Category Archives: Politics

Animal’s Daily Policy Stunt News

Forewarned is forearmed.

Be sure to check out the latest in my History of Lever Guns series over at Glibertarians!

Speaking of guns:  In Missouri, a state lawmaker wants to mandate that able-bodied residents all own an AR-15.  Yes, really.  Excerpt:

A Missouri State lawmaker has introduced a bill that is sure to upset anti-gunners. Rep. Andrew McDaniel (R-Deering) introduced House Bill 1108, which would establish the “McDaniel Militia Act.” If passed, everyone between the ages of 18 and 35 would be required to own an AR-15.

“Any person who qualifies as a resident on August 28, 2019, and who does not own an AR-15 shall have one year to purchase an AR-15,” the bill reads. “Any resident qualifies as a resident after August 28, 2019, and does not own an AR-15 shall purchase an AR-15 no later than one year after qualifying as a resident.”

A section of the bill would establish tax credits for those who didn’t own an AR-15 before the law went into effect. They would be given a tax credit of 75 percent of AR-15’s purchase price. 

Citizens would be allowed to sell their AR-15s as long as they still had at least one in their possession.

McDaniel told WDAF-TV he knew the bill wouldn’t pass but he introduced it to “make a point on mandates in general.”

The former deputy sheriff said the bill “points out the absurdity of the opposite side,” and anti-gun proposals to “add more requirements and barriers for law-abiding citizens.”

Fortunately McDaniel obviously understands that his bill is a stunt, intended to illustrate absurdity by being absurd.  But let’s assume for a moment that he’s serious about this bill, because let’s be honest, odder things have been proposed in the various state legislatures, not to mention the Imperial Congress.  If this was a serious proposal, it would be a really bad idea for a few reasons.

  1. Mandating folks to own something – a weapon, a watch, a health insurance policy, anything – is as antithetical to liberty as forbidding them from owning that same thing.  What is not banned is not mandatory.  What is not mandatory is not banned.  That’s not how a free society works.
  2. You don’t have to be Milton Friedman to figure out what a subsidy of 75% of the rifle’s price would do.  Prices of AR-15s would skyrocket, fast.
  3. Why only an AR-15?  What if I wanted to defend home and hearth with a Winchester 94 in .30-30, one that I’ve owned for decades and with which I am an absolutely deadly shot?

But, of course, this is a stunt, and a not particularly creative one.  While I’m sure McDaniel is trying to make a point, and in truth I appreciate the point he’s trying to make, I just don’t see how this sort of thing moves the ball forward.

 

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

File this one under “Well, duh”:  Americans are mostly economic illiterates.  Excerpt:

Economic literacy has been in the news a lot lately, with some high-profile politicians demonstrating the need for some basic financial understanding. However, recent Job Creators Network/ScottRasmussen.com polling shows that the general public has a poor understanding of economic and personal finance topics as well, with a majority of Americans flunking five out of ten basic questions.

Questions revealed:

  • 75 percent of people underestimated how long it would take to pay off $5,000 in credit card debt if you only paid the minimum.
  • Only 27 percent of people knew how large the federal debt is expected to be in 2019.
  • 60 percent of people didn’t know that a rise in the minimum wage would reduce the number of minimum wage jobs.
  • Only 22 percent of people knew that the unemployment rate for Hispanic Americans was at an all-time low.

On the bright side, a majority of Americans understood the basics of supply and demand, tax deductions, credit scores, and fixed mortgage rates.

The public can take the quiz online at our InformationStation.org website, here.

It’s not just that Americans in general don’t understand these things; it’s that the generally lackwitted people who manage to get themselves elected to Congress don’t understand these things.

What’s interesting, though, is the polling results a little further down the page, which include these items (color highlighting added):

How would you rate the US economy today? Excellent (12%), Good (39%), Fair (32%), Poor (13%), Not sure (4%).

Is the economy getting better or worse? Better (36%), Worse (26%), About the same (33%), Not sure (5%).

Okay, how would you rate your own personal finances these days? Excellent (12%), Good (39%), Fair (31%), Poor (17%), Not sure (2%).

Are your personal finances getting better or worse? Better (33%), Worse (17%), About the same (48%), Not sure (3%).

Are companies in your area more likely to be hiring new workers or laying off existing workers? Hiring new workers (43%), Laying off existing workers (22%), Not sure (30%).

Add all of that up, and according to (at least) this survey, a plurality of Americans are pretty happy with the way the economy is going.  That’s certainly good news for President Trump, as the historic key metrics for a Presidential election are 1) incumbency and 2) economy.  Trump holds the high ground on both of those – oh, and it doesn’t hurt that the Democrat field is shaping up to be a race to the left, and a race of nitwits at that.

Still – November 2020 is a long damn ways away yet.

Rule Five Blind Hogs And Acorns Friday

Remember that old saw about blind hogs and acorns?  It seems that Nancy Pelosi has found a couple.  Remarkable! Excerpt:

First, she douses progressives’ impeachment dreams in cold water, telling the Washington Post that such a divisive and drastic political step should only be taken over egregious criminality that’s “compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan.”  She cagily adds, “he’s just not worth it,” a personal swipe at the president, likely deployed to placate Trump haters who will bristle at her stance.  Insulting him is a little wink that she’s still ‘on the team.’  But even if the hard-Left wing of the party is willing to forgive Pelosi’s hesitant posture on impeachment, how might they react to her intense fiscal skepticism on ‘Medicare for All’ — the holy grail of the statist agenda?  Via Rolling Stone:

When they say Medicare for All, people have to understand this: Medicare for All is not as good a benefit as the Affordable Care Act. It doesn’t have catastrophic [coverage] — you have to go buy it. It doesn’t have dental. It’s not as good as the plans that you can buy under the Affordable Care Act. So I say to them, come in with your ideas, but understand that we’re either gonna have to improve Medicare — for all, including seniors — or else people are not gonna get what they think they’re gonna get. And by the way, how’s it gonna be paid for?  Now, single-payer is a different thing. People use the terms interchangeably. Sometimes it could be the same thing, but it’s not always. Single-payer is just about who pays. It’s not about what the benefits are. That is, administratively, the simplest thing to do, but to convert to it? Thirty trillion dollars. Now, how do you pay for that? So I said, “Look, just put them all on the table, and let’s have the discussion, and let people see what it is. But know what it is that you’re talking about.” All I want is the goal of every American having access to health care. You don’t get there by dismantling the Affordable Care Act.

It’s nice to see a dose of reality sink in to that old San Francisco liberal.

Now, she’s not exactly switching to being a flaming supply-sider, at least not yet (and, candidly, not ever.)  But it’s just too much fun to see old Mrs. “We Have To Pass It To Find Out What’s In It” counseling caution now; urging members of her own caucus to “come in with ideas” but stating that they’ll have to decide how they’re going to pay for them.

Yes, you read that right.  She’s worrying about how to pay for things like Medicare for All.  What a novel concept.

Of course this caution may well evaporate the next time a Democrat ensconces him/herself behind the Resolute Desk.

Still; it turns out old Nancy isn’t the only blind donkey stumbling across those fruits of the oak tree.  New York Governor Cuomo has chimed in on the same theme:

“Single payer. Okay. Pass it. I’ll sign it. You pass it, I’ll sign it,” Cuomo says. But … would he want to sign it? “No, but no sane person will pass it,” he says. So he’s daring the legislature to pass it? “Oh no. If they pass it, I’ll sign it,” he says. Even though he thinks it’ll blow up the state budget? “Yeah, well, you’d double everybody’s taxes. You want to do that? Let’s go,” he says. “They can never pass it. But I have no problem with the dare. Every union is against it. The hospitals are against it. The Civil Service Employees Association is against it. The 1199 health-care union is against it.

Dare we hope that some semblance of fiscal sanity is sinking in to at least a few people on the political Left?

Nah.  Probably not.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Oh, the horror!  The Imperial Department of Education faces a 10% funding cut in President Trump’s proposed 2020 budget!  Excerpt:

The plan, titled “A Budget for a Better America, ” requests $62 billion for the Department of Education, or $7.1 billion less than the agency’s allowance in 2019.

The budget eliminates subsidized student debt, in which interest doesn’t accrue on the loans while borrowers are in school or in economic hardship. It also reduces the number of repayment plans for borrowers and scratches the popular, if challenged, public service loan forgiveness program.

“We have also reaffirmed our commitment to spending taxpayer dollars wisely and efficiently by consolidating or eliminating duplicative and ineffective federal programs,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

The plan would narrow the numerous income-driven repayment plans, which caps people’s bills at a percentage of their income, to just one. Under that option, students’ monthly payments would be limited to 12.5 percent of their discretionary income, compared with 10 percent now.

