources, unfettered by government, unshackled by regulation.  It is people freely choosing what the do with their wealth.  It is the result of free trade, where people exchange value for value by choice, in voluntary transactions in which both parties gain.  It is a market unhampered by any meddling, where the economic trends are not forced from above by fiat but the results of millions of people making trillions of economic decisions, ever hour, every day, in a great freewheeling machine that no person or group of people could ever hope to control without screwing the whole thing up.  This has been demonstrated time and a-damned-gain, see Venezuela, Cuba and Zimbabwe for recent examples.

Gun Violence

Guns are inanimate objects.  There can be no such thing as “gun violence.”  There is only violence, planned and perpetrated by people.

This one is especially egregious as used in policy debates today, because, even though far more people un the United States today are murdered by fists and feet, nobody talks about “fist violence.”  It is only when guns are involved that this term is dragged out.

Whether deliberate or intentional, the term distracts from the real problem – that bad people do bad things – and focuses instead on chunks of plastic, wood and metal that can take no action and possess no moral agency or capacity.  A gun by itself is a moral null; it can take no action and left alone, will never hurt anything or anyone.  It is only when a human being picks up that gun and uses it for good or ill that any judgement of violence can come into the picture.

Privilege

Deriving from a Latin term that translates loosely as “private law,” this is another term that is badly abused in today’s discourse, mostly be people who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

American treasure Thomas Sowell noted that “privilege” is the idea that a white coal miner in West Virginia has some unseen advantages over a black Harvard graduate in New York.  As used in such a manner, it trivializes people and assigns them arbitrary categories based on their skin color, ethic background or religious affiliation; in other words, it’s bigotry, pure and simple.  As a middle-aged white male, I am supposed to meekly acknowledge the benefits of “privilege,” even though my Dad was a farmer most of his life, I went to college on the GI Bill and have worked for and earned everything I have.  I guess my privilege isn’t firing on all cylinders.

Decimate/Decimation

Decimation is a term that originated in the Roman army.  When a legion was seen to have failed in courage, one soldier of every ten was executed, pour encourager les autre.  (Voltaire would have loved these guys.)  The literal meaning of the term “decimate” means exactly that – to reduce in number by ten percent.

So, when a vapid talking head on a news program makes that claim that a certain terrorist group has been “decimated” he is saying that they managed to engage a nation-state’s military and only took ten percent casualties.  That’s a pretty good performance by a bunch of illiterates with AK-47s and an absolute cluster-fuck on the part of any modern military.

Democracy

The United States is a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy.

In fact, our Constitution, probably the most effective governing document in the history of mankind as it was originally written, contains specific safeguards against direct democracy.  The Senate is one of those safeguards.  The Electoral College is another.

Noticed, have you, that those are two institutions that the political Left in this country would like to do away with?

We do not nor should we have government by direct democracy.  That is no more than mob rule or, as Benjamin Franklin was rumored to have said, “two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.”  We have a Republic, with a Constitution that clearly defines the roles and the limitations on the various branches of government.  We have a Senate that was originally supposed to represent the interests of their states, and we have an Electoral College to make sure that a few high-population states don’t end up dictating to the entire country.  Let’s keep it that way.

This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list.  I’ll likely add to it as time goes on.  But it’s a good start.

Any suggested additions?

 

Animal’s Daily Crushing Debt News

Thanks to our friends at Pirate’s Cove for the linkback!

The more things (like Presidents) change, the more things stay the same.  Like, say, the Imperial debt.  That does change, because it always increases.  Excerpt:

The federal debt increased by $1,271,158,167,126.72 in fiscal 2018, according to data released today by the Treasury.

The total federal debt started the fiscal year at $20,244,900,016,053.51 according to the Treasury, and finished the fiscal year at $21,516,058,183,180.23.

The federal fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30.

The $1,271,158,167,126.72 in debt accumulated in fiscal 2018 made fiscal 2018 the eighth fiscal year in the last eleven in which the debt increased by at least one trillion dollars.

The $1,271,158,167,126.72 increase in the federal debt was also the sixth largest fiscal-year debt increase in the history of the United States.

Holy crap.

One of my recurring fantasies about being President (not one of the ones that results in my waking up screaming) is submitting to Congress a budget that involves reducing the Imperial government to pre-Civil War levels, and happily vetoing any budget that spends a penny more than I proposed.

But I’m not President and I’m not likely to be.

Congressional varmints of both parties pay lip service to fiscal sanity, but do little about it.  The Republicans preach spending restraint but are content to tiny decreases in the rate of growth; the Democrats ignore the Laffer curve and shout for tax increases.  Meanwhile we continue to mortgage our grandchildren’s futures.

Again, were I President, my retort with every aforementioned veto would be:  “Fuck you.  Cut spending.”  It would be nice if President Trump showed some such inclinations.

Rule Five Kangaroo Court Friday

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee listened to Dr. Ford and grilled Judge Kavanaugh.  Here are some highlights:

The full transcript of Dr. Ford’s statement.

Judge Kavanaugh Decries “Circus.”

The full transcript of Judge Kavanaugh’s statement.

Senator Graham on the damage done to the process.

I listened to/watched some bits and pieces of both sessions.  In summary, let me just say this:

What a fucking travesty this has been.

I really think that Dr. Ford has been a victim of this whole mess as well.  She may well have been assaulted at some time in the past; but there’s no evidence that it was Judge Kavanaugh that did it.  But the way Senate Democrats have cruelly and cynically used her for political gain is nothing short of disgusting.  When she initially approached her Congresscritter and then Senator Feinstein, she asked for anonymity and wished to have her privacy respected.  She was thrown to the wolves.  She was used just as cruelly by the Senate Democrats as she claims to have been used back in the summer of 1982.

But Judge Kavanaugh has been raked over the coals on the flimsiest of pretexts.  In yesterday’s session, Senate Judiciary Democrats harped on the FBI issue; “why won’t you allow the FBI to investigate?”  Chairman Grassley finally shut them down by quoting daffy old Uncle Joe Biden, who oversaw the Clarence Thomas approval hearings, stating that the FBI “do not investigate local crimes…  (the FBI) does not reach conclusions, does not make recommendations.”

I could spend some time decrying the embarrassing mess this confirmation process has become, but I’ll let Judge Kavanaugh, in his remarks from today’s hearings, do it for me:

This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advise and consent with search and destroy. Since my nomination in July, there has been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation, shortly after I was nominated, the Democratic Senate leader said he would, quote, oppose me with everything he’s got, a Democratic senator on this committee publicly referred to me as evil … evil, think about that word. And said that those who supported me were, quote, complicit in evil.

Another Democratic senator on this committee said, quote, “Judge Kavanaugh is your worst nightmare.” A former head of the Democratic National Committee said, quote, “Judge Kavanaugh will threaten the lives of millions of Americans for decades to come.”

I understand the passions of the moment, but I would say to those senators, your words have meaning. Millions of Americans listened carefully to you, given comments like those, is it any surprise that people have been willing to do anything, to make any physical threat against my family, to send any violent email to my wife, to make any kind of allegation against me or against my friends to blow me up and take me down

You sowed the wind, for decades to come, I fear that the whole country will reap the whirlwind. The behavior of several of the Democratic members of this committee at my hearing a few weeks ago was an embarrassment, but at least it was a good old-fashioned attempt at “Borking.” Those efforts didn’t work when I did at least OK enough at the hearings that it looked like I might actually get confirmed, a new tactic was needed. Some of you were lying in wait and had it ready. This first allegation was held in secret for weeks by a Democratic member of this committee and by staff. It would be needed only if you couldn’t take me out on the merits. When it was needed, this allegation was unleashed and publicly deployed over Dr. Ford’s wishes. And then, and then, as no doubt was expected if not planned came a long series of false last minute smears designed to scare me and drive me out of the process before any hearing occurred. Crazy stuff. Gangs, illegitimate children, fights on boats in Rhode Island, all nonsense, reported breathlessly and often uncritically by the media. This has destroyed my family and my good name, a good name built up through decades of very hard work and public service at the highest levels of the American government, this whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups. This is a circus.

What a clusterfuck.  What a fucking disgrace.  What a goddamn shambles.  I’m afraid our nation is permanently damaged by this horseshit.  And, as Senator Graham has pointed out, it’s all because Democrats think they can use shenanigans to delay until after mid-terms, in hopes of grabbing off a Supreme Court seat for themselves.

 

Animal’s Daily Recovered Memories News

By now most folks have heard of the latest sudden drama surrounding the Kavanaugh nomination.  Robert Stacy McCain weighed in the other day.  Excerpt:

Did you know that “trigger warnings” are actually harmful? The trendy academic practice of alerting students to “problematic” material “reinforce the fear and compound anxiety.”

This information is highly relevant, I believe, to the claims surrounding the 11th-hour hit job on Brett Kavanaugh. We are expected to believe that the accuser, Professor Christine Ford, suffered emotional damage because she was groped by Kavanaugh at a 1982 party when they were both teenagers. The “evidence” of this alleged trauma is her therapist’s notes from when she and her husband were in couples therapy in 2012.

Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection is skeptical:

If this is a “repressed memory” case, then it changes everything against the accuser’s veracity — repressed memory is of highly questionable admissibility and credibility.

Exactly. Why would 30 years elapse before the accuser mentioned this incident to anyone? Beyond that, does it comport with our common-sense understanding of human behavior to think that the alleged incident, even if it happened exactly as it is now being described in news accounts, would be so traumatic as to be relevant to whatever marital problems Christine Ford and her husband were experiencing in 1982?

Now, regarding the “recovered memories” angle, I think there are better than even odds that the whole thing is horseshit; incidentally, some folks educated in head-candling agree with me.  But that’s neither here nor there, in whatever long-ago year “there” may be.

“Now, Animal,” you might ask, “why would you say that?  These are serious allegations.”  Well, sure, the allegation of sexual assault is normally a serious matter, and I agree with most of the croakers around the Imperial City that Dr. Ford should be allowed – nay, encouraged – to come state her case, mostly because I suspect it will become obvious that there’s no there there.

But I have seen some other facts that should also come to light.  Like how Dr. Ford’s students offer reviews of her teaching averaging 2.3 out of 5, normally a failing grade, with statements like:

“Christine (F)ord is the worst educator I have ever experienced.  Avoid taking her class and avoid any interaction with this person.  I feel like she has something wrong with her and I am surprised no one has caught this.  Also avoid fullerton’s (sic) MSW program as long as she is there.”

“Prof. Ford is unprofessional, lacks appropriate filters, and I am honestly scared of her.  She’s made comments both in class and in e-mails, if you cross her, you will be on her bad side. I fear to think of the poor clients that had to deal with her while she got her MSW and her LCSW. Absolutely the worst teacher I ever had.”

And:

“She is unclear with directions. Hard grader and talks for 2hr 45min without giving a break. she is exact opposite of what she teaches. empowering??? not at all.”

So, it seems her teaching career is not going well.  But wait – there’s more!  It seems Brett Kavanaugh’s mother, Judge Martha Kavanaugh, ruled against Dr. Ford’s parents in a foreclosure case.

So, why is all this relevant?  Because the “recovered memories” horse squeeze could just as easily be a dodge for a revenge stab at the judge who ruled against Dr. Ford’s family – or it could be an angle at a lucrative book deal – or it could be a political gambit, wherein she saw a chance to take a stab at the Trump Administration.  Who knows?  But this is all relevant information, and should damn well come out in any hearings.

But most of all, not one damn bit of it has any bearing on Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court.

Animal’s Daily Transparent Goofball News

Blogger pal Doug Hagin over at The Daley Gator brought this to our attention the other day.  Original article here.  Excerpt:

“The View” co-host Sunny Hostin said that her family was “targeted” over the Fourth of July holiday with people yelling the “n-word” at them.

The comments came during a panel discussion Monday about how the co-hosts spent their holiday and week off from the show. Hostin explained that her family had rented a house on the beach in a predominantly black neighborhood, and during the fourth, a group of people ran by their home yelling the racist comment at them.

“We were there celebrating, and some kids — about 20 of them — ran in front of our home and started yelling the n-word at us,” Hostin shared.

She then showed home video of her family asking a group of kids if they knew who the culprits were after realizing the people were “targeting them.”

Prodded by Joy Behar, Hostin said the kids yelled, “This is America, we are patriots, this is our holiday — things like that.”

In a word:  Bullshit.

First of all; in this area of near-ubiquitous cell phone cameras, nobody – I mean nobody – evidently whipped out a phone and hit “record” to document what would have objectively been a little group of assholes was doing?  Nobody?  That strains credulity.  Second, there have been just too many “racist incidents” made up out of whole cloth lately, to just take the word of some talking head.

I’m not sure what Ms. Hostin is trying to achieve here.  I do know that I ain’t buying it.

Oh, and tune in tomorrow for more horseshit from a journalist; this one we don’t have to doubt, we can show damn well how they are lying.