Category Archives: Totty

Who doesn’t love pretty girls?

Rule Five Fatness and Health Friday

Before you ask, yes, my choice of this subject to be set against the usual toothsome Rule Five Friday totty was deliberate.  This appeared last week from PJMedia’s David Solway:  Why Is Fat a Feminist Issue?  Excerpt:

According to Gillian Brown in a recent blog post “Why is Fat a Feminist Issue?” from which I take my title, “Fat women are an embodiment of exactly what patriarchal society does not want women to be: visible.” Heft, she implies, is female revenge against a tyrannical masculinity that wishes to erase women from the public square, to obliterate them from view. Her thesis is so counterintuitive as to be visibly preposterous. Men have been promoting the presence of women in all the spheres of public, professional and institutional life for generations, often to their own material disadvantage. Men obviously enjoy looking at women, the more visible the better. Many husbands are quite delighted with their beautiful wives—I know I am—and happy for all the world to look upon them with appreciation. Men in non-repressive cultures are not prone to lock up their women, barricade them in some version of Bluebeard’s Castle or drape them in pup tents.

Brown’s argument becomes even more ridiculous when one recalls that feminists also object to the indigestible horror of catcalling and the malevolent prevalence of the “male gaze,” which would be impossible if women were rendered invisible. You can’t have it both ways but that never stopped a feminist. Not content with glossing over a blatant contradiction, Brown goes on to claim that fat men need not worry since they “are not expected to look aesthetically pleasing”—the perks of patriarchy. The statement is manifestly dishonest. But for Brown and her innumerable congeners, fat is a feminist issue. Fat should not be off-putting. Indeed, fat is fab, if we only knew it.

Brown’s arguments are, of course, utter horseshit.

Here’s the thing, and it’s a thing most rational people understand:  Being grossly overweight is unhealthy.  It’s often but not always a sign of a lack of self-discipline, and I say that as a guy with the not-too-unusual gut of a middle-aged man who makes his living at a desk.  It’s often a sign of a lack of self-discipline and, when so, it’s a sign of lack of regard for one’s own health.

There are no damned “gender issues” involved.  Excess weight is as unhealthy for men as for women – maybe more so, since men are more prone to cardiac issues and those are frequently aggravated by overweight.  According to the CDC, the risks of overweight include:

  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver)
  • Low quality of life
  • Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning

No patriarchy required.  Just medical science and a healthy dose of good sense.

The article concludes:  As noted, Gillian Brown argues that men believe “women should not take up space.” It seems that one of the ways in which many feminists are determined to fight the patriarchy, trash the ideal of aesthetic beauty, justify the bizarre and renovate the culture in their image is precisely…to take up space.

It’s not space so much as bandwidth.  These hysterics aren’t interested in changing the culture of a nation that, by and large, ignores them.  They’re just trying for attention.

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.

Rule Five Failed Coup Friday

This came out almost a week ago over at Human Events, but I needed a few days to digest it before commenting.  Excerpt:

This is a story about a legal chess match played for the highest stakes imaginable: Trump’s Presidency – and whether it would be under the cloud of an endless special counsel investigation – hinged on the result.

John Dowd, Ty Cobb, Jay Sekulow, and the rest of President Trump’s personal legal team were on one side. Mueller, Andrew Weissmann, and the Special Counsel’s office were on the other.

The dispute was a year-long struggle over the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2).

No judge ever ruled on who was right about the meaning of this obstruction statute. No formal decision was ever rendered.

All the same, Trump’s legal team prevailed on February 14, 2019.

That’s the day William Pelham Barr was confirmed as United States Attorney General.

FRAMING THE DISPUTE

So why, exactly, was the interpretation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) so contested?

Let’s start by looking the statute, excerpted here:

(c) Whoever corruptly—

(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or

(2) otherwise obstructs, influences or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so [is guilty of the crime of obstruction]. (Emphasis added).

Why was this so important to Mueller? Because most of the obstruction statutes couldn’t possibly apply to President Trump’s behavior, as they require that a defendant obstruct a “pending proceeding” before an agency or tribunal.

It is settled law that an FBI investigation does not constitute such a proceeding. But § 1512(c) applies to acts of obstruction done with the intent of impairing evidence for a future, potential proceeding. That made it potentially usable against the President.

Second – the language of subsection (c)(2), read in isolation, is *very* broad. Removing subsection (1), it reads like this:

“Whoever corruptly… obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so [is guilty of the crime of obstruction].”

If taken to its extreme, it could be read to cover any act – no matter how lawful – that has the effect of impeding a federal investigation. That would include, for example, asking an FBI director to lay off an investigation, or firing an FBI director. The Mueller Report revealed that Mueller interpreted § 1512(c)(2) in just such a broad fashion.

Please do read the whole thing, and as I did, take some time to digest it.  This analysis is well worth bending a few neurons over.  Go on, read it right now – I’ll wait right here.

All done?  OK, let’s go on.

What this article points out, to my thinking, is how narrowly we avoided a legal coup d’état intended to remove a duly elected, sitting President.  This wasn’t Watergate, after all, where there was an unambiguous, unmistakable cover-up after which President Nixon’s own party told him he had to resign.  This was an utterly partisan exercise intended to undo the 2016 Presidential election, which many in the Imperial City establishment felt hadn’t gone the way it was “supposed” to go.

Here’s the conclusion:

When the June 2018 Barr memorandum became public in December, many Democrats tried to weaponize it against him. But because Barr’s memo was specific to a particular statute, and was perfectly defensible legal analysis, it was hard for the Democrats to get any traction.

In hindsight, however, it’s clear that Barr was the assassin Democrats feared.

Within six weeks of his confirmation, the Mueller probe was over.

When Mueller equivocated on obstruction in his report, Barr affirmatively determined that there was no viable obstruction charge.  In a twist, Barr didn’t rely on a narrow reading of § 1512(c)(2); instead, he exploited the malleability of Mueller’s theory and determined that Trump lacked the requisite intent to commit obstruction.

At the same time, he made clear during the press conference that he didn’t agree with Mueller’s legal theories; one has to suspect he was referring to the debate over § 1512(c)(2).

In any event, Mueller and Weissman had lost the chess match. Trump and his team had won.

No Collusion. No Obstruction. No more Mueller Investigation.

Checkmate.

Indeed.  But here’s my worry:  Corruption in government only grows.  It is the nature of government to grow ever more intrusive, ever more corrupt, and it is in the nature of those in power to seek to retain that power.  And it’s also increasingly obvious that the real power in the Imperial City is not in the hands of the elected officials with their increasingly-unhinged kabuki posturings, but in the bureaucrats that work behind the scenes.

The Mueller investigation has laid that bare, but the question remains, so what?  What can be done about it?  This swamp won’t be so easily drained; I’m worried that we may well already be past the point of no return.

Rule Five Wealth Tax Friday

Fauxcohantas Warren is proposing a wealth tax to pay for all the Free Shit she proposes to hand out in the unlikely event she becomes President Imperator.  Here’s the problem:  She can’t. It’s unconstitutional..  Excerpt:

Whenever Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is asked how she’ll fund “free” college tuition and her many other promised goodies, she has a ready answer: a tax. Specifically, she wants the federal government to impose a 2 percent annual tax on accumulated wealth in excess of $50 million.

This is hardly a new idea. Of the 14 wealthy OECD countries with a wealth tax in 1996, 10 have since then abandoned it. With good reason: this wealth tax is economically destructive.

Even if it weren’t, a pure wealth or asset tax would be unconstitutional. Even CNN, in its fact-checking of Warren’s tax, couldn’t ignore this, noting “there are several procedural problems with the proposal, including its legality.”

Here’s why. States have a general “police power”— that is, a general authority to enact laws regulating private conduct—but Congress does not. Congress has only the specific legislative authority that the Constitution grants it, and the three relevant provisions do not authorize Congress to adopt a wealth or asset tax.

Article 1, Section 9, permits Congress to impose direct taxes on individuals if they are equally apportioned along with excise taxes and duties. The 16th Amendment permits Congress to adopt an income tax. That amendment is important because the Supreme Court had ruled that Congress previously lacked the Article I power to adopt an income tax.

Finally, Article 1, Section 8, permits Congress to adopt indirect taxes in the form of excise taxes on specific goods or transactions. Supreme Court precedent (see Knowlton v. Moore) explains that the estate tax is one such permissible indirect tax, because it is a duty imposed on a transfer of property predicated by death.

Bear in mind that the fact that a proposal is forbidden by the Constitution doesn’t stop politicians from touting this form of stupidity; Congress and the Executive Branch in particular have been using the Constitution as asswipe since about 1860.

But Liawatha’s proposal is especially egregious in its stupidity, not only for legal reasons but also moral and economic reasons.  The moral reasons are simple; a wealth tax, like any tax, is theft perpetrated by government, wherein government confiscates a portion of the citizenry’s wealth by force.  (If you don’t believe that, try not paying your taxes and see how long it takes the government to send men with guns out looking for you.)

And, as the lined article notes, several nations who have adopted wealth taxes have abandoned them due to the economic damage they caused.  Followers of the purveyors of envy like Chief Spreading Bull Warren seem to think that the wealthy keep their money in giant Scrooge McDuckian vaults so they can swim in gold coins; this is a canard.  The wealthy by and large have their assets out in the economy, invested in new ventures, funding new enterprises, new equipment, new facilities, new technologies.  That brings economic growth; that creates jobs.

Liawatha would damage all that in the name of handing out Free Shit.  That’s way to the left of stupid.