Any remaining debt would be cancelled after 15 years for undergraduate students, and 30 years for graduate students.

I’ve got a better idea:  Reduce their budget to zero.

Here is the Constitution of the United States; you know, the highest law in the land?  That Constitution?  Well, have a read through that, and tell me where it says that the Imperial government is allowed to meddle in education at any level.

Now, here is the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In other words, if the Constitution doesn’t specifically allow the Imperial government to do a thing, then they are actually prohibited from doing that thing.  Not that that hasn’t stopped the Imperial Congress from wiping their asses with the Constitution since about 1860.

To President Trump, were he to listen to me, I would have the following advice:  Grow a pair, Mr. President!  Defund the lot, and a bunch more extra-Constitutional agencies into the bargain.  Swing that axe!  You’ve talked a lot about Imperial debt; do something about it it!  Cut spending!

Animal’s Daily Nutcase News

Thanks as always to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links – and check out Part 2 of my History of Lever Guns series over at Glibertarians!

Moving along:  Our favorite pinkie Congresscritter Alexandria Occasional Cortex strikes again.  Excerpt:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made an appearance at SWSX. During a talk at the conference, the Congresswoman was asked about the threat of automation and technology eliminating jobs. Her response was strange and not very well thought out.

“We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work,” she said, The Verge reported. “We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited by it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die. And that is, at its core, our problem.”

Wait. 

People work to pay bills, to put a roof over their head, food on their table and heat their homes and they should be excited to be put out of a job? 

AOC is clearly delusional. 

Now, hang on just one damn minute.  Townhall author Beth Baumann is correct to note that “People work to pay bills, to put a roof over their head, food on their table and heat their homes and they should be excited to be put out of a job? ”  Yes, that’s true, and it’s something Occasional Cortex seems to have trouble with.  But here’s the quote from the ex-bartender that is the real jaw-dropper:

But the reason we’re not excited by it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die. And that is, at its core, our problem.”

What.

The.

Fuck.

Left to die?  Seriously?  This stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid girl really believes this?

Honestly, Occasional Cortex is the best argument I can think of for requiring an intelligence test before being sworn in as a Congressman – fail to pass, your election is voided – and frankly, it probably wouldn’t be the worst idea to have a head-candler check out the folks that voted for this nitwit.  Bear in mind she’s up against some pretty stiff competition for the Stupidest Person in Congress; there’s just an embarrassment of riches in Washington if it’s dimwits you’re seeking.

What’s amazing is this:  During the interview excerpted above, there is not an iota of evidence that anyone asked her “wait, wait – can you name one, even one, person in the United States in, oh, the last century, who was ‘left to die’ because they didn’t have a job?  Even one?  Since the First World War?”

Because, of course, she couldn’t.  That’s what makes this statement so staggeringly stupid.

If her fellow Congressional Democrats aren’t wearing a lot of red faces every time Occasional Cortex opens her yap, I’d be damned surprised.

Rule Five Schadenfreudalicious Friday

From Merriam-Webster:

Schadenfreude noun, often capitalized
scha·​den·​freu·​de | \ ˈshä-dᵊn-ˌfrȯi-də
\
Definition of schadenfreude

: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others

And yes, True Believers, that’s what I’m feeling lately, due to the sudden troubles of our own favorite Congressional lackwit, Alexandria Occasional Cortex.  Excerpt:

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a top aide appear to control an outside PAC credited with being the central force behind her June 2018 primary victory.
  • One former Federal Election Commission member thinks there would be a “serious investigation” if a complaint were filed, noting that the probe could potentially result in civil penalties or even jail time for Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff.
  • A second former commissioner said there were possibly “multiple violations of federal campaign finance law.”
  • Justice Democrats ran campaigns for Ocasio-Cortez and 11 other Democrats, but the New York Democrat was the only one to win her general election.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti obtained majority control of Justice Democrats PAC in December 2017, according to archived copies of the group’s website, and the two appear to retain their control of the group, according to corporate filings obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. If the Federal Election Commission (FEC) finds that the New York Democrat’s campaign operated in affiliation with the PAC, which had raised more than $1.8 million before her June 2018 primary, it would open them up to “massive reporting violations, probably at least some illegal contribution violations exceeding the lawful limits,” former FEC commissioner Brad Smith said.

Ocasio-Cortez never disclosed to the FEC that she and Chakrabarti, who served as her campaign chair, controlled the PAC while it was simultaneously supporting her primary campaign, and former FEC commissioners say the arrangement could lead to multiple campaign finance violations. The group backed 12 Democrats during the 2018 midterms, but Ocasio-Cortez was the only one of those to win her general election.

