Animal’s Daily News

Ever wonder why pols seem to be getting dumber?  Have a look at this first of a series of three videos in PJMedia’s Trifecta series.

See Part 2 here – and watch for the upcoming Part 3.

Here’s the question:  How do these nitwits get elected?  One possible observation is that the majority of voters in their respective districts/states themselves lack the mental brainpower to think their way out of a wet paper bag.   Another is the sad state of our electorate today, with nearly 50% dependent to one degree or another on government, because of which many pols who are Facepalm-bearpathetically, profoundly ignorant on a host of issues nevertheless can muster the brainpower to promise voters more and more of someone else’s stuff.

Anyone with enough brains to pound sand knows islands can’t capsize.  Unfortunately a room-temperature IQ apparently isn’t a bar to elected office.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

Some random tidbits on this fine Hump Day.

From the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson:  Loud + Weak = War.  Speaking loudly and carrying a twig, in other words, is a recipe for failure.

More on that topic:  If NATO Doesn’t Stand up to Putin, it’s finished.  Note to the Telegraph’s copyeditor:  NATO is an acronym, and should be rendered in all caps.  What ever happened to the rules of written English, anyway?

Speaking of NATO – this from the Wall Street Journal, NATO’s Military Decline.   One could just as easily write an article on the West’s military decline – it would be just as apt.

Moving east (or East, if you prefer) How Japan Could Turn the Tables on China.   Of late Japan has been making some noises of rearming, Sleepy-Bearand who could blame them?  Japan’s entire post-war military posture has been based on the presumption that America, bound by treaty obligations, would have their backs – and they aren’t so sure about that any more.  And who could blame them?

And finally, it looks like the missing Malaysian airliner has been found – maybe.  Who knows?

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

Animal’s Daily News

Harp BearThanks to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

This just in from the folks at Reason:  The 3D Economy – Forget Guns, What Happens When Everyone Prints Their Own Shoes?  Excerpt:

Imagine what will happen when millions of people start using the tools that produced The Liberator to make, copy, swap, barter, buy, and sell all the quotidian stuff with which they furnish their lives. Rest in peace, Bed, Bath & Beyond. Thanks for all the stuff, Foxconn, but we get our gadgets from Pirate Bay and MEGA now.

Once the retail and manufacturing carnage starts to scale, the government carnage will soon follow. How can it not, when only old people pay sales tax, fewer citizens obtain their incomes from traditional easy-to-tax jobs, and large corporate taxpayers start folding like daily newspapers? Without big business, big government can’t function.

Naysayers to this scenario point out that the typical 3D printer is still expensive (a canard; technology always drops in relative price as it becomes mainstreamed) and that users still have to buy raw materials and software (somewhat accurate; raw materials will also become cheaper, but software is effectively uncontrollable.)

This tech, Reason accurately points out, has the potential to set manufacturing on its ear.  However, world-changing new tech always does; the invention of the automobile and Henry Ford’s introduction of mass production in the automotive industry changed the world, and drove several competing industries into near-extinction almost overnight; buggy-whip makers, horse tack manufacturers, farriers and coachbuilders suddenly found themselves looking for other work.  This will do the same; it will be awfully hard for TV pitchmen to convince you to buy the new Whang-O One-Hand Bottle Opener for just $9.95 (Order NOW and we’ll double the offer!) when the typical consumer will be able to download a pattern and print their own.

Reason concludes:

Be prepared, however, to expect some pushback from your local regulators. Over the past decade or so, as newer technologies and fewer opportunities for traditional employment have prompted more people to act in entrepreneurially innovative ways, government’s response has been the same: Consumers must be protected against strawberry balsamic jam made in home kitchens. Tourists must be protected against immaculately maintained carriage houses that can be rented on a daily basis for below-hotel rates. Travelers must be protected from cheap rides from the airport.

Shy BearWhen government realizes that self-produced plastic shower curtain rings are far more potentially disruptive than self-produced plastic pistols, it’ll be more than libertarian entrepreneur-iconoclasts at risk.

3D printing gives consumers much, much more control over a wide range of consumer goods – how they will be produced, designed, bought and sold.  The down side:  Government at all levels in institutionally incapable of surrendering control.  This is a technology that threatens to place a vast swath of consumer goods outside the taxable, regulated grasp of industry and in the direct control of consumers.  Watch for the inevitable shouts of the need to control this – probably “for our own good.”

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye Blue Monday!
Goodbye Blue Monday!

Reason recently put up another interesting article about the libertarian game-changer of the moment.  Rand Paul: 2Libertarian 2Be Electable?  (And yes, I loathe the moronic substitution of numbers for words.)  Excerpt:

I have no doubt that right now serious libertarianism will be a hard national sell, even to a Republican Party that in theory should be able to embrace the small-government part. It also seems likely that any liberal/progressive affection for the anti-security state, pro-civil liberties Rand Paul will crash and burn against the wall of his opposition to abortion and government income transfer programs. Paul told me in my New York Times piece of the need for more social tolerance and minority outreach for the GOP, but I think no amount of that will overcome the abortion and income transfer stuff when it comes to winning over Democrat-leaning independents.

That said, a Santorum-like focus on being “socially conservative” is unlikely to be a national winner for the Party at any time moving forward into the 21st century, so there’s another good reason–besides reality itself–for some major Party to suck it up and offer something close to real libertarianism.

It would be profoundly interesting to see a Presidential candidate run on a social-issues platform of “mind your own damn business.”  It is, at least in the considered opinion of this correspondent, a platform that will capture far more of the younger Millennial demographic than will a Rick Santorum-style evangelical platform.

Standing-BearThe times, they are-a changin’, and the GOP hasn’t quite figured that out yet.  It’s possible Rand Paul has.  Fortunately for Mr. Paul and the GOP’s young Turks, the Democrats don’t seem to have figured that out yet either, as they continue to adhere to a Sixties-style statist, left-wing platform of ever-increasing spending and ever-increasing dependency.

Stein’s Law applies.  Something that can’t continue, won’t.

Rule Five Friday

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (1)Want to hear a tale about game-changers?

Let’s take a look at Rand Paul at Berkeley.  PJ Media’s Roger Simon has some interesting observations.  Excerpt:

Whatever you think of Rand Paul, he’s actually doing something that politicians rarely do — talking at length to audiences who don’t usually agree with him.  And winning over new friends in the process. His recent speech at UC Berkeley, where he apparently got a standing ovation for excoriating runaway government spying on Americans, is only the latest example.

Historically, the Republican Party has been just what the public thinks it is, largely a bunch of risk-averse white men who are totally clueless at public relations, even though they are on the right (correct) side of almost every issue.  Meanwhile, the liberal Democrats haven’t had a decent rational argument about anything for years, if they ever did. They ream young people, blacks and virtually every other “interest group”that supports them with their policies and they still win most national elections.  What a disgraceful group of losers that makes the Republicans. There are literally thousands of chips on the table and they’re leaving them all behind.

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (2)Rand Paul is smart enough to realize this and actually goes out and does things about it. Other Republicans should get out their little red book of quotations and Learn from Chairman Rand.  The country is changing.  Whole new groups are ripe for the picking, most obviously the young who are being so completely raked over by the Obama administration via Obamacare and the rest of the entitlements so many of them know they will never see. They were ready to applaud at Berkeley.

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (3)For the last thirty years or so, yr. obdt. had been advocating for the increasing libertarian wing of the Republican party.  Rand Paul comes the closest we’ve had to a viable member of that wing to run for President (and yes, he’s certainly positioning himself for precisely that) in a long, long time – maybe ever.

But the Berkeley gig – that’s something new.

Rand Paul is doing something not many political candidates do nowadays.  He’s venturing into hostile territory, and he’s winning supporters among them that should by rights be supporting the other side.  That could backfire on him badly, or it could be the 2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (4)beginnings of a 1984-style landslide.

There is one concern about Paul the Younger, and that is his plans for the War Department Department of Defense.  It’s not really a good time to be reducing the budget for our military; not with Vlad Putin kicking up his heels in eastern Europe, Iran building nukes, and the stunted little gargoyle from  a line of stunted little gargoyles running North Korea launching missiles into the Sea of Japan.

Mr. Simon concludes:

I suspect, given how bad things have been the last 5-6 years, the country is ready to hear some radical proposals, like truly massive cuts to federal government programs  and a flat tax, maybe even, as Rick Perry suggested in the last election cycle, the complete elimination of some government departments.  He called for three.  How about four?

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (5)I am NOT one, however,  who thinks we should be cutting defense at all at this present time, given what’s going on across the globe from Caracas to Tehran.  That’s where I might diverge from Citizen Rand.  I get nervous when I read columns from his father about the Crimea.  Maybe Old Ron never visited the Soviet Union.  I did.  It was a jail the size of a continent. It went away for awhile, but unfortunately Evil Empires have  a way of coming back.

In any case, we shall see how Rand reacts to all this in the fullness of time. The way things are going, I suspect he won’t be able to avoid it.

I suspect he’s right.

2014_03_21_Rule Five Friday (6)

Animal’s Daily News

Big Bang Discovery Opens Door to the Multiverse.  Excerpt:

ThisBig-BearGravitational waves rippling through the aftermath of the cosmic fireball, physicists suggest, point to us inhabiting a multiverse, a universe filled with many universes. (See: “Big Bang’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Confirms Early Universe’s Exponential Growth.”)

That’s because those gravitational wave results point to a particularly prolific and potent kind of “inflation” of the early universe, an exponential expansion of the dimensions of space to many times the size of our own cosmos in the first fraction of a second of the Big Bang, some 13.82 billion years ago.

“In most models, if you have inflation, then you have a multiverse,” said Stanford physicist Andrei Linde. Linde, one of cosmological inflation’s inventors, spoke on Monday at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics event where the BICEP2 astrophysics team unveiled the gravitational wave results.

I have to admit that it’s hard to wrap the old brain pan around these kinds of concepts, unless you are a theoretical physicist.   But imagine if you will the idea of a gazillion or so alternate universes – if the number is large enough, would some of those be similar enough to ours to allow other sentient life to evolve?

bears-cute-awesome1-11For a fun if somewhat long-winded look at this idea, take a browse through Robert Heinlein’s Number of the Beast.  The two heroes and two heroines of that piece take a romp through just such a multiverse, using an interdimensional ship that can travel though all the universes – that number being not six hundred and sixty-six, as the title suggests, but rather six to the sixth power to the sixth power.   They discover that each universe is the product of a work of fiction from ours, or rather, than each universe somehow generated a corresponding work of fiction.  They visit Barsoom, and Oz, and the Lensman’s universe, and a bunch more – before running into the inevitable Lazarus Long in a dragged-out and somewhat predictable ending, which was the bane of Heinlein’s later works.

It’s still worth the read.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Happy Hump Day!

A possible redemption?  Romney:  The Price of Failed Leadership.  Excerpt:

Why are there no good choices? From Crimea to North Korea, from Syria to Egypt, and from Iraq to Afghanistan, America apparently has no good options. If possession is nine-tenths of the law, Russia owns Crimea and all we can do is sanction and disinvite—and wring our hands.

Iran is following North Korea’s nuclear path, but it seems that we can only entreat Iran to sign the same kind of agreement North Korea once signed, undoubtedly with the same result.

Our tough talk about a red line in Syria prompted Vladimir Putin‘s sleight of hand, leaving the chemicals and killings much as they were. We say Bashar Assad must go, but aligning with his al Qaeda-backed opposition is an unacceptable option.

And how can it be that Iraq and Afghanistan each refused to sign the status-of-forces agreement with us—with the very nation that shed the blood of thousands of our bravest for them?

Why, across the world, are America’s hands so tied?

Because we tied them ourselves, Mr. Romney.

Fishing BearWe’re drawing down our Army to pre-WW2 levels.

We’re planning to draw the Navy down likewise – including reducing our carrier force, the only means we have left to project power.

No despot or dictator anywhere in the world takes the United States seriously any more – and there’s no reason they should, not as long as the incumbent sits in the White House.

Here’s what’s interesting about this article; could the inestimable Mr. Romney be positioning himself for 2016?  It wouldn’t be the first time someone has staged a comeback from one election season to the next, and won the White House.

It might be an interesting election season after all.

Animal’s Daily News

Smiling BearAnatomy of a Democratic Midterm Freakout.  Excerpt:

National Democrats are in a near panic — if the media’s highly-attuned panic detectors are any indicator — with a “poisonous” president unable to use his popularity to sway voters, a “screaming siren” warning about mid-term turnout, and Republicans on the offensive on Obamacare. There are a long eight months until November, but Democrats seem unlikely to get much sleep over the interim.

There are (at least!) six reasons why.

The second reason should really be the first:

2. President Obama is near all-time lows on his approval ratings.

This Administration is poison for Democrats seeking re-election this year.   Marked by incompetence, scandal and Chicago-style cronyism, the Obama Administration has done the impossible – made the country nostalgic for the relatively capable James Earl Carter.

But a mid-term election with a disgruntled electorate won’t make the difference in 2016.  Dissatisfaction with the Obama White House will help the GOP this year, and may have some coattails into 2016.  But gaining House seats – almost certain – and retaking the Senate – somewhat less likely but looking more possible by the day – will only render the President the lamest of lame ducks.  To win the White House, hold Congress and earn a mandate in 2016 will take something else – a message.  A positive message.

Sleepy-bearIt’s not enough to tell the country what the Obama Administration and the Reid Senate has done wrong.  They have to tell America what they intend to do right.  A pro-liberty, limited government message would go a long way.

But then, the GOP has a  pretty good history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.