All posts by Animal

Animal’s Daily Pothole Vigilante News

Before we get into this, check out the latest installment of Season of Ice over at Glibertarians!

Now then:  In Vallejo, California, the citizenry have had enough of waiting for the state to do anything about the roads, so they are handling things themselves.  Excerpt:

One of my favorite movies is “Brazil,” by the Monty Python comedy troupe’s alum Terry Gilliam. In the most-telling scene, Harry Tuttle, played by Robert De Niro, breaks into an apartment, not to rob it, but to fix a broken air conditioning system. That’s because the vast government bureaucracy, Central Services, won’t do it. “Harry Tuttle, heating engineer at your service,” he announces to the tenant, Sam Lowry, played by Jonathan Price. “Now they got the whole country sectioned off. Can’t make a move without a form.” The crucial form is 27B-6.

An example of real-life Henry Tuttles: city residents filling their own potholes. It’s a Pythonesque absurdity in California, where Gov. Gavin Newsom on May 10 reported a $97.5 billion surplus projected for fiscal year 2022-23. You’d think the state Department of Transportation and its local equivalents would make all roads as smooth as silk. Instead, these bureaucratic systems produce neglect that makes many streets look like the surface of the moon.

Enter the Vallejo Pothole Vigilantes. “Vallejo residents say they’re fed up with potholes on city streets,” ABC7 News Bay Area reported in January. “Some of them have banded together in the new year as vigilantes of sorts, taking matters into their own hands.” Resident David Marsteller explained, “Pretty much, we watch a YouTube video, a few of them, on how to repair asphalt. We are up to about 60 right now.” When asked how many more potholes needed to be filled, he laughed. As of late May, the group had raised $8,110 on GoFundMe.

It brings one a little bit of hope that there still are some self-sufficient people out there, who can, when failed by agents of overweening government gone bad, spit on their hands and take care of things themselves.  It has damn near an Ayn Rand aspect to it.  And when you read the entire article, as you should, you’ll see that the privatization trend is encompassing not only the roads but the policing and the schools, too.

Maybe this is the model for the future.  Ordinary folks, tired of the ever-expanding and yet ever-more-incompetent levels of government, get tired of waiting and start pitching in.  You’re seeing a greater involvement at the local level, as witness the spike in parents getting involved in local school boards, but I think the answer is this:  Forget waiting for the government.  Take care of things yourselves.  Maybe, just maybe, more folks will discover that for most of the distributed interests that government supposedly handles now, we can do ourselves.

Now some folks will say, “well, Animal, that’s what government is – focusing our joint efforts to handle distributed interests, like roads, education and policing.”  But right now, almost everywhere, we’re doing it through layers of bureaucracy, through layers of grifters and incompetents at all level.

I think the Pothole Vigilantes have the right idea.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks once again to Pirate’s Cove, Whores and Ale, The Daley Gator, The Other McCain and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links.  As always, if I’ve overlooked your linkback, let me know in the comments and I’ll get you added to the weekly callout.

Now then:  I’m fed up with politics and public affairs at the moment, so I’m going to talk about the weather instead.

Winter is showing up on the horizon most places in the United States (and indeed, the northern hemisphere) but here in the Great Land, it’s already here and has settled in for a long stay.  Our recreation is still a bit hampered here as we have not yet found a good snow machine that suits our needs (for you folks in the 48, that’s a snowmobile; in Canada, it’s a sled.)  But I do have a good set of snowshoes, so I’ll get out some, and who knows, maybe I’ll get a few big-bodied snowshoe hares.  They’re good eating, and Mrs. Animal would like to have a few dazzling white winter hare pelts for some various crafting purposes.

Lots of folks still today living in places like Florida and Arizona haven’t really experienced a northern winter.  Here, from the Hulu show Letterkenny, is a humorous take on the northern winter.

Canada, not Alaska, but the winter weather is similar.  If you haven’t checked out Letterkenny, I recommend it.  It’s comedy as it used to be; they poke fun at pretty much everything, while still being a good-natured take on what life in a small town is like.  I enjoy that bit because I grew up in a small town, and after almost forty years of living in cities, I’m finally back in a small community again, and really enjoying it.

Yr. obdt. moving some snow.

Back to the weather:  We have between six and eight inches of snow on the ground right now.  Temps have already dipped below zero a few times.  The snow will be here until May.  And it will remain as it is, pristine, white and beautiful.

Winters here are long and cold.  But that’s OK.  It’s Alaska, not Miami.  We’re prepared, with plenty of firewood, a utility tractor to move snow, and a well-stocked freezer.  As I’ve always said, the thing we enjoy most about winter is feeling proofed against it.  And here in Alaska, we have a long time every year to enjoy that feeling.

Rule Five Shoplifting Friday

Denver’s own Mike Rosen was, for many years (including most of the thirty or so years I lived in the Denver area) the 800-pound gorilla of talk radio in the Mile High City.  I always enjoyed his show, and in fact was an in-studio guest for two hours in 2001, after Misplaced Compassion hit the market.  He’s a brilliant guy, engaging and fun to talk to, and while he’s semi-retired now he still turns to the keyboard and says what he thinks about things.  Here he explains to us how crime really does seem to pay these days.  Excerpt:

The Rite Aid pharmacy chain has announced that theft in their New York City stores has cost the company $5 million, just in the last quarter.  They’re now considering putting literally everything behind glass showcases and are even hiring off-duty police officers for security in some of their stores.  The NYPD reports that petty theft has increased 42% in the city this year while robbery is up 37% and burglary up 32%.

In other big cities governed by Democrats, crime rates are soaring thanks to progressive district attorneys, some whose election campaigns were funded by radical left-wing, America-hating billionaire George Soros.  These DA’s allow criminals charged with violent crimes awaiting trial to be released without bail on their own recognizance with the effect that too many continue to commit other crimes.  One such DA, Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, was actually removed from office after a recall election in June.  This, in one of the most liberal cities in the country.  We need a lot more of that, as well as not electing such people in the first place.

A recent report from Colorado’s Common Sense Institute finds metro Denver to be among the nation’s worst venues for soaring crime rates. Colorado ranks 1st in motor  vehicle theft in the country, with multiple cases of car thieves using those stolen vehicles to commit other crimes, and then stealing yet another car to commit more crimes.  All this while they’re released on bail — or without!

Denver (and Colorado) have sure changed since I moved to that area in 1989.  Back then Colorado was still South Wyoming in most places, although Boulder was already Hippie Heaven and Denver was showing the first signs of descent into lunacy.  But it’s only gotten worse; I loved Colorado for many reasons but boy, howdy, did we ever pick a good time to leave.

Mr. Rosen continues:

A basic principle of economics and human nature is that what you punish you get less of, and what you reward you get more of. Yes, some first-time criminals can be rehabilitated and programs devoted to that can be useful. But the problem is with repeat offenders, amoral, sociopathic criminals. Crime is their business. It’s what they do for a living. Think of Whitey Bulger, the Boston mobster. Criminal-coddling policies of unrealistic, progressive social justice warriors in government include early releases from prison, reduced sentences, decriminalizing serious offenses, downgrading felonies to misdemeanors, and eliminating bail. This has made crime pay for criminals who feed on law-abiding citizens, while progressives make the thin blue line ever thinner.

In other words:  Incentives matter.

Government really only has two legitimate functions:  To prevent other people from harming me or taking my stuff.  Or, at least, to provide redress in the event someone does harm me or take my stuff – and that government should stay off my back if someone tries to harm me or take my stuff and I defend myself with force.

Government in the cities mentioned by Mr. Rosen here, as well as in most major American cities, have failed in all three of those areas.  They handle criminals with kid gloves; they provide little in the way of redress to the citizenry when appealed with the clean away at least the worst repeat offenders, and heaven help you if you exercise your right to self-defense.

So, assuming the trend continues in our major cities, one can only wonder what comes next when the municipal governments, who have primary police and prosecutory powers, continue to fail in what is one of their few legitimate duties.  At best, the citizenry takes matters into their own hands.  At worst, the thugs rule the streets.  It’s hard to see any middle ground here.

Animal’s 2022 Election Postmortem

Well, as of this writing, it’s mostly over, and the oft-ballyhooed Red Wave turned out to be barely a red drip. The GOP may squeak out a narrow majority in the House, and the control of the Senate will once again come down to a runoff in Georgia.  Here in the Great Land, things were a little brighter, as we comfortably sent Governor Dunleavy back into office.  We have to wait a couple of weeks (why?) for the second round of ranked-choice bullshit.  At this time Kelly Tshibaka has a small lead over the execrable Princess Lisa Murkowski and Mary Peltola has hung onto less than the 50% required to win outright, which means that if Alaskans were savvy enough to Rank the Red we may yet send either Nick Begich (my choice) or Sarah Palin to the Imperial City, since between the two of them they got a tad over 50% of the vote.  But for our Senate seat?  Democrat Patricia Chesbro sits now with 9.5% of the vote, and if that flips to Murkowski in the ranked-choice scheme, that may put Princess Lisa over the top.  Dammit.

Nationally, though?  Disappointing, but not as surprising as it might have been.  Here, then, are my thoughts on winners and losers from Tuesday’s debacle.

Winners

Ron DeSantis.  Governor DeSantis is the GOP’s story of the day now, and should rightfully be considered the leader of the GOP and the likely Presidential candidate in 2024.  He took a narrow win in 2018 and turned it into a landslide re-election in 2022.  He has grit, savvy, without the crippling narcissism that brings down so many politicians.  Take a look at him, Republicans – this is how it’s done.  The red wave actually happened in Florida, and it was almost all due to Ron DeSantis.

Joe Biden(‘s handlers).  Yes, really.  If you’re a regular reader of these pages you’re likely of the thought, like yr. obdt., that old Joe really has very little idea what’s going on – but in politics appearances are what matters, the people pulling his strings know that, and Tuesday’s disappointment for the GOP will be spun as due to the success of the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration.  If the red wave had materialized, old Joe likely would have been dumped.  Now?  They’ll keep the Weekend at Bernie’s presidency going as long as they can.

Brian Kemp.  The Georgia Governor handily stood off another challenge by Stacey Abrams, who granted was a pretty awful candidate but Georgia has become a pretty squishy state lately (just look at the state of the Senate race there) and the polls leading up were all over the place.  But Kemp won decisively, by almost nine points, and with a bit of luck, he can throw some weight behind Walker for the Senate runoff and maybe – just maybe – pull off a miracle.

Greg Abbot and Texas.  There has been a lot of virtual ink spilled about the Texas turning blue.  While Texas has its blue spots, as every red state does (up here it’s the Anchorage bowl) Texas as a whole is pretty solidly red.  Governor Abbot destroyed the soy-boy β O’Rourke, the Irish tortilla, by over eleven points.  For now, Texas stays solidly in the GOP column.

Losers

Donald Trump.  The Donald played some… odd hands in this election cycle.  His slate of endorsed candidates saw mixed success, but in the lead-up to the election and the aftermath of it, he did what he does best, and made it all about him.  His treatment of Senate candidate Joe O’Dey in Colorado in particular was just awful.  He needs to quietly stop seeking any further public office, and get behind Ron DeSantis in 2024.  And some of his endorsements were really puzzling, which brings us to:

Mehmet Oz.  Pennsylvania, in a move that’s just puzzling, is sending a shambling, brain-damaged wreck to the Senate.  But what the hell, we already have a shambling, brain-damaged wreck in the Imperial Mansion.  What’s more baffling is that Dr. Oz managed to lose to a shambling, brain-damaged wreck.  Trump’s endorsement of Oz and his primary win, well, it ended up being a pretty bad choice.  Someone, oh, who was actually from Pennsylvania may have done better.

Sean Patrick Maloney.  In one of the bright spots for the GOP, the actual furshlugginer Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair lost his House seat – in New York!  That, I admit, rated a chuckle.

The GOP.  Come on, guys.  Get your shit together.  This should have been a cakewalk for you.  You faced opponents who are in favor of genital mutilation of children, abortion up until the moment of birth, high taxes, physics-defying “green” energy schemes, and who have overseen the highest inflation since in over forty years, and you blew it.  There’s a time to reorganize and take a good look in the mirror, and that time is right-the-fuck now.

So that’s my take on things.  I’m not optimistic as to our nation’s future at the moment.  But I haven’t been too optimistic for some time.  H.L. Mencken once famously predicted:

As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

Boy howdy, did he ever call it.  And not just the White House, either.

I’m going to go outside, listen to the birds, look at our clean, pristine Alaska snow covering the landscape, and think about something else for a while.  I suggest you all do likewise.  Tomorrow is another day.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Programming note:  As I compile the Wednesday links posts throughout the previous week, and generally more or less complete them on Tuesday evening, I don’t have any comments (yet) on the elections yesterday – other than holy cow, what a cluster-fark.   But tomorrow’s post will be devoted to my thoughts on yesterday’s elections, and boy howdy, do I ever expect to have some thoughts.

I imagine plenty of other folks will have some thoughts, too, and I’ll probably comment on those as well.  Stay tuned!

Now then…

On To the Links!

Job Biden’s last hurrah.  We can hope.

And every man under the age of 122 replied with “I’ll be in my bunk.”

I’ll start believing there’s a climate crisis when the people who keep telling me there’s a climate crisis start acting like there’s a climate crisis.

President Biden shouts and sprays spit, reaches speed of 130 lies per hour.

Gee, ya think?

Those Denisovans really got around.

File this under “Yipes!”

Next, home prices start to drop. 

Frog, meet scorpion.

Why pollsters keep getting it wrong.

The obvious things that leftists don’t understand about oil.

De-industrialization may be the least bad thing happening to Europe.

Feature, not bug.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Guardian’s Robert Weissman is an idiot.

Donna Brazile (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.  And again.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

New York Magazine’s Ed Kilgore is an idiot.

The Nation’s Elie Mystal (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont remains an idiot.

Whoever Rita Omokha is, she’s an idiot.

These idiots can’t figure out that it’s not the messaging, it’s the message.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a sawed-off little runt, and an idiot.

Juan Williams (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The New York Times’ Charles Blow (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Guardian’s Cas Muddle (Seriously?  That’s what you went with?) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Not exactly music today.  Although there is music in the clip below.

A while back I stumbled across a YouTube channel called Lumber Capital Log Yard, which features a family of hard-working folks running a sawmill in north-central Pennsylvania.  Now, it doesn’t hurt the channel’s popularity that the family includes three very attractive young ladies.  I don’t know as I’d choose to work around the kind of machinery shown here in shorts and a tank top, but I do appreciate the display of both good old American hard work and the Feminine Aesthetic here.

Here’s a sample.  Toss them a subscribe if you’re still on YouTube.   

Animal’s Daily Election Day News

Before we start, go check out the latest installment of Season of Ice over at Glibertarians!  And if you’re not checking out the morning and afternoon links (and other great content) on that site, you should be!

Now then:  This is it.  The Big Day.  I won’t say much today, other than expressing some hope that the Red Tsunami will overcome the margin of fraud and that we’ll see some slight semblance of sanity return to the Imperial City.  The Left will predictably be screaming about fascists taking over, but here, from this piece over at Issues & Insights, is a good takedown as to why the Left is full of shit on this (as well as many other things.)

In contrast to the left’s campaign of disinformation, we present some facts:

  • Fascists don’t cut taxes, deregulate, and shrink government. Republicans, even “MAGA Republicans,” run on those issues, and are devoted to the principles, even if too often the policy agenda fails (because of Democratic and media opposition).
  • Fascists are socialists, and it’s the Democrats who are wed to socialist policies. They constantly agitate for higher taxes, more government control of the means of production, ever-deeper government intrusion into private affairs, and incontestable political power. They don’t want voters to know that fascism’s father Benito Mussolini said that “socialism is in my blood,” or that the Nazis were national socialists.
  • Politicians and media figures hungry for raw power will call those who question an election that they won “deniers” while themselves denying that they did exactly that in previous elections.
  • A party that wishes to destroy America would, as Walter Russel Mead wrote a month after Donald Trump took office, limit fracking as much as possible, block oil and gas pipelines, and try to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran. The GOP has done none of that. The Democrats are guilty of all three.
  • A party that would abolish democracy would crush dissenting voices and opinions, and constantly smear its opponents – which is what the Democrats have done. (And yet again we have to reiterate that the U.S. is not a democracy. That is an infantile construction used to deceive. We are a republic.)
  • White supremacists don’t appoint minorities to their Cabinet. Trump had one black Cabinet member, two Asians and one Native American. George Bush had four black Americans in his Cabinet. Neither do white supremacists brag that during their administration, black unemployment reached a record low. Trump did.

I can’t add anything to that.  Mrs. Animal and I will be off to town later today, to do our civic duty and with a bit of luck, shed Alaska of the grifter Murkowski and the liberal Peltola.  Go, then, True Believers, and do likewise.  Vote!  Vote as though your liberty depends on it.  Because it does.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

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

So, tomorrow is the big day.  David Harsanyi has some ideas as to how we got to the (likely) turnout tomorrow.  Excerpt:

Last night, the President of the United States, a man whose pathological lying has been ratcheted up to surreal levels lately, gave one of the most transparently toxic partisan speeches in memory. Biden, quite paradoxically, warned that American “democracy” could only survive if the nation functioned under one-party rule. Despite historic early turnouts, the president lied about widespread attacks on voting rights, preemptively engaging in the kind of election denialism he contends is “un-American.” Biden has probably forgotten that virtually every major Democrat was an “election denialist” not only in 2016 but in 2000, as well.

The president then blamed the actions of the mentally ill, drug-addