Animal’s Daily Polling News

Be sure to catch the latest of my Allamakee County stories over at Glibertarians!

Now then: The Trafalgar Group is one of the few pollsters that got 2016 right; they are predicting a narrow Trump win in 2020.  Excerpt:

So how does he (Trafalgar pollster Robert) Culhaly see the 2020 race? Fundamentally, as a motivation race, rather than a persuasion race, with perhaps 1.5 percent, at most, of the electorate undecided in battleground states.

The likeliest Trump electoral path to victory involves winning the battlegrounds of North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and either Michigan or Pennsylvania among the former Blue Wall states (assuming he doesn’t lose states such as Iowa or Ohio).

This is Cahaly’s breakdown: He believes Trump will win North Carolina and Florida and discounts Biden’s chances in Georgia because the Republican-base vote is too big there (the same is true in Texas).

As for Arizona, “I think Trump has the lead,” Cahaly says. “I think [Republican senator Martha] McSally has some ground to make up. I see her about five points behind Trump, but I think Trump will probably win the state. And win it by a couple of points or more. And if he wins it big enough, McSally has a shot.”

Trump isn’t there yet in Pennsylvania, according to Cahaly. “Right now, we’ve got him down in Pennsylvania,” he says, “I think if it were held today, the undecided would break toward Trump and there’d be some hidden vote. He’d probably win Pennsylvania. But I’m going to give a caveat on only Pennsylvania. I believe Pennsylvania to be the No. 1 state that Trump could win and have stolen due to voter fraud.”

In Michigan, Trafalgar has Trump ahead. “I think he will win Michigan,” Cahaly says, citing fear of the Democratic economic agenda. 

Overall, Cahaly sees another Trump win. “If it all happened right now,” he maintains, “my best guess would be an Electoral College victory in the high to 270s, low 280s.”

We can hope.

The problem with polling is twofold:

  1. It’s a snapshot.  Polls capture what the respondents think today, and not necessarily what they will think when they fill out their ballot.  Given the fast-changing landscape of the 2020 election, that could be a big difference.
  2. People rely on polls for predictive capability (see 1. above) and predictions are notoriously hard to make, especially about the future.  And all too often (see 2016) the polls are badly wrong.

High 270s to low 280s, that’s a squeaker.  Let’s hope Trafalgar is getting this right, but the only poll that counts is the one on November 3rd.  And, as it is every time, turnout will be the key.

Go vote!

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Whores and Ale, Pirate’s Cove and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!

I found this interesting; Salvaging Secession is a treatise on the history of, and future prospects for, secession in the United States.  Suffice it to say that the issue didn’t originate with the War Between the States, and it didn’t die with the end of that horrendous conflict.  Excerpt:

Would a President Biden or a President Trump order a federal invasion of a breakaway state? Dropping the 82nd Airborne into the Green Mountains to put down Vermont’s peaceable disunionists seems preposterous, though in other instances one can easily imagine the corporate media preparing the ground for a Biden-ordered assault.

If, say, a libertarian-tinged state of the Rocky Mountain West should seek to leave the Union, the rebels surely would be smeared as meth-manufacturing, child-abusing white supremacists. Or if Portland, Oregon, taking a cue from Fernando Wood, the Civil War–era mayor of New York City who proposed making Gotham a free and independent city-state, should declare an independent Portlandia, President Trump might well introduce those angry-faced white girls throwing Molotov cocktails and hissy fits to the M1 Abrams Tank.

Unlike in 1861, there is no sectional fault line along which the union could cleave. A likelier scenario is the fissioning of states, as mammoth entities such as California and New York, whose rural and small-city populations are powerless outlanders, fracture into more comprehensible units. Lose the Last Frontier and the Aloha State, gain Alta California and Upstate New York. You don’t even need to redesign the flag.

Note that author Bill Kaufmann just kind of assumes that in this scenario, Alaska and Hawaii (referred to as the “Cold War states”) either leave on their own or are cut loose to go their own way.  That’s not too unlikely; both states have significant independence movements within their borders.  Alaska could possibly go their own way, with great fisheries, plenty of oil and gas, a good shipping port at Anchorage and a surprising amount of excellent farmland in the Matanuska and Sustina valleys.  Were I in Hawaii, I’d be a little concerned about China; Pearl Harbor is too excellent a port to be left in the hands of a tiny island nation whose economy runs largely on tourism.  Maybe the U.S. would make an arrangement with the new island nation to continue hosting the Pacific Fleet at Pearl; who knows?

