Category Archives: Politics

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain and (new this week) Bacon Time, for the Rule Five links!  This week finds Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. in the less-than-welcoming environs of Chicago, although we are ensconced in a reasonably peaceful northern suburb.  We’re here until Friday, when we fly back to our temporary lodgings in (ugh) New Jersey.  Observations from this location may follow as events warrant.

We speculated about this several times recently, but now here we are; a Profa radical has attacked an ICE facility, and paid the price for it.  Excerpt:

William van Spronsen, a 69-year-old Antifa radical who was arrested for assaulting a police officer at a protest last year, was shot dead Saturday after he attacked an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Tacoma, Washington, with molotov cocktails. New York Times:

The police fatally shot a man who was attacking an immigration detention center in Tacoma, Wash., on Saturday morning, the authorities said.

The man, who was armed with a rifle, was throwing unspecified “incendiary devices” at the Northwest Detention Center, according to a police statement. The man, identified by officials on Saturday afternoon as Willem Van Spronsen, 69, of Vashon Island, Wash., continued throwing lit objects at buildings and cars, the statement said.

“One car was fully engulfed in flames,” said Officer Loretta Cool, a spokeswoman for the Tacoma Police Department. “He was also trying to ignite a big propane tank but he was not successful.”

Seattle Times:

Deb Bartley, a friend of Van Spronsen’s for about 20 years, described him as an anarchist and antifascist, and believes his attack on the detention center intending to provoke a fatal conflict.

That last sentence may well be correct; this looks an awful lot like suicide-by-cop.  But, here we are, what we’ve been anticipating has just happened.  What’s next?  A group of Profa assholes with rifles and improvised explosives?

Van Spronsen may well be a martyr for the Profa crowd now.  Granted, there’s one thing all martyrs have in common – they’re dead – but an important line has been crossed here.

Granted that most of these goons are not, collectively, the sharpest knives in the drawer.  All you have to do is read the Twitter conversations about this incident to see that.  But it doesn’t take a mental giant to take the next logical step, from one nut with a rifle and incendiaries to a bunch of nuts with rifles and incendiaries.  But the thing is this; we can’t count on them being stupid enough to attack an ICE facility staffed by armed officers.  They might attack a protest or rally by some group they don’t agree with.

And right now, the Presidential campaign season is ramping up, with President Trump presiding over yuge rallies all over the country.

What happens next?

Rule Five Good Times Friday

It’s a popular claim, mostly (but not exclusively) made by folks on the Left, to claim that wage stagnation has made people worse off than they were thirty or forty years ago.  There’s a problem, though:  It’s not even remotely true.  Excerpt:

Back in May, a young American called Akki caused a minor twitterstorm by seemingly showing what many pundits in the U.S. media frequently assert—that ordinary Americans are worse off today than they were in the late 1970s. A number of better-educated twitterati soon pointed out that Akki, a self-declared member of #TheResistance, engaged in what former U.S. President George W. Bush once referred to as “fuzzy math.”

In the meantime, Akki’s misleading claim scored over 197,000 likes on Twitter. It seems that in addition to the U.S. dollar, Americans have come to crave a new kind of currency: victimhood. Many Americans of all political persuasions relish the feeling of aggrievement and the accompanying sense of moral superiority, and if that means that they have to pretend that their lives are worse than those of their ancestors, so be it.

Per Akki, a loaf of bread in 1977 cost $0.32. In May 2019, it cost $1.98. In the meantime, the median income per person, Akki also claimed, remained the same. Ergo, Americans were worse off in 2019 than they were in 1977. The data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the most authoritative of sources, tells a somewhat different story. The real median income per person in 1977 came to $23,202. It stood at $31,099 in 2016 (the last year for which data are available). Both figures are in 2017 dollars. So, an American in the middle of the income spectrum was about $7,897 (or 34 percent) better off in 2016 than he or she would have been in 1977. And that’s not counting the increase in non-wage benefits that, due to the quirks of the U.S. tax code, continue to expand. As for the price of bread, Akki’s $0.32 would amount to $1.36 today. Target sells a loaf of bread for $1.09.

Read author Marian L. Tupy’s article Free Markets Dramatically Reduce the Cost of Living as well.

Here’s the thumbnail; people in general and American in particular are better off today than they have been at any time in history.  They spend less of their income by percentage on food.  They spend more on housing, but our housing is typically larger and has more amenities; when I was a kid, few homes boasted central air conditioning, now it’s ubiquitous.

