Category Archives: Totty

Who doesn’t love pretty girls?

Rule Five Campaign Speech Friday

As this is a busy week with many family commitments, and as this is an election year, today I will present a rerun of my 2016 Presidential campaign speech.  As always, if anyone is offended by any of the statements in this hypothetical speech, too damn bad.

Ladies and Gentlemen – friends – Americans – citizens.

I stand before you on this two hundred and twenty-eighth year of our Republic. I stand before you to announce my intention to seek the Presidency of our Republic. Most important of all, I stand before you to tell you why I intend to seek this thankless, stressful job, and what I intend to do with it.

I’d like to take this time to tell you the undying principles upon which I will base my policies, and upon which I will base legislation that I will propose to Congress:

First: Liberty.

Liberty means you are free to do as you please, so long as you cause no harm, physical or financial, to anyone else.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “If it neither picks my pocket nor break my arm, it’s not my concern.” This is a coin with two sides: Nobody gets to tell you what to do, but neither do you get to tell anyone else what to do.  Marry who you like. Work where and how you like. Start businesses and create new products and services are you like. It’s nobody else’s business – and it sure as hell isn’t the government’s business – until you hurt someone else. We currently live in a nation where you are required to obtain permission from a government bureaucrat to cut hair, to paint fingernails, to sell lemonade. I call bullshit. This has to stop.

Second: Property.

That means the following: The fruits of your labors are yours. They do not belong to some government bureaucrat, nor to some shouting agitator, nor to some ivory tower academic. They are yours. Government, to be effective at the few things they are required – absolutely required – to do, must tax you for some small amount of the fruits of your labors, but that taxation must be strictly limited, strictly fair, simply defined, and some must be collected from every single citizen. Everybody contributes. Nobody skates. There are too many in the nation who have no skin in the game, and our elections have become auctions, with candidates falling over each other promising voters more of other peoples’ property. I call bullshit. This has to stop.

Third: Accountability.

Government, at all levels, serves you. You do not serve the government. I stand here today not as someone seeking to be your master, but as someone applying for a job – and you will be my employers. I am applying for the job of CEO of the world’s largest Republic, and you, the citizens of the Republic, are the world’s largest Board of Directors. I answer to you, not the other way around. Every single government employee, from the President to the third assistant dogcatcher in Leaf Springs, Arkansas, answers to you. And so as one of my first acts in office I will personally visit every office, every facility, and every installation that falls under the control of the Executive Branch. I will personally speak with the Federal employees at those offices, facilities and installations. Any employee that cannot satisfactorily answer two questions: “What is your purpose? What are you doing right now?” will be fired on the spot. Any Executive Branch employee at any level who breaks the law, any law, will be fired and prosecuted. Government employees have, for too long, been held to different standards than the electorate. I call bullshit. This has to stop.

Fourth: Efficiency.

The Federal government has become a bloated Colossus. Washington is littered with extra-constitutional agencies, the purpose of which is to regulate, to dictate, to interfere with the free citizenry. There is no constitutional justification for many of them, and many of them actually work at cross purposes. The result is that every single business enterprise in the nation has to have an army of accountants and attorneys to help them navigate the twisted pathways of regulation and taxation; that every citizen has to puzzle through pages upon pages of Federal guidance in so prosaic an action as filing their annual tax return. The Federal government has only a few, a very few, legitimate roles: To protect private property, to ensure liberty, to protect the citizens from foreign interference. That’s all. But not today; no, not today. The Federal government has indeed become a bloated Colossus, but I intend to cut it down to size. As one of my first acts in office I will call upon Congress to eliminate the Federal Departments of Commerce, of Energy, of Education, and any others that I deem to be extra-constitutional and that add no value to the proper roles of government. Our government is too big. I call bullshit. This has to stop.

So, if you value liberty and property, and want accountability and efficiency in your public servants, vote for me. If you want Free Shit, vote for someone else. That’s all.

Disclaimer:  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have absolutely no intention of ever running for any elected office.  I’d sooner shovel shit – the odor is better and at least shoveling shit is honest work.  But if I were to seek office, this would pretty much sum up my platform, with one addition:  If I sought and won the top spot, within my first 100 days as President I would submit a budget to Congress that consisted of four words:  “Fuck you, cut spending.”

Rule Five Fleecing The Rubes Friday

Hucksters of every sort have almost certainly been around since the beginning of spoken language, but it takes a special sort of asshole to claim he needs a $54 million dollar jet to spread God’s word.  Excerpt:

The most frightening thing about Jesse Duplantis is that I think he truly believes what he’s saying.

I mean, at some deep, deep level, even a guy who wears a yellow plaid shirt under a navy blue blazer is woke enough to realize that having a conversation with God—and, by the way, God needs to improve His syntax—having a conversation with God about how Jesse needs a $54 million jet to spread the Gospel is, among other things, insane.

(Quick digression: As recently as the ’50s, anyone claiming to get messages from God was immediately booked into the Rusk State Hospital for the Feeble-Minded. Today these guys get international TV shows.)

By this time you’ve probably heard about Jesse’s appeal for help in granting God’s wish that he start using a Falcon 7X corporate jet for church business. His three previous multimillion-dollar jets have proved inadequate for the spreading of the Prosperity Gospel because their range requires Jesse to stop and refuel, thereby wasting God’s valuable time. Jesse’s video went viral and attracted all kinds of attention from the secular press.

What an asshole.

There’s more:

But why do these guys need jets? They all have them. In fact, it’s not uncommon for their churches to be built next door to a private airstrip.

They need jets for the same reason they need isolated locations for their churches, which are really elaborate television studios. Jesse Duplantis’ “church” is in Destrehan, an upscale suburb of New Orleans, where he lives in a church-funded mansion. Kenneth Copeland’s “church” is in Newark, Texas, a lakeside exurb of Fort Worth.

They need out-of-the-way locations for their church services, and they need private jets for their travel, because they can’t stand to be close to the starving, desperate people they take money from.

Of course not; sooner or later they might run into someone who got wise to the scam, and that someone might just administer a well-deserved black eye or cracked jaw.

But this particular asshole isn’t alone.  There are dozens of these sorts of hucksters on television and radio, fleecing the rubes who mostly can’t afford to be fleeced, and living high on the hog.  Occasionally one of them is busted and goes to jail, but not nearly often enough.

Back in the early 1980s, when I was married to my first wife, her grandfather – as kind and thoughtful a man as ever lived – used to send money to the detestable Jim Bakker.  I used to try to talk him out of it.  “But he needs the money,” Grandpa would reply.  “He does good work.”

“What good work?” I asked him.  My ex’s Grandpa was usually unable to name specifics.

He didn’t live to see Bakker thrown in the pokey, where he richly deserved to be.  I was glad of that much; Grandpa M. would have been hurt and disappointed, and he was at least spared that.

But there is something especially detestable about liars ripping people off in the name of religion – and bear in mind, I’m an atheist saying this.  This fucking conman Duplantis belongs in a jail cell, not in a private jet.

Rule Five Government Theft Friday

Let me begin by saying this:  Any government elected, appointed or hired official who supports civil asset forfeiture should be tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail.  This family had their life savings stolen – yes, fucking stolen- by an illegitimate act of a government gone mad.  Excerpt:

Rustem Kazazi, 64, was headed to his native Albania to visit relatives in October, according to a federal lawsuit that he, his wife, Lejla, and son, Erald, filed this week in Ohio against the agency and others.
The suit alleges Customs and Border Protection used civil forfeiture laws to take the money without arresting or charging anyone with a crime.

Kazazi had planned to spend six months in Albania and buy a vacation home for retirement on the Adriatic coast, according to court documents. He also wanted to help members of his extended family, who are struggling, the court documents said.

To make the transactions easier and avoid bank fees, he reduced his family’s life savings to cash, packed it in a carry-on and brought it with him to the airport, according to the family’s lawsuit.

“He counted the cash several times, separated it into three stacks of $20,000, $19,100 and $19,000 each, and then, after counting again, labeled each stack with the amount it contained. He then placed the three stacks in a single envelope and wrote ‘$58,100’ on the outside,” the documents state.

Transportation Security Administration agents spotted the money inside Kazazi’s bag as he went through security on October 27 at Cleveland’s airport to catch a flight to Newark, New Jersey, before flying out to Albania, according to court documents. TSA called Customs and Border Protection agents, who took Kazazi’s passport and driver’s license, according to the filing.

He was put in a small private room for a body search, the documents state.

Kazazi speaks limited English, according to the lawsuit.

Customs agents “interrogated him without a translator, and then seized his family’s life savings without charging anyone with a crime,” according to the Institute for Justice, whose attorney, Wesley Hottot, is representing the Kazazi family in the lawsuit.

So, Mr. Kazazi – who is in the United States legally, legally worked and contributed to our economy and his community, wanted to take some of the resources he earned back to his country of origin to buy a home their and oh, by the way, help his family.  His resources.  Resources he earned, legally.

And government officials just seized the money.  Because fuck you, that’s why.

In what sane world are civil forfeiture laws not a gross violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments?  Mr. Kazazi was subjected to an unwarranted search, and had a considerable amount of property, the aforementioned $58,100, stolen by agents of the Imperial government with no due process.  Giving him a receipt for an unspecified amount of U.S. currency was just adding insult to injury.

This kind of horseshit should have been slam-dunked by the courts years ago.  Why hasn’t it been?

One my suspect the answer:  A court decision against this practice would dry up a big source of unearned increment (excrement?) for various levels of government.

If you’ve ever looked for reasons to strip government of power, this practice should be high up on the list.

Rule Five Progressive Utopia Friday

Have a look at the reality of leftist utopias from someone who lived in one.  Excerpt:

I grew up in one of the most progressive societies in the history of humanity. The gap between the rich and poor was tiny compared to the current gulf between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ we find across much of the West. Access to education was universal and students were paid to study and offered free accommodation. Healthcare was available to all and free at the point of use. Racial tensions were non-existent, with hundreds of different ethnic groups living side by side in harmony under the mantra of ‘Friendship of the Peoples.’ Women’s equality was at the very heart of Government policy. According to the prevailing ideology “all forms of inequality were to be erased through the abolition of class structures and the shaping of an egalitarian society based on the fair distribution of resources among the people.”

You are probably wondering whether the idyllic nation from which I hail is Sweden or Iceland. It was the Soviet Union.

And:

Low levels of wealth and income inequality were achieved by making everyone poor and restricting access to basic goods such as food, domestic appliances, and basic clothing. The ’emancipated’ women of the USSR were denied the evil fruits of misogynistic Western civilisation such as tampons, washing machines, and the ability to feed their children. And while healthcare provision was universal, it was also universally poor and entirely corrupt. Only people with influence, connections, and the ability to pay bribes could actually obtain good treatment.

University places which paid students to study were subject to the same corruption with examiners able to solicit bribes and favours. In exchange for an education, you forfeited the right to a future career of your own choosing—instead, you would be allocated a job by the state system, often in a completely different part of the country.

This is the inevitable result of socialism, folks, followed by economic collapse and either a peaceful restructuring in to a more market-based economy (see eastern Europe n the Nineties) or a complete meltdown (see Venezuela, right now.)  In the first case you get a reasonable transition that leads to more personal freedom, more economic freedom and greater prosperity.  In the latter, you get increasingly brutal government crackdowns and people starving and, due to increasing desperation, violent revolution.

The fall of the Soviet Union was somewhat in the middle, with an initially more liberal (in the classical sense) government slowly sliding back to authoritarianism under Czar Putin.  But it’s the comments on “equality” in this article that bring up that inevitable truism, that capitalism presents the equal distribution of opportunity, while socialism presents the equal distribution of misery.

Don’t expect this lesson to sink in with American lefties, though.  The counter-argument always seems to be that all of those failed socialist experiments just didn’t have the right Top Men in charge.  “They didn’t do it right.  We will.”

Uh huh…

This isn’t a cultural battle that will ever be won or lost, no matter how convinced either side is of the rightness of their cause.  And it’s sad, because one side is arguing for freedom, and the other, servitude.  There are elements of this longing for control in both major American political parties, sadly, and in pols of every description.  Robert Heinlein said it best:

Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

Remember that next election season.

Rule Five Oncological Friday

No, we’re not talking about human cancer; we’re talking about cancer in wild animals, and whether human activity may be causing it.  Excerpt:

As humans, we know some of the factors that can cause cancer to develop in our bodies. Smoking, poor diets, pollution, chemicals used as additives in food and personal hygiene products, and even too much sun are some of the things that contribute to an increased risk of cancer.

But, are human activities also causing cancer in wild animals? Are we oncogenic — a species that causes cancer in other species?

Researchers from Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences think so and are urgently calling for research into this topic. In a paper published online today in Nature Ecology & Evolution, Mathieu Giraudeau and Tuul Sepp, both postdoctoral researchers in the lab of ASU life sciences Professor Kevin McGraw, say that humans are changing the environment in a way that causes cancer in wild animal populations.

“We know that some viruses can cause cancer in humans by changing the environment that they live in — in their case, human cells — to make it more suitable for themselves,” said Sepp. “Basically, we are doing the same thing. We are changing the environment to be more suitable for ourselves, while these changes are having a negative impact on many species on many different levels, including the probability of developing cancer.” 

How can this happen?

Sepp said: “It is already known in human studies that obesity and nutrient deficiency can cause cancer, but these issues have been mostly overlooked in wild animals. At the same time, more and more wild species are in contact with anthropogenic food sources. In humans, it’s also known that light at night can cause hormonal changes and lead to cancer. Wild animals living close to cities and roads face the same problem — there is no darkness anymore. For example, in birds, their hormones — the same that are linked to cancer in humans — are affected by light at night. So, the next step would be to study if it also affects their probability of developing tumors.”

OK, while the jury (hah) seems to still be out on this, let’s say that continued research does uncover increased rates of cancer in mammals and birds caused by human agriculture and nighttime lighting.  If that is at some point known to be the case, I would have one question:

And therefore, what?

Are we to stop growing agricultural crops?  Shut off all our streetlights, yardlights, airport runway lights, house lighting, traffic lights, and the bazillion other ways humans have chosen to illuminate the dark hours?

This strikes me as research with no real purpose.  Speaking as a biologist and an outdoor enthusiast, I am certainly all in favor of taking proper care of our environment and not carelessly doing damage to populations of wildlife; but this if this is shown to be a problem, I can’t see how it can be solved.

Every species in the billions of years life has been on this planet has had effects on other species in their environment.  Humans are unique in that we are aware of our impact and care about it.  But there are limits; we have to have food crops and we are going to use artificial lighting in hours of darkness.  That’s not going to change.  Perhaps the work of McGraw and his team will find some reasonable ways to attenuate that effect, but we’ll never eliminate it.