But what I find interesting is the idea of breaking some of the big states, like California, up into more easily-manageable and culturally cohesive units.  Having driven around the “State of Jefferson” region of northern California and spent some time gassing with the locals, I can tell you that would be a popular move with plenty of folks.

This kind of thing may be the best solution all around.

Rule Five Campaign Speech Friday

As we draw closer to this increasingly-loony election, I’ve decided once again to present my own campaign speech, were some party to be reckless enough to nominate me to run for President.  Not that the nation is quite ready for an atheist, minarchist, libertarian President – but wouldn’t the campaign be fun?  Enjoy!

Ladies and Gentlemen – friends – Americans – citizens.

I stand before you on this two hundred and thirty-second 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 as 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 must 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 must 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 must 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. And believe you me, this is only the beginning. Our government is too big. I call bullshit. This must stop.

Let me be very clear on my intent. I intend to reduce the Federal government to a minimum. I’m not talking about trimming around the edges. I’m sure as hell not talking about “reductions in the rate of increase.” I’m talking about swinging a meat axe, and I am serious as hell about it. All the extra-constitutional agencies set up by previous administrations will be gone. Not reduced, not repurposed – gone. Education? Gone. Energy? Gone. Commerce? Gone. Health and Human Services? Gone. Labor? Gone. Housing and Urban Development? Gone. Environmental Protection? Gone. Homeland Security? Gone.

There are three cabinet-level agencies that the Federal government is justified in retaining: Defense, Treasury, and State. The rest can go. Veteran’s Affairs can be rolled into Defense. As for Federal law enforcement, we already have an agency for that: The U.S. Marshals. The borders? Roll the Border Patrol into the Marshals. One headquarters, several missions, but that’s doable.

I intend to take the Federal government back to the level it was in 1850. In that year, the Federal government’s expenditures were about 3% of GDP. Now we are 23 trillion in debt, and Federal spending is 20% of GDP. I call bullshit. This must stop.

That will be the genesis of my campaign slogan: THREE PERCENT!

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.

Not that I’m anxious for public office; I’d sooner shovel shit.  The smell is better and besides, at least shoveling shit is honest work.

This is a pretty good speech, I think, for laying out policy; I’ve begun to call it “The Bullshit Speech.”  But wait!  There’s more!  I’m working on a second one, this one a real rabble-rousing barn-burner.  Tune in next week.

Animal’s Daily Barrington Declaration News

Go read the Great Barrington Declaration.  Relevant excerpts with my comments follow.

The Great Barrington Declaration – As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.

Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.

Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.

This declaration is not the first document to make the case that continued lockdowns are doing more harm than good, but it is one of the most persuasive, and it is one authored by some actual authorities on the topic; here are the authors:

Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist with expertise in detecting and monitoring infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety evaluations.

Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert focusing on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations.

Here’s what these experts say should be done:

Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19. By way of example, nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent PCR testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home. When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals.

Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.

Go, then, and read the whole thing.

When this whole thing started, the expected time for the lockdowns was expected to be a matter of weeks.  It has now been seven months and counting.  Enough is enough.

This lockdown is disproportionately hurting the people who have the most to lose from it:  The poor, small business owners, service-industry workers.  Disruptions in supply chains are beginning to make themselves felt, and have the potential to cause very, very serious consequences.  It’s time to transition the nation back to more of a normal footing.  Let other nations do as they see fit, but the United States is supposedly a free country.  Give us back our freedom – our choices – and the right to accept the consequences of those choices.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

For some time I’ve been keeping my eye out for a fine old English side-by-side double for upland bird hunting.  On Sunday last I finally found the right combination of gun, price and cash on hand, as I was the successful bidder on a Henry Tolley hand-made 12-gauge double, made around 1902 in Birmingham.  This is a one-of-a-kind piece, a true sidelock with a Deeley-style action and Damascus barrels sleeved for smokeless-powder 2 1/2″ 12 gauge shells.

In my own experience there are no shotguns that handle as sweetly as a well-balanced side-by-side.  I’m looking forward to shooting it.  I’m looking forward even more to taking it into the Alaska game fields for grouse and ptarmigan.

With that said…

On To the Links!

Peace in the Middle East – will the Saudis be next?  Maybe.  Will the President get any credit for it?  No.

Humans are regaining a third major artery in the forearm.  Interesting.  It’s not clear from the article whether a single gene or a suite of genes is involved, though, which would be interesting to know.

It’s getting to the point where it’s impossible to parody these people.

Yes, it’s too soon to start talking about President Pence.  Let’s get through this election first, the outcome of which I’m not terribly optimistic.

How We Lost Our Way on Human Rights.  Lengthy, but worth it.

Well, whattya know.  Now the WHO is saying Kung Flu lockdowns are a cure worse than the disease.  Stuart Varney has some thoughts on why that’s true.

Gird your loins – the Super-Pig Uprising is coming.  Wonder Wart-Hog was unavailable for comment.

Kamala Harris – anti-Catholic bigot.

Round-Heels Harris also beclowned herself at the Amy Comey Barrett hearings on Monday, but that’s no surprise.  You really can’t parody these people.

Speaking of those hearings:  Chuck Schumer (Sanctimonious Prick – NY) plans to screw things up, but we can already see those plans blowing up in his face.

Genetic Isopoints.  Cool stuff.

More Kung Flu quackery – now it’s rectal ozone.  Gwyneth, are you listening?

This Week’s Idiots:

Keith Olbermann is not only an idiot, he’s a dangerous idiot.  Seriously, what an arrogant fuckwit.

CNN’s Kathleen Dunn is an idiot.

Jacobin’s Matt Bruenig is an idiot.

The Nation’s Chris Gelardi is an idiot.

The LA Times Erwin Chemerinsky is an idiot.

And So:

In keeping with my now-apparently-a-tradition of leaving you with a song on Wednesday, here is Aerosmith, performing the one of the best versions ever of their best song ever, Dream On.  The video quality could be better, but the audio is more than enough.

Animal’s Daily Regeneron News

Before we start, check out my latest Alaska update over at Glibertarians!

It’s become common to see opponents of President Trump, who takes a pro-life stance, decry the use of “fetal stem cells” in the Regeneron treatment the President recently underwent in his Kung Flu case.  As usual, the left gets it (mostly) wrong, surrounding a kernel of truth with a mountain of horseshit, because they couldn’t be arsed to take thirty seconds in a web search to find out how Regeneron is made and tested.  Here’s the truth.  Excerpts, with my comments:

Rumors are circulating claiming that President Donald Trump‘s monoclonal antibody treatment from Regeneron was made with human fetal or embryonic stem cells. Regeneron told Heavy that their antibody cocktail was not developed using human fetal or embryonic stem cells, but it did use “immortalized epithelial cells” that were originally derived from human embryonic kidney cells at Stanford in the 1980s. Regeneron told Heavy that these were “immortalized epithelial cells” and not stem cells. These cells weren’t used to create the antibody cocktail itself, but they were used to test its potency. Those HEK293T cells were originally derived from fetal tissue from “a healthy aborted fetus of unknown parenthood,” according to the HEK293 website.

So, the treatment is tested, not produced, with a cell tissue culture that was originally derived from a healthy aborted fetus.  That’s the kernel of truth.  But:

Alexandra Bowie of Regeneron told Heavy that Regeneron did not create its REGN-COV2 treatment using human embryonic stem cells.

She wrote: “This particular discovery program (REGN-COV2) did not involve human stem cells or ESCs.”

And:

Another question circulating involves the use of HEK293T cells in the production of the REGN-COV2 antibody cocktail. Two publications in Science Magazine discussed the creation of antibody cocktails for SARS-CoV-2 and mentioned HEK293T cells.

Bowie clarified for Heavy how the HEK293T cells were used:

They are referring to use of the 293T cell line, which was made at Stanford in the ‘80s and was originally derived from human embryonic kidney cells. These are immortalized epithelial cells – not stem cells. These are very commonly used cells in research, and most published research involves use of 293s. In our case, these 293T cells were transfected and used in production of a ‘pseudoparticle’ that mimics the virus’ Spike protein and allowed us to test neutralization ability of our antibodies against the virus.

And the source of those cells:

Regeneron told Technology Review that the HEK 293T cells weren’t used to create the antibody cocktail itself, but they were used to test the potency of the antibodies. The HEK 293T cells originated from kidney tissue from an abortion in the Netherlands in the 1970s. The cells have been dividing in a lab (thus “immortalized”) since the 1970s, Technology Review noted.

You can learn more about the HEK293 cell line here. The cells are commonly used in cancer research, for example.

So, whatever you think of the source of those cells, that source is decades removed from their current use in a variety of testing of vital medical treatments.  These kinds of antibody treatments have wide-ranging possibilities and I suspect we will see them used more in Kung Flu treatment, now that it’s been established that they work.

But to the point:  Commenters who deride President Trump for accepting this treatment have in fact taken the tiniest kernel of truth and surrounded it with a monstrous lie.  Read the entire article linked here, and use it at every turn.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove, The Other McCain, Bacon Time and Whores and Ale for the Rule Five links!

Our recent visit to Alaska was fabulous, as I’ve already written last week.  On Friday, though, we looked at a couple of places up north in Willow, and were treated to some wondrous views of Denali.  Then, on Saturday, we drove to Seward, back up to Palmer in time for an early-evening dessert at the Palmer Ale House, then to the airport and home (for now) to Denver.

Pictures are worth a thousand words, so those follow beneath the fold.  Regular news posts resume tomorrow! Continue reading Goodbye, Blue Monday

Rule Five Right to Commerce Friday

I first stumbled across this last week, and have now read it a couple of times and like it more every time:  An Inalienable Human Right to Commerce.  Excerpts, with my comments:

Rights, of course, are not given by states; they are not legal, but natural. As human beings, they exist axiomatically and cannot be taken away. Being subject to legal or regulatory strictures (and whether one adheres voluntarily or not) indicates the presence of an artificial imposition separating human beings from the fulfillment of their choices and their selected personal interactions.

Surely, for example, the lockdown (‘stay-at-home’) orders – originally put in place to “flatten the curve” but in some places having remained largely in effect since March or so – are unconstitutional, and it’s only a combination of fear, political maneuvering, and full dockets which have prevented their review. That’s certainly the assumption I’ve held since March or so: forcing people to stay home, impoverishing them and wrecking small businesses as well as introducing scores of other problems, clearly can’t be legal. It’s the sort of thing one would see in a notoriously (or newly) despotic regime, or briefly imposed during a sudden emergency

This entire lockdown fiasco will likely be litigated for years to come, and even given President Trump’s wholesale re-engineering of the Imperial judiciary, it’s anything but certain that the results will be on the side of liberty.  The current thinking among pols and judges alike seems to be that there is some “except in the event of an emergency” clause in the Bill of Rights, perhaps among those “emanations and penumbras” we keep hearing about.

To the extent that the United Nations is representative of supranational government perspectives, a look at its positions on commerce – individual or multinational – is instructive. Of the few mentions across the entire UN website, the most extensive discussion involves ten principles which firms are expected to “incorporate … into [their] strategies, policies, and procedures.” The “Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact” include:

  • Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
  • Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
  • Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  • Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
  • Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour; and
  • Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
  • Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
  • Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
  • Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
  • Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

While some of these are quite prudent and justifiable as guidelines (setting aside the colossal arrogance of asserting a “basic responsibili[ty]” among hundreds of millions of individuals starting, managing, and working for private firms worldwide “to people and [the] planet”) there isn’t even a vague suggestion of reciprocal rights.  

Of course not; the United Nations doesn’t give an ounce of rat’s pee about reciprocal rights, or any other kind of rights.  But we don’t have to concern ourselves over much with the UN, whose proclamations and bloviation carry no weight of law in the United States (in fact, I’d rather see us depart the UN once and for all.)  We can, however, look to our own nation’s issues with what I agree is a fundamental human right; the right of commerce.

In the closing paragraphs of Atlas Shrugged, author Ayn Rand described a famed judge clarifying and editing what is implied to be the U.S. Constitution, and adding the following text:  “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade . . .”  (Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged: (Centennial Edition) (p. 1168). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.)

Well, why not?  A constitutional amendment enshrining the right to commerce would be great, although I suspect it’s impossible in our current political climate.  But commerce, trade, should be enshrined and recognized as a fundamental human right, for two reasons:

  1. Commerce – free trade – is a fundamental aspect of liberty; a truly free people should be able to make their own decisions on how to best utilize their own skills, abilities, talents and resources in free, open trade.  No government official, functionary or elected employee has the right to interfere in free trade.
  2. Free trade has lifted more people out of poverty, more nations into the developed world, than any other economic system in the history of mankind.

I agree with the author; commerce, free trade, is a human right.   If a trade involves deception then it is fraud, if it involves force, then it is theft; those are the only instances in which government should be involved.

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