In that second article, Tupy quotes Joseph Schumpeter, the famous economist who served as Austrian minister of finance in 1919, who observed that the “capitalist engine is first and last an engine of mass production which unavoidably also means production for the masses … It is the cheap cloth, the cheap cotton and rayon fabric, boots, motorcars and so on that are the typical achievements of capitalist production, and not as a rule improvements that would mean much to the rich man. Queen Elizabeth owned silk stockings. The capitalist achievement does not typically consist in providing more silk stockings for queens but in bringing them within reach of factory girls.

America is bringing not only silk stockings within the reach of factory girls, but also smart-phones, microwave ovens, air conditioning, automobiles with features unimaginable only thirty year ago; and all of these new things were brought about only because of what remains of a capitalist system.  Major innovation comes from the profit motive; no Steve Jobs ever dreamed up an iPod to “serve the common good.”

That’s a fundamental truth that escapes much of the population.  That’s probably a good explanation for the makeup (and lack of intelligence) of Congress these days.

Animal’s Daily Random Notes News

A few random tidbits from the morning news crawl:

Duck

Duck

Goose!

Wild Canada geese are delicious if prepared properly.  Some Canadians are adamant in defense of the big birds, however (language alert):

I Was Wrong (and I Bet You Were Too.)  Not only is the world today a better place than lots of folks think it is; the article here is also a description of the value of skepticism in critical thinking.  It’s important to know when you’re wrong and adjust your thinking; I know that if I’m ever wrong, if that far-away, unlikely day ever comes, I’ll be the first to admit it.

Billionaire Democratic donor: Bernie Sanders is a ‘disaster zone.’  And so the autophagia begins.  (He’s not wrong, though.)

Kamala Harris has a sincerity problem.  So what?  So does pretty much every other member of Congress.

And here’s something that maybe Harris ought to read.  Excerpt:

Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and America’s first black billionaire, praised President Donald Trump for the roaring economy and criticized Democrats for moving “too far left.”

“The party in my opinion, for me personally, has moved too far to the left,” Johnson told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble. “And for that reason, I don’t have a particular candidate (I’m supporting) in the party at this time. I think at the end of the day, if a Democrat is going to beat Trump, then that person, he or she, will have to move to the center and you can’t wait too long to do that.”

Oh, there is one candidate in the 2020 race who has the potential to unite Democrats – President Trump.  But given the show members of that party are putting on in their three-ring primary, I suspect that’s asking too much even of Donald J. Trump.

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

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Back in the Nineties, there was a guy who was Trump before Trump was, a successful, wealthy businessman who saw the country on a bad heading and who decided to do something about it.  He was Ross Perot, and while he’s mostly remembered for (probably) handing the 1992 election to Bill Clinton, he actually was pretty prescient on at least one issue – debt.  And he passed away yesterday.  RIP, Mr. Perot.  Excerpt:

A billionaire by his mid-50s after he sold a controlling interest in the data processing business he founded to General Motors for $2.5 billion, Perot’s foray into presidential politics made him one of the more colorful political figures of the 1990s.

His Texas twang, populist platform — he memorably railed against the North American Free Trade Agreement, warning of a “giant sucking sound” of American jobs to other countries if passed — and frequent TV appearances brought him wide recognition, and his 1992 campaign, in which he garnered nearly 19% of the vote and finished third behind Bill Clinton and incumbent President George H.W. Bush, remains one of the most successful third-party bids in American history.

For years, Bush blamed Perot for his defeat, saying in a 2012 HBO documentary that he believed Perot “cost me the election.” Election experts and scholarly research, however, has challenged that theory: The New York Times found Perot’s effect on the outcome of the election “appears to have been minimal,” and The Washington Post reported Clinton would have still won by a large margin if Perot hadn’t run.

I remember the 1992 election very well; the senior Bush managed to honk up his re-election effort even after his 90% approval ratings only a year earlier, at the end of the first Gulf War.  He ran a perfectly execrable campaign and was up against one of the best political operators of the late Twentieth century – I think Bill Clinton was a less-than-fair President and a lousy, undisciplined person but he was and is intelligent, glib and charismatic.  Perot took a lot of the blame for his loss, but I always thought that Bush 41 needed to lay the blame closer to home.

Perot, illustrating a problem.

Perot had a damn good point through most of this campaign:  That the nation was facing a debt problem that had potential to become an existential crisis.  We can argue the rightness of his claim all day, but now, today, we are facing 22 trillion in debt instead of 4 trillion, and the Imperial government seems less worried about this than ever.

Would a Perot Presidency have set us on a saner course?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  The Imperial City swamp is deep, cloying and filled with parasitic creatures.  But he tried, he came a damned site closer to succeeding than any third party candidate before or since, and when you get right down to it, that’s not a bad legacy.  Not bad at all.

Animal’s Daily Armed Lefties News

First off, go read another installment of my Allamakee County Chronicles over at Glibertarians!

Once that’s done, have a look at this; more on violent leftist groups arming themselves.  Excerpts, with my comments:

Now, let me be clear here. These people have as much a right as I do to arm themselves. Further, if they’re worried about the United States becoming a totalitarian state, they probably should train up and be ready to fight.

Interestingly, this is precisely what the Founders had in mind when they spoke of a “well-regulated” militia, as in, well-trained and well-armed.  I doubt these people appreciate the irony.

Where I have a problem is that these are also people who see fascists around every corner and are far too willing to resort to violence. The way someone once described it was as a knob versus a switch. People on the Left are like a knob, slowly increasing the violence, the severity increasing along the way. It starts with riots and ends with shooting.

This is frighteningly true.  Well, at least it should be frightening to these few hundred far-left nutbars who are suddenly seeing the appeal in learning to shoot a piece-of-crap SKS.  Because, they think they are suddenly going to be an overwhelming force of some kind, when the reality is likely to be quite different.

People on the Right, by contrast, are a switch. They’re perfectly peaceful until they get pushed too far, then the switch flips, and it’s time for the bugaloo.

Because of this.  I’m not pointing out the Right, either, just normal folks, with a strong leavening of ex-military, who don’t agree with violent intolerance.  They do indeed have a switch, with one side marked “peaceful discourse” and the other “kill fucking everybody.”  It will take a hell of a lot to flip that switch; but if some armed AntiProfa nuts start a shooting battle in the streets of, say, Portland, then it’s going to be Molly-bar-the-door.

Of course, I can already hear the criticism. There will be people who will look at videos of Antifa-aligned groups and laugh at them “training.” They’ll criticize it as little more than plinking or whatever.

The thing is, they’re actually training. They’re training as groups.

I don’t laugh at them.  However, I doubt there are enough of them to produce anything but a few incidents and a few Profa nuts sentenced to life prison terms, which will pretty much end their “resistance.”  But if they succeed in more than that…

…Well, they aren’t going to like how that ends up.

Animal’s Daily Random Notes News

Over at Glibertarians you can now read the latest in my series, Profiles in Toxic Masculinity!  This installment presents a character from the Old West who was quite a bit different than the movie depiction.

Meanwhile, here are some tidbits from the day’s news:

Democrats don’t want to talk about the economy.  That’s no surprise, since the economy is humming, and their proposals would be pure disaster.

Left-wing violence won’t stop with Andy Ngo.  Of course not; it didn’t start with him.  It won’t stop until one of two things happens:  The thugs of the contradictorially-named Antifa are arrested, tried and jailed, or some counter-protestors start exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.  That latter would lead to some really, really nasty scenes.

But this is a little over the top:  Progressives Are Leading America To Her Demise.  Progressives aren’t leading anything; the Democrats have a small majority in one house of Congress, and that only because they were smart enough to run moderate candidates in swing districts.  They do, however, have control of education, entertainment, the legacy news media and much of the bureaucracy, and that’s concerning.

On a lighter note, this guy has earned a Deluxe Platinum Man-Card.  For life.  Interestingly, black bears are actually more likely to attack you with predatory intent that grizzlies.  A griz may attack you because you’re too close to its cubs, or to a carcass he’s claimed, or just because you pissed him off.   But a black bear may well want to eat you.

And from the world of science – actual science, not pseudo-science nitwittery – GMO crops are yielding huge benefits in Spain and Portugal.  That ought to make some heads explode.

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

Rule Five Green Fascism Friday

Thanks again to blogger pal Doug Hagin over at The Daley Gator for the linkback!  If The Daley Gator isn’t on your blogroll, it ought to be.

Moving right along: Turns out the Green New Deal has some interesting similarities to a 20th century economic and political system that isn’t remembered fondly.  Excerpt:

Fascism was popular in the years between World War I and World War II. The exemplar was Benito Mussolini’s Italy. Mussolini was internationally admired and his tenets widely copied. Fascist and quasi-fascist governments took power in many countries, including Germany, Portugal, Romania, Argentina, and Spain.

Two important documents outline the GND. The first is a congressional resolution introduced by Occasio-Cortez and endorsed by a considerable contingent in Congress. The second is a FAQ sheet dated February 7, 2019, and formerly available on Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional website.

The documents show that the GND program is not solely, nor even principally, an environmental manifesto. It calls for, in the words of the FAQ sheet, “a massive transformation of our society.” Key elements of the program parallel fascism as preached and practiced between the world wars. Here are some examples:

First: Fascists recognize no limits to central government power. The GND sponsors seem to agree. They seek central government control over many aspects of life: health care, employment, housing, finance, manufacturing and other industry, agriculture and other land use. Not even private homes would be safe: Every home in America is to be “upgraded” to meet a range of criteria, including “affordability, comfort, and durability.”

To be fair, here are the dissimilarities:

Fascist manifestos generally call for dictatorship or oligarchical rule and the GND does not explicitly do so. But it would grant almost unlimited power to administrative agencies, and it professedly would duplicate how society was organized during World War II. The result almost certainly would be in a stronger version of the de facto executive rule prevailing then.

There’s an important distinction to be drawn between socialism and fascism, and a lot of people don’t even know what those terms actually mean.  Folks, especially poorly-informed younger people on the political Left, will sometimes toss around the term “fascist” like a six-year-old calling someone a “doody-head.”  They have no idea what the term means.  It’s just a meaningless insult.

What fascism actually is, is an economic system wherein most industry, the means of production, is still technically privately owned but production levels, prices and outputs are all controlled by government.  Is socialism, the middle-man is eliminated and the means of production is directly controlled by the government.

The Green New Deal would place government controls over vast swaths of the American economy.  The only real difference is that, instead of a Mussolini-style dictatorship, we would have a dictatorship of faceless bureaucrats; a massive Bureaucratic State in which the law would be whatever the particular NPC at some gray-steel government desk decides it is that day.

And that, True Believers, is the end of the United States as we know it.  Bernie Sanders, that daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont, may like that idea, but most folks won’t.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

In Venezuela, shit may be about to get serious, as defectors from that socialist shithole (but I repeat myself) country are arming themselves and planning to overthrow Maduro.  Excerpt:

Wearing camouflage shirts and combat boots, a Venezuelan militia group stands in formation in the Colombian city of Cucuta as their commander, a former Venezuelan army sergeant, outlines plans to seize towns across the border before heading to Caracas to help oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Eight men, who said they were defectors from Venezuelan police, army and intelligence services, had gathered near the two nations’ tense frontier, from where they said they will lead an attack aimed at overthrowing Maduro and handing the reins of power to opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Dubbing their planned offensive “Operation Venezuela,” the ex-army sergeant, Eddier Rodriguez, said there were around 150 men ready to take part with his group. Reuters was unable to independently confirm the status of the eight men or the size of the militia.

“Our goal is to liberate the country,” said Rodriguez, 37, who said he is currently working as a security guard in Bogota. “We’re troops willing to give our lives if necessary, all 150 of us.”

You can’t fault these guys for determination, ambition or guts, but they’re going to need a whole lot more than eight guys.

But this may be the start of something.  Venezuela’s neighbors can’t fix what’s wrong with that failed nation; the United States can’t and shouldn’t try to fix this mess.  The Venezuelan people need to fix their own nation, and a small militia like this could be the genesis of that.

There’s an old saying that holds that ‘the reason peasant revolts succeed so often is that there are just so damn many peasants.’  There’s a problem; the Venezuelan people have no arms with which to contest with their illegitimate government.  That right was never allowed in Venezuela, and since Hugo Chavez seized power, civilian gun ownership has been ever more tightly restricted.

But this rumored militia; they came from the Venezuelan military.  Presumably they took some weapons with them.  So far Maduro has kept a lid on the military, presumably because the top generals are getting as rich as Maduro himself, as the Top Men in socialist states always seems to do.  But the rank and file?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I see two endings for Maduro.  He can flee to Russia or Cuba, or face a rope and a lamp post.  His top generals, if they get caught on the wrong side, may end up joining him.

Goodbye, Blue… Tuesday.

Goodbye, Blue… Tuesday?

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove  for the Rule Five links.  Also please do check out the latest in my History of Bolt Guns series over at Glibertarians, which should be one of your daily reads.

Moving along:  The infamous Niccolò Machiavelli wrote in The Prince (1505 in Italian, 1513 in English) what has been translated as “Never do an enemy a small injury.”  In a similar vein, Ralph Waldo Emerson also was said to have observed to a young colleague “If you’re going to strike at the king, you must kill him.”

Congressional Democrats and investigators who have been pushing the “Russian collusion” narrative these last two years have failed to observe either of these cogent advisories, and now President Trump has, in the words Jed Babbin of the American Spectator, let the dogs out.  Excerpt:

The Democrats, stumbling down the road to impeachment, were stunned by President Trump’s executive order on Thursday.

The order is in two parts. First, it directs the intelligence agencies to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia counterintelligence investigation that was the vehicle used to spy on candidate Trump’s campaign and President Trump’s administration when it was new.

The second part of the order delegates to Barr the president’s authority to declassify — or reduce the level of classification of — anything that the intelligence agencies will give him.

Leaving on his trip to Japan on Friday, Trump said “We want to be very transparent, so as you know, I declassified everything. We are exposing everything.” He specifically mentioned that Barr would be looking at the involvement of several nations including the UK, Australia, and Ukraine.

Trump let the dogs out. The necessity for this action has been comprehensively clear for more than a year, and I have been advocating it for that long.

Well, plenty of folks in the Imperial City have been yelling about the need for transparency.  They should have been careful what they wished for, because the damned floodgates are sure as hell open  and we have the honey badger of Attorney Generals now who literally gives not one single fuck about what the press or the Imperial establishment thinks of him.  AG Barr will happily throw to the wolves anyone who is implicated of any shenanigans.

But let’s not delude ourselves that anyone senior in the Obama Administration or the campaign of Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I will face any consequences; laws and such things are only for the politically-incorrect and the peasantry nowadays.

Rule Five “Liar or Incompetent” Friday

That notorious right-wing rag, the Washington Post, is calling out Democrat Presidential candidate Cory Booker on his lies about gun laws.  Excerpt:

In a rather strange turn of events, the Washington Post fact checked Booker’s recent claims that toy guns are more regulated than actual firearms. And guess what was concluded? That’s right. That Booker’s take is straight up bogus. 

Let’s review the evidence, shall we?

“Most people don’t know that consumer product safety literally — one industry that’s been exempted is the gun lobby. So we have different regulations for toy guns and no regulations for the weapons on our streets that are killing so many people,” he said during a CNN interview

In a medium post that same day, Booker’s campaign repeated the talking point.

“Nowadays, there is more regulation over toy guns than real ones. While medicine, children’s toys, and any number of other consumer products are subject to regulation by the federal government, firearms are exempt. In other words, gun manufacturers have little incentive to make their products safer. Cory will work to close this loophole in federal oversight and allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure gun safety by making safety warnings and issuing recalls for faulty firearms.”

And:

There are a few points that Booker seems to forget and National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) spokesman Mark Oliva pointed them out to the Washington Post. 

“Our industry is the most heavily regulated industry in the country. No other industry is regulated at the federal, state and local level to the extent our industry is regulated, which include design and performance standards,” Oliva explained. “The federal agencies that regulate the industry include ATF, FBI, State Department, Commerce Department, IRS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. No other consumer product requires the licensed dealer to conduct a criminal-background check on a prospective purchaser before they can sell the product. Firearm manufacturers can be sued for product defect claims, although such claims are exceedingly rare given that there are over 400 million firearms in civilian possession in the United States.”

It should come as a surprise to no one that Booker, like most anti-gun pols (or anti-gun anyone) knows fuck-all about guns or the current state of gun laws.  But seriously, folks, how could anyone be so ignorant, so incompetent to hold the position of U.S. Senator, to claim with a straight face that toy guns are regulated more than actual guns?  Is he incompetent, or just a liar?

I’m inclined to say he’s a liar.  Here’s why.

What Booker is implying, of course, is the legal protection gun manufacturers have been accorded from liability for the criminal misuse of their product.  It’s true that no other industry has such a legal protection – why?  Because no other industry has ever needed it.  Nobody is proposing to sue General Motors or Ford for drunk driving deaths.

But Booker isn’t worried about product liability in the normally accepted sense.  What he wants is punitive liability, the ability to hold gun manufacturers liable for criminal misuse of their products, something he would not advocate for any other industry.  Why?

Because it’s an end run around the Second Amendment.  Most gun manufacturers are small companies; even the big ones aren’t terribly large as corporations go.  Booker and his ilk salivate at the idea that a few strategic lawsuits brought in the right areas could bankrupt them, even if they win, in our ridiculously twisted tort system.

Pols lying is nothing new.  But Booker’s lies are just too damned egregious.  Fortunately his Presidential campaign appears to be going nowhere.