“If the facts as alleged are true, and a candidate had control over a PAC that was working to get that candidate elected, then that candidate is potentially in very big trouble and may have engaged in multiple violations of federal campaign finance law, including receiving excessive contributions,” former Republican FEC commissioner Hans von Spakovsky told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Now, chuckle-inducing as that would be, I suspect Occasional Cortex won’t see any serious penalties for this.  For one thing, it’s pretty obvious the girl isn’t terribly swift, and the horrendous complexity of campaign-finance laws is almost certainly way over her head.  I suspect her campaign manager will end up taking the fall.

But this will spell the end of her political career.  If there is any fire at all behind all this smoke, then she has gone from being a damned nuisance to her fellow Democrats to an outright liability.

Will she be primaried?  That would be ironic, but it may not be necessary.  New York is due for redistricting; the Democrats running that machine could easily redistrict her back into another bartending gig, an occupation for which she is much better suited than her current position.

Her campaign manager, though.  This apparently isn’t his first rodeo, and he really ought to have known better.  One might concede that a 29-year old bartender might be ignorant of many of the complexities of running for and holding office, as evidence of which I might offer her performance to date.

Still.  Ignorance of the law, as they say, is no excuse.  It will be roundly interesting to see how this plays out.

Still – does anyone care to hazard a guess as to whether this gets Congress to look at our overly complicated campaign-finance system?  I’ll lay odds they don’t.  Losing only one of their own, and an annoying one at that, isn’t enough to start them down that road.

Rule Five Asset Forfeiture Friday

Readers of these virtual pages will probably already know my opinions on asset forfeiture.  Namely, I think it is theft, pure and simple, by agents of government, and is clearly unconstitutional as it results in seizure of a citizen’s assets with no due process.

Now, at last, there is a Supreme Court decision, unanimous even, that agrees, although it makes the decision on 8th Amendment grounds.  Excerpt:

Last week, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement can no longer make grossly disproportionate seizures of property, even from people who owe money after being convicted of crimes.

Tyson Timbs, having pleaded guilty to a drug-related crime, was given a year of home detention and put into a treatment program. But he owed $1,203 to the State of Indiana. The Hoosier State chose to recoup, through a civil forfeiture action, his obligation by seizing his $42,000 Land Rover, which he had purchased recently with money that came from the life insurance policy of his deceased father.

Although Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas offered slightly different rationales for reaching the same conclusion, all nine justices agreed that the state cannot simply take seize mountains where molehills are due. This ruling does not deal with the many broader issues of civil asset forfeiture, nor with all the specific abuses of civil asset forfeiture that we have previously written about. But it does at least set a clear limit at one end of the field for seizures that are ridiculously large in response to offenses that are modest. It will have the practical value of limiting the worst abuses.

Writing for the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg cited the Eighth Amendment’s clear language: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” This language, the justices agreed, is binding on not only the federal but also state governments, and it is also applicable to cases like this one.

This is a step in the right direction, to be sure.  Now the next case should be one on Fifth Amendment grounds.  That amendment states:

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 offence 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.

The relevant part here being “…not be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”  Asset forfeiture prior to conviction does precisely this, has been historically used as a revenue-generating tool by local and state governments for far to long, is anathema to any concept of individual liberty and needs to stop.  It’s inconceivable that this practice has gone on as long as it has.

But what’s great about this decision is that the arguments against excessive asset forfeiture on Eighth Amendment grounds were compelling enough to bring both wings of the Court into agreement.  There can be no argument from either side that this was a partisan decision; long-standing liberal Ginsburg authored the opinion, while Trump appointees Gorsuch and Kavanaugh agreed.

As the piece linked above notes, this will curb the worst asset forfeiture abuses.  Now all we need is a good Fifth Amendment case to end this abusive practice once and for all.

Animal’s Daily Autophagia News

I swear, Alexandria Occasional Cortex is the gift that keeps on giving – to Republicans.  Now Democrat Carolyn Maloney has piled on to the list of Democrats denouncing Occasional Cortex’s aggressive economic illiteracy.  Excerpt:

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.) on Friday night slammed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y) for her opposition to Amazon headquarters coming to New York City, saying that she was “disappointed” at people protesting jobs in her district.

Maloney, who has been representing the 12th Congressional District since 2013, appeared on CNN’s “OutFront” to discuss Amazon’s decision to cancel its plan to build a headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, which is part of her district. Host Erin Burnett read Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet celebrating the decision and asked if she shared her sentiment.

“My constituents want jobs,” Maloney said.

“This was 25,000 jobs,” said Burnett, prompting Maloney to say this was a “minimum” amount of jobs.

“It would have been many, many more; 25,00 jobs at $150,000 minimum for the job,” Maloney said. “There were promises for a new school, and as a former teacher, I was intrigued with their plans to have a curriculum in 30 different schools supported by Amazon on high tech. We should be really diversifying our base of taxes, our base of businesses. We are too dependent on financial services.”

“It used to be that we would protest wars. Now we are protesting jobs? People are complaining about jobs coming to your [city] … If this had gone through, it would have made overnight New York City the high-tech capital of the east coast, the most important job center for tech jobs.”

Now the Democrats are nothing if not disciplined; it’s rare to see this kind of autophagia among the ranks of their elected officials, at least.  Non-elected activists all over the political spectrum slash and snap at “their own” all the time, but elected Democrats are normally pretty disciplined.

Not Occasional Cortex.  The girl just doesn’t seem to have any filter between mouth and brain, much less any actual knowledge of economics or the ins and outs of job creation.  And every time she releases another verbal outburst, she has to have elected Republicans chortling gleefully even as he horrifies her own side.

Watch in 2020:  I’m guessing she’ll face a primary challenge by some older, better prepared and more disciplined Democrat.

Animal’s Daily Master Troll News

By now you’ve all heard about the laughable Green New Deal put forth by New York Congresscritter Alexandra Occasional Cortex.  Even though this piece of crap looks like it was strung together by a third-grade candidate for Student Council, Senate Majority Leader McConnell wants to bring it up for a vote in the Senate.

Why?  Because it’s a masterpiece of trolling.  I applaud this!  Excerpt:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he plans a floor vote on the Green New Deal resolution proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and endorsed by many congressional Democrats. McConnell wants Senate Democrats to go on record on this radical proposal. He especially wants those running for president and those who may face tough reelection campaigns in 2020 to do so.

Would such a vote be a stunt? You could call it that, but you could also use the same word to describe a great many votes in both chambers.

The Green New Deal is a big deal, potentially. I see no reason why the Senate shouldn’t express its view of the idea.

Ocasio-Cortez responded to McConnell by saying, in effect, bring it on. She stated:

[McConnell] is trying to bully the party and he’s banking on people not being courageous. I think people should call his bluff.

When McConnell banks on something, he usually has good reason to. This seems like a case-in-point.

The response by Congresswoman Crazy Eyes was priceless, amounting to “how dare you bring up the resolution I sponsored for an actual vote!”

Trolling this may be and trolling it is, but McConnell, no newcomer to these kinds of games, has a purpose beyond just the lulz.  He’s going to make every member of the Senate stand, vote and be counted, either for this atrocity or against it…

…including all the Senate Democrats who have or who are planning to declare as 2020 Presidential candidates.  Any, including those who have already expressed support, will have that support hung around their necks like a millstone in 2020.

Some folks are about to be reminded that this ain’t Mitch McConnell’s first rodeo.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

No one thing in particular jumps out this Monday morning, so let’s have a links compendium with some comments.

In France, yellow-vest protestors continue to protest… well, just about everything.  The gist of their argument seems to be “we want more Free Shit, and we want other people to pay for it.”

Princess Spreading Bull has launched her 2020 Presidential bid.  This is a Quixotic quest if there ever was one; even her fellow Democrats are getting to be embarrassed by her serial dissembling over her background.

Portland, Oregon averages a 911 call every fifteen minutes – about homeless people.  Most of these aren’t really emergencies and should be called in to the regular non-emergency dispatch line, granted.  But Portland has in the past had policies like “no-turnaway” shelters, which has drawn itinerants to that city – and this is the predictable result.

Single-family zoning is now racist.  Who knew?  This is so facepalm-worthy it’s not even funny.  When everything is racist, nothing is racist, but that little truism is lost on these people.

Robert Stacy McCain chronicles the continuing downward slide of our Ivy League schools.  Why are these people so angry?

Our good friend Jillian Becker presents “Prophetess: A Cautionary Tale.”  Well worth the read.  Granted predictions are very difficult, especially when they’re about the future.

On that note, we return you to your Monday, already in progress.