Category Archives: Totty

Who doesn’t love pretty girls?

Rule Five I, Claudius Friday

National treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson presents an interesting historical comparison to President Trump.  Excerpt:

Claudius was an unusual emperor, the first to be born outside Italy, in Roman Gaul. Under the Augustan Principate, new Caesars—who claimed direct lineage from the “divine” Augustus—were usually rubber-stamped by the toadyish Senate. However, the outsider Claudius (who had no political training and was prevented by his uncle Tiberius from entering the cursus honorum), was brought into power by the Roman Praetorian Guard, who wanted a change from the status quo apparat of the Augustan dynasty.

The Roman aristocracy—most claiming some sort of descent from Julius Caesar and his grandnephew Octavian (Caesar Augustus)—had long written Claudius off as a hopeless dolt. Claudius limped, the result of a childhood disease or genetic impairment. His mother Antonia, ashamed of his habits and appearance, called the youthful Claudius “a monster of man.” He was likely almost deaf and purportedly stuttered.

That lifelong disparagement of his appearance and mannerisms probably saved Claudius’s life in the dynastic struggles during the last years of the Emperor Augustus and the subsequent reigns of the emperors Tiberius and Caligula.

The stereotyped impression of Claudius was that of a simpleton not to be taken seriously—and so no one did. Claudius himself claimed that he feigned acting differently in part so that he would not be targeted by enemies before he assumed power, and to unnerve them afterwards.

Contemporary critics laughed at his apparent lack of eloquence and rhetorical mastery, leading some scholars to conjecture that he may have suffered from Tourette syndrome or a form of autism. The court biographer Suetonius wrote that Claudius “was now careful and shrewd, sometimes hasty and inconsiderate, occasionally silly and like a crazy man.”

Sound familiar?

It is an interesting comparison.  I’ve read a fair amount of Roman history myself, although most of my reading has to do with the Republic, not the Empire, as in prior to the second Roman Civil War.  But I agree that there are parallels between President Trump and Claudius.

Both were/are political outsiders.

Both were/are considered rude and uncouth by the political elites of their times.

Both were/are the subject of relentless attacks by those same political elites.

Of course, there is one major difference; President Trump was elected to office by the citizens according to a republican Constitution in place for nearly two hundred and fifty years.  Claudius was installed in office by the Praetorian Guard, over the objections of the Roman Senate, who were the last badly weakened vestige of the old Republic.

No comparison is perfect.  But this is an interesting one, and it’s important to note the road the Romans went down – and it’s not dissimilar (especially in fiscal matters) than the road the United States is on now.

Rule Five MYOB Friday

Robert Heinlein once noted that “ninety percent of all human wisdom is the ability to mind your own business.”  As usual, Heinlein was right.

So why don’t more folks take that to heart?

I’ve said this before in these virtual pages, many times, usually when discussing social issues:  I really don’t give a good goddamn what people do, as long as they leave me alone.  That applies to all sorts of things, from marriage to marijuana.  The problem with holding such a philosophy is the fact that too many folks don’t extend the same courtesy in return.

That’s the problem with espousing libertarian values.  Everybody seems to like the “nobody gets to tell you what to do” side of it, but few are willing to accept the “you don’t get to tell anyone else what to do, either.”

Examples on both sides of the political spectrum abound, but the most egregious examples these days come from the left:

  • On college campuses across the nation, conservative speakers are threatened and shouted down.
  • Pols on the left are making noises that “hate speech” isn’t protected by the First Amendment.
  • Intrusive and unconstitutional gun control is a plank in the Democratic Party platform.
  • Proposed restrictions on everything from SUVs to housing come from the left.

To be fair, AG Sessions is making noises about using Imperial power to crack down on those states that have legalized marijuana.  And GOP pols are consistently against legalizing sex workers.

And both sides still favor using the tax code to force you to submit your personal financial business to the Imperial government every year, in detail, in the laughable guise of a “voluntary” self-assessment.

Here’s my take on most issues:  If what you’re doing doesn’t infringe on anyone else, it’s not their business.  If you don’t like what someone is saying, don’t listen.  If you don’t like SUVs, don’t buy one.  If you think tobacco, or marijuana, or alcohol is harmful, don’t partake.  If you disapprove of gay marriage, don’t marry a person of the same sex.  And if you think prostitution is immoral, don’t visit a prostitute.

It’s really very simple.

But somebody else does those things, it doesn’t affect you.  You may not approve of other people doing those things.  But…  mind your own damn business.

Government seems to be filled with busybodies of every stripe.  I suppose that’s to be expected; one wouldn’t become a pol if one didn’t have an irresistible urge to stick one’s nose into other folks’ business.  Now, if your neighbor doesn’t mind his own business, it’s annoying.  When politicians propose using men with guns to force themselves into your business, that’s frightening.  Your neighbor can be an unwelcome intrusion, but government can send men with guns out to compel your compliance.

It’s increasingly a tough world for those of us who just want to be left alone.

Rule Five Thousands Standin’ Around Friday

I travel by air, well, a lot, and I haven’t personally had any issues with the Transportation Security Agency (TSA.)  Maybe I’m lucky.  Maybe having a Pre-Check pass spares me some of that.  But plenty of people have had issues with TSA, and they aren’t improving.  Excerpt:

“Food can trigger lots of false alarms because of the density of some items,” the Wall Street Journal recently reported about the Transportation Security Administration’s justifications for imposing yet another round of tighter and more-intrusive airport carry-on baggage restrictions. “Chocolate, for example, can look like some types of explosives to X-ray machines.”

As a result, some airline passengers around the country—soon to be all of us—are being asked to remove such items as books, electronic devices, and food from carry-on luggage for separate screening.

This makes an odd sort of sense (not really). An internal investigation of the TSA, leaked in 2015, found that many types of explosives apparently look to agents quite a bit like chocolate. Guns seem to closely resemble Tom Clancy novels in their eyes. Knives may be easily mistaken by the thin uniformed line against especially dim terrorists for those fuzzy troll dolls, though that part is a bit unclear. Well, maybe that’s not all true. But such confusion would explain why “TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests, with Red Team members repeatedly able to get potential weapons through checkpoints.”

“In one test an undercover agent was stopped after setting off an alarm at a magnetometer,” ABC News noted, “but TSA screeners failed to detect a fake explosive device that was taped to his back during a follow-on pat down.”

Well, they should obviously have used chocolate in the test. Maybe a few of those suspicious-looking Toblerone bars kids sell door to door would have set their spidey-senses tingling.

After that embarrassing failure, the TSA’s working theory seems to be, if you make everybody dump their sandwiches, tablets, and paperbacks into separate bins at the security checkpoint, we vastly increase the chance of intercepting backpack nukes and rocket-propelled grenades, which themselves could be mistaken for sandwiches, tablets, and paperbacks. Sure, the guards may still need some guidance as to which confiscated items are safe for noshing, but the security measures will be covering all bases.

Maybe one day someone will have a sudden rush of brains to the head and re-institute the Fourth Amendment at the nation’s airports.

We talked (well, I wrote, you read) about privatizing air traffic control just the other day.  Why not privatize airport security as well?  As recently as 2001, plenty of airports contracted security to private companies.  As part of the post-9/11 pants-shitting over security issues, the Imperial government implemented our current security theater.  New York’s Chuck Schumer, that master purveyor of malapropisms, claimed “to professionalize, you Federalize.”

Schumer’s statement here is the purest form of corral litter, suitable only for enriching lawns.  But then he has a long history of such.

Security theater isn’t just in place at airports, of course.  A couple of years back I was summoned to the Arapahoe County courts for jury duty.  On my way in to do my civic duty, I had to pass through an Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office security point.  In my pocket, I had a tiny Swiss Army knife – one of the little $10 models with a nail file and a <1″ blade.  A Sheriff’s deputy made me take it out to leave in my truck, stating it was classified as a “weapon.”

“Seriously?” I said.  “This?”

“I know,” the deputy replied.  “I don’t make the rules.”  He looked embarrassed.  I know I would have been, in his place.

But back to the TSA.  Why don’t we just chuck the TSA while we’re chucking the Imperial air-traffic control system?  Privatize the whole shebang – I’ll bet next week’s invoice that airport security will be faster, more efficient and more thorough.

If that pisses off Chuck Schumer, well, consider that a bonus.

Better yet – make one more thing a part of the security contract:  Take a few lessons from the Israelis.  While our TSA folks look for weapons, the Isreali security folks look for terrorists.  They profile – oh, hell yeah, they profile – and their agents are trained to spot behavioral cues, to spot when someone is lying to them.

Let’s convert our airport security theater into something that’s actually effective.

Rule Five Free Speech Friday

The Mayor of (liberal) Portland is responding to a stabbing by attacking the First Amendment.  Excerpt:

In the wake of a Portland stabbing that left two men dead, mayor Ted Wheeler is demanding that the Federal Government cancel two rallies in his city. One of the rallies is a pro-Trump free speech rally, and the other is a march against Sharia. These are both obviously causes that go against American values and that present a clear and present danger to society, at least in the mind of a left-wing mayor.

The killings in Portland were horrific, they ended the lives of two great Americans, one was a recent college graduate with a promising future, the other an Army Veteran with a heart dedicated to serving his community. Both of these men, along with another young man who is in critical condition, stepped into a situation to defend two young women who were simply minding their own business, and were being verbally abused by a man on the light-rail. Instead of honoring the sacrifices of these men, mayor Ted Wheeler is using the situation to further a political agenda, with little basis in fact.

The first error the mayor makes is associating this stabbing with “right-wing terrorism”. Although the mainstream media has largely reported this to be the case, there is evidence to the contrary. The stabber, Jeremy Joseph Christian, was an ardent Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein supporter, as can be found in screenshots from his Facebook page. The tone of his Facebook posts indicate that the man clearly has major mental health issues, and do not seem to indicate any right-wing sentiments.

Despite all of this evidence that the man who committed the attack was not a Trump-supporting anti-sharia advocate, the mayor has targeted those two rallies, citing hate speech as a reason to shut them down.

Let me state this very bluntly:  Ted Wheeler is a fucking idiot.

Let’s set aside Wheeler’s stupidly asinine characterization of the June 4 “Trump Free Speech Rally” and the “March Against Sharia” that is scheduled for June 10 as “hate speech.”  It may be unpleasant speech, but it’s not hateful.  And even if it is, it is still protected by the First Amendment.

It has become a too-common attitude that hate speech is, for some unknown reason, not protected by the First Amendment.  Just for the record, here is that amendment in full:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Got that?  Congress (and by dint of the 14th Amendment, other levels of government) cannot abridge the freedom of speech.  Pretty plain language, right?  So is the Second Amendment (A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed) but that hasn’t stopped pols of every stripe from trying to infringe on that very enumerated right.

Now the totalitarians have moved on to the First Amendment.

Here’s a clue for Mayor Wheeler and his ilk:  The First Amendment not only tolerates “hate speech” (an essentially meaningless term) it is useless if it does not tolerate, even protect, “hate speech.”

Free speech means you have to let Nazis and Klansmen have rallies.

Free speech means you have to let the Black Panthers shout racist epithets.

Free speech means you have to let the assholes from Westboro Baptist Church shout “God hates fags.”

Free speech means that anti-Sharia and pro-Trump rallies are protected, no matter whether or not some left-wing loony went off on an anti-Muslim murder spree on a train.

If anyone is not free to speak, then nobody is free to speak.  That’s what the First Amendment means.  We all live in a “free speech zone;” it’s the United States of America.

We forget that at our peril.

Rule Five Man Test Friday

On the Friday of this Memorial Day weekend during which we commemorate fallen heroes, and due to the current upswing in appearances of Beta Males, I’ve decided to re-run the classic Animal Man Test.   Are you an Alpha Male?  Take the test and find out.  Count one for every point you can answer in the affirmative; your total score is, well, your total score.  Grading is at the end.  Feel free to post your results in the comments.

Personal Hygiene
1. I use soap in the shower. A bar of soap.
2. I do not use body washes.
3. I do not trim or pluck my eyebrows.
4. I do not get manicures.
5. I do not put any lotions, oils, balms or creams on my body unless there is some purpose either medicinal or sexual.
6. I have a “haircut,” not a “hair style.”
7. I can wash my hair with soap and a washcloth.
8. I do not wear cologne. Perfume is for girls. Aftershave is acceptable, as long as it’s Old Spice.
9. I can go from ‘asleep’ to ‘ready to leave for work/movie/date’ in under fifteen minutes.

Personal Style
10. I own a pair of cowboy boots or engineer boots.
11. I own more than one pair of cowboy boots and/or engineer boots.
12. I own a cowboy hat.
13. I own more than one cowboy hat.
14. I own more than one cap with a logo from either a car company, heavy equipment manufacturer, or an agricultural supplier.
15. I do not use an umbrella. If it rains, I have caps and hats.
16. I know the difference between a cap and a hat.
17. I own a leather jacket.
18. I own a black leather jacket.
19. I have scars.
20. I have scars that I brag about.
21. I have scars from gunshot wounds.
22. I carry a pocketknife.
23. I hang stuff on my belt.

Driving
24. I can drive a manual transmission.
25. I can drive a motorcycle.
26. I can drive a commercial truck.
27. I can operate almost any vehicle on two, four or more wheels, from a motorbike to a five-ton truck.
28. I can operate tracked machinery (i.e. Caterpillar.)
29. I can operate a light airplane.
30. I own a truck.
31. I own a four-wheel drive truck.
32. My truck has branch scrapes and rock chips. Lots of them.
33. I carry jumper cables in my truck.
34. I carry a high-lift jack in my truck.
35. I carry a tow strap in my truck.
36. I carry an axe in my truck.
37. I carry a gun in my truck.

Outdoors
38. I can navigate with map and compass.
39. I can navigate by orienteering.
40. I can run a chainsaw.
41. I can start a fire without match or lighter.
42. I am proficient with a pistol
43. I am proficient with a rifle.
44. I am proficient with a shotgun.
45. I can make improvised traps.
46. I can capture, kill, prepare and cook wildlife.
47. I can catch fish with purchased fishing tackle.
48. I can catch fish with fishing tackle improvised from materials obtained in the wild.
49. I can build an improvised shelter with materials obtained in the wild.

Entertainment
50. I do not see “chick” movies unless there is a chance that I might get sex afterwards by so doing.
51. John Wayne is, very nearly, a deity.
52. I love Westerns. Especially John Wayne Westerns.
53. I enjoy movies that feature:
•    Hot vampire chicks in black leather.
•    Hot any kind of chicks in black leather.
•    Hot any kind of chicks.
•    Killer androids.
•    Killer aliens.
•    Zombies.
•    Hot vampire android alien zombie chicks.
54. Tom Cruise is the result of a Communist plot to demoralize America by subjecting us to crappy acting.

Food
55. Vegetarian, my ass. Give me a steak.
56. The four major food groups are: Steak, pizza, beer and cheeseburgers.
57. Real men eat any damn thing they want.
58. I love bacon with near-religious passion.
59. All foods should be served with home fries and/or corn bread.
60. Everything’s better with Tabasco.
Scoring:

Total up the number of question you can honestly answer “yes.”
55+ – You’re a manly man in the manliest form.

50+ – Your testosterone level is normal, but you’re not blowing up anyone’s skirts.

< 50 – Oh, for crying out loud, cowboy up already.

Notes on my own score:
Of course I scored 60/60, I wrote the test.
5. Trust me, you do not want to know.
14. Mine include Ford, CAT Diesel Power, J&W Meat Processing and Pioneer Seed.
21. Yes, I really do.
29. I can, but it’s been a long time. A looooonnnng time.