Animal’s Daily Historical Parallels News

Is President Trump the new Andrew Jackson?  RealClearPolitics’ Thomas Chambers makes an interesting argument for it.  Excerpt:

Like the current president, Jackson was unpredictable, even considered wild by some. He drank heavily early in life, but later swore off spirits completely, as has Trump who claims he’s never touched a drop of liquor. Though Jackson lacked a formal education and Trump possesses an Ivy league degree, neither would be considered among the gentry and both might be labeled anti-intellectual, as when Trump claims he learns most of what he knows from “watching the TV shows.” There is a commonality of reckless youth followed by piousness. Trump was sent to military school as a teenager.

In his personal life, Jackson was accused of condoning bigamy because his wife was married to another man when they began living together. As is well-known, President Trump has been married three times, though at distinctly different intervals. These marital scandals plagued both men for years.

Once in the White House, there are also many striking comparisons, even considering the Trump presidency remains in its nascent stages.

Both men have seen themselves as guardians of the Constitution – according to their own personal interpretations – and as protectors of the people. But, they have also shared a craving for power. Jackson was sometimes referred to as King Andrew I, one who, like his 21st century counterpart, thought he could do anything he wanted. Trump sign executive orders in rapid succession.

As with Trump, Jackson fought with his opponents and with members of his own party. He was unpredictable and quick to anger. He even expressed himself publicly, not using Twitter, but via open letters to friends that were reprinted in newspapers. The trusted close advisers in both administrations, chosen for their loyalty, not expertise, have been looked upon unfavorably. Jackson’s “kitchen cabinet,” unofficial consultants who paralleled the presidential cabinet, caused a great deal of consternation. His real cabinet was made up of businessmen and politicians whom he thought he would control.

Out on a limb.

There’s one major difference, and it is one that makes President Trump unlike any of his 44 predecessors in the Imperial Mansion; even unlike Jackson.  Old Hickory commanded troops as a general.  Since his day, there have been several former military men in the Imperial Mansion, Grant and Eisenhower foremost among them.  But Donald Trump is the first man to hold the office without having ever been a military man or a politician.

His campaign broke lots of rules; his Presidency, nascent though it is, is shattering lots of old reliable traditions for politics.  It’s true, Jackson did much the same, but he had much, much less precedent to shatter.

It’s really too early to draw these kinds of comparisons.  We have four interesting years ahead – maybe at the end of the Age of Trump we may have a better idea how  history will view him.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Big surprise (not really):  States are going broke.  Excerpt:

More than half the states are facing big deficits this year, and they are mostly blue states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois and New York and Oregon. Wait. These are states with high taxes and some of the deepest pools of red ink. There’s got to be a message here.

But some red states have money woes, too. The biggest fight is in Kansas, where the Republican-dominated Legislature recently passed a massive income tax hike that would raise taxes on every small business in the state and every wage earner with income above $15,000. Fortunately, Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed the GOP tax hike, but it will be back in some form.

So what is the source of the budget crises from coast to coast? First, on the revenue side, tax receipts are down because states are frontline victims of the slow-growth era of the Obama years. When the U.S. economy sputters at only 1.6 percent as it did in 2016, state and local tax revenues barely trickle in. So much for the liberal spin that President Obama left behind a healthy economy.

Revenues have plummeted in oil-producing states such as Alaska, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and Wyoming. Liberals are pushing big tax increases in each of those states, which not so long ago gorged on new spending during the years of high prices. North Dakota had one year in which the budget rose more than 50 percent.

Here’s a hint for these states:  It’s the spending, stupid.

It’s bad enough that the Imperial City runs debts into the tens of trillions with no thought for the next generation.   But the several states cannot even print money to hide the debt; they must live within their means, and they just plain aren’t.

It’s significant to note that our own Colorado is not exempt from these woes, with the 2016 budget running somewhere between $227 and $333 million out of a $28.5 billion budget in the red, depending on whose estimates you believe; that’s a pretty good trick for a state that has just realized a $70 million tax windfall from legal marijuana sales.

Historically, tax hikes have limited value in the states just ass they do at the Imperial level.  Sadly for Keynesians, the Laffer Curve is a real thing, and there is only so much blood that can be squeezed from the public stone.

The states, just like the Imperial government, are going to have to learn within their means; as I have pointed out many times before, we have mortgaged our children’s futures, and posterity will rightly damn us for it.

Animal’s Daily Armed and Fabulous News

Armed and Sexy.

Armed and Fabulous were apparently the words of the day at CPAC.  Excerpt:

Lawyer Kristi McMains was getting into her car after work when the stranger tackled her. “I fought like hell,” McMains says. “I was doing all that I could, and I still couldn’t get him off of me. .. That’s why I grabbed my gun.”

McMains was one of five women speaking on a Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) panel Friday titled “Armed and Fabulous: The New Normal.” Joining her were gun advocate and writer Antonia Okafor, Kimberly Corban of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Ms. Wheelchair USA 2013 Ashlee Lundvall, and Townhall.com‘s Katie Pavlich, as moderator. Together they extolled the virtues of female firearm ownership as a means for self-protection and slammed liberal feminists who object to their pro-gun stance.

Okafor, who twice cast ballots for Barack Obama before voting Trump in the last election, told the crowd at CPAC that “real female empowerment” must include firearms and the protection of Second Amendment rights.

Education and empowerment are “the crux of the feminist movement, right?” asked Corbin. “Well, we want women to be educated and empowered” about firearms, and yet “we’re being shamed for it.”

My own dear Mrs. Animal has never really considered herself a “feminist” in the generally accepted vernacular of today’s discourse, but she sure as hell is empowered; a former U.S. Army officer, recipient of a Bronze Star for her leadership in setting up and running a new type of inter-service medical facility in the first Gulf War, now a mother of four and a small business owner.  And that’s in addition to being a CCW permit holder and a pretty damn good pistol shot.  She never leaves the house without either a Ruger LCP or her S&W M&P Compact at her side.

And yes, True Believers, empowerment is solely the province of the individual.  Nobody can do it for you; “movements” are not the source of empowerment, neither is government.  Only an individual can empower him or herself.

That’s the difference between dependence and self-reliance; the difference between waiting for someone to do something for you, and taking responsibility for doing something yourself.

That’s liberty, folks.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks again to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

On the Saturday just past I found myself once again with one of my favorite situations; no place to go, and all day to get there.  Now mind you, I can’t abide Bay Area politics, but I am frequently in the position where I’m paid to go where the work is, not where the fun is.  So I make the most of it, and there are always some decent outdoor adventures not too far from anyplace I find myself.  Saturday it was the Almaden Quicksilver County Park, where I spent a nice sunny Saturday hiking in the hills.  Photos follow.

Click for more!

Rule Five Balkanization Friday

Should we break up the USA?  I’d prefer not to, but here from the Mises Institute is another idea.  Excerpt:

Some of our assumptions are so deeply embedded that we cannot perceive them ourselves.

Case in point: everyone takes for granted that it’s normal for a country of 320 million to be dictated to by a single central authority. The only debate we’re permitted to have is who should be selected to carry out this grotesque and inhumane function.

Here’s the debate we should be having instead: what if we simply abandoned this quixotic mission, and went our separate ways? It’s an idea that’s gaining traction — much too late, to be sure, but better late than never.

For a long time it seemed as if the idea of secession was unlikely to take hold in modern America. Schoolchildren, after all, are told to associate secession with slavery and treason. American journalists treat the idea as if it were self-evidently ridiculous and contemptible (an attitude they curiously do not adopt when faced with US war propaganda, I might add).

And yet all it took was the election of Donald Trump for the alleged toxicity of secession to vanish entirely. The left’s principled opposition to secession and devotion to the holy Union went promptly out the window on November 8, 2016. Today, about one in three Californians polled favors the Golden State’s secession from the Union.

In other words, some people seem to be coming to the conclusion that the whole system is rotten and should be abandoned.

As far as how this would happen?  Author Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. doesn’t offer a mechanism, but he offers a reason:

When I say go our separate ways, I don’t mean “the left” goes one way and “the right” goes another. I mean the left goes one way and everyone else — rather a diverse group indeed — goes another. People who live for moral posturing, to broadcast their superiority over everyone else, and to steamroll differences in the name of “diversity,” should go one way, and everyone who rolls his eyes at all this should go another.

“No people and no part of a people,” said Ludwig von Mises nearly one hundred years ago, “shall be held against its will in a political association that it does not want.” So much wisdom in that simple sentiment. And so much conflict and anguish could be avoided if only we’d heed it.

What’s interesting is that the talk about secession these days is coming mostly from disaffected California lefties, disappointed that Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I lost the election they expected her to win.  A few surveys have up to one-third of Californians thinking secession is a good idea.

They should ask South Carolina how that worked out for them.

Seriously, the Rockwell article in discussion here is based on the libertarian argument that no people should be held in a political arrangement against their will, quoting as it does Ludiwg von Mises himself.  But the problem is that libertarians are a pretty small minority of the population, and when those 1/3 of Californians discover all of the problems they’d face in an actual secession attempt, they’d almost certainly change their minds.

I’ve discussed the idea of the United States balkanization before.  It will probably happen someday, in some form.  But I doubt it will be any time soon, no matter who is sitting at this moment in the Imperial Mansion.

Animal’s Daily Second Amendment News

One state at a time – New Hampshire now has Constitutional Carry.  Excerpt:

“New Hampshire now joins an ever-growing number of states in passing constitutional carry,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Despite the best efforts of Michael Bloomberg-funded groups to distort the truth, the New Hampshire legislature and governor stood strong for freedom.”

Sununu’s signature on SB 12 makes New Hampshire the 12th state to allow constitutional carry.  New Hampshire joins its northern New England neighbors Maine and Vermont, both of which allow constitutional carry.  

Sponsored by Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-3), Senate Bill 12 will repeal the license requirement to carry a concealed pistol or revolver, unless a person is otherwise prohibited.  For those who choose to obtain licenses, SB 12 will also increase the length of time in which a license is valid from four years to five years.

 It’s accepted by many, if not most, in the shooting sports community that the Second Amendment is our carry permit.  That’s probably not the most accurate way to interpret the Second Amendment, though; like all the other items in the Bill of Rights, the Second enumerates a natural right that the government is not allowed to interfere with; it in no way permits us to do anything.  It actually refutes the need for a permit.

But, as the Bard said, the law is frequently an ass, and the fact is that in most states today you can be locked up for bearing arms without government permission.  But the momentum seems to be moving in the right direction now.  New Hampshire is just the latest on the list.

Hopefully national CCW reciprocity will be next.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Oh, for the luvva Pete.  This comes to us from Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller;  College Writing Center Declares American Grammar A ‘Racist,’ ‘Unjust Language Structure’.  The stupid, it is strong with this one.  Excerpt:

An “antiracist” poster in a college writing center insists American grammar is “racist” and an “unjust language structure,” promising to prioritize rhetoric over “grammatical ‘correctness.’”

The poster, written by the director, staff, and tutors of the University of Washington, Tacoma’s Writing Center, states “racism is the normal condition of things,” declaring that it permeates rules, systems, expectations, in courses, school and society.

“Linguistic and writing research has shown clearly for many decades that there is no inherent ‘standard’ of English,” proclaims the writing center’s statement. “Language is constantly changing. These two facts make it very difficult to justify placing people in hierarchies or restricting opportunities and privileges because of the way people communicate in particular versions of English.”

In the introduction to its “commitment” section, the Tacoma Writing Center pledges to “listen and look carefully and compassionately for ways we may unintentionally perpetuate racism or social injustice, actively engaging in antiracist practices” before making nine specific promises to students.

“We promise to emphasize the importance of rhetorical situations over grammatical ‘correctness’ in the production of texts,” announces the poster. “We promise to challenge conventional word choices and writing explanations.”

These people should really see a proctologist about the gigantic sticks they obviously have jammed up their asses.

Look, every written language has rules.  Mrs. Animal is poly-lingual, speaking German, French, Japanese and a little Spanish; she knowledgeably informs me that the hardest thing about a new language is learning the various rules of grammar, without which you’ll have a hard time making yourself understood.  I am most emphatically not poly-lingual, unless you count being able to struggle along in conversational German if I’m speaking with someone who doesn’t talk too quickly.  But I do know that language, in order to transmit ideas clearly and unambiguously, needs to have rules.

Those rules are called spelling and grammar.

 It’s disheartening to see the horrible written communications skills demonstrated by so many people today.  I do not exclude people my age and older in this, but the younger generation, particularly in various internet venues, seem to be pretty bad, and I can tell you in part why – none of my four kids, who went to school in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, were taught the parts of speech, or how to diagram a sentence.  They were not taught the basic rules of English grammar.

When you remonstrate one of these folks, they tend to react loudly, accusing you of being a grammar Nazi (of which I cheerfully plead guilty) and asking why, if you can make out what they are saying, that their presentation should matter.

Well, here’s why:  On an internet forum, how you present yourself in writing is the only thing readers have with which to judge your intelligence.  A bad argument presented well is often more persuasive than a good argument presented badly.

The folks at the Tacoma Writing Center are presenting an absolutely horrible argument and doing it not only poorly, but stupidly.  The jackwagons proposing this travesty have no business working in education at any level.

Animal’s Daily Environmental Mess News

There’s already a huge environmental disaster up at the site of the proposed Dakota Access pipeline.  It’s awful, an actual, for-real disaster – and it was caused by the protesters, claiming to be “environmentalists,” who camped there to protest the pipeline.  Excerpt:

North Dakota’s Republican governor issued an order Wednesday night mandating that all those occupying campsites along the Dakota Access Pipeline evacuate the area immediately.

Gov. Doug Burgum issued the order to accelerate cleanup efforts to avoid a possible ecological disaster from the 4.5 million pounds of garbage protesters have left behind. Unseasonably warm temperatures, the note states, prompted the need for protesters to evacuate the flood-plain areas in Morton and Sioux counties by no later than Feb. 22.

“All persons occupying or residing in the evacuation area shall immediately begin efforts to remove their person property and possessions from evacuated area,” Burgum’s order states. It allows for protesters to return and remove the rest of their things once temperatures drop and the area is cleared.

Sanitation crews have been working around-the-clock to clean up the debris from the DAPL construction site.

Yes, True Believers, you read that right; 4.5 million pounds of garbage was left behiind by “environmental” protestors.  They are concerned that the pipeline will damage the environment – even though there are millions of miles of pipelines in the country and those millions of miles have a very, very good safety record.  But they are obviously not concerned that their own mountains of garbage won’t cause such damage.

I’d be willing to bet there are plenty of used condoms and other body-fluid-bearing items in the trash as well, adding a spice of possible biohazard to the mix.

Remember the mounds of garbage left behind after Tea Party rallies?  No, neither do I.  Everyone involved with those events has observed that the Tea Partiers, agree with their agenda or not, were at least considerate of the grounds on which they rallied; they generally left their areas at least as clean as they found them.

Not so the “environmentalists” protesting the Dakota Access pipeline, who left behind them an actual environmental catastrophe.

The irony, it is strong with this one.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Our undying gratitude once more to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the President’s Day Rule Five links!  Be sure to check out the extensive totty compendiums at the links.

 Now, on to some science – new technology, it seems, might make brain implants practical.  Not surprisingly, this news comes out of MIT.  Excerpt:

Researchers at Harvard Medical School will use a new kind of implant that will go beneath the skull but can rest on the surface of an animal’s brain, instead of penetrating inside the organ. An array of microscopic coils inside the hair-like device can generate powerful, highly targeted magnetic fields to induce electrical activity at particular locations in the brain tissue underneath. The implant will also be tested when placed inside brain tissue. 

The device will be used to stimulate the visual cortex of the monkeys to try and re-create the activity normally triggered by signals from the eyes—creating the sensation of sight without the eyes’ input. Ultimately, the goal is to use the implant to convert signals from a camera into brain activity. Unlike conventional electrodes, the coils’ effectiveness shouldn’t degrade over time. Magnetic fields aren’t impeded by tissue forming around an implant as electric currents are.

I’m certain this tech will never be used for nefarious purposes, of course.

 While this technology might (literally!) allow the deaf to hear and the blind to see, it’s unclear whether it could be used to, say, restore motor functions.  I would tend to think it’s possible, but back when I studied biology my area of focus was behavior, not neurology, so I will be the first to admit my understanding here is limited.

Still.  It’s an amazing modern era we live in.  At least in the Western world, it is; large parts of the globe are still struggling out of the Dark Ages.

Maybe we can come up with a brain implant for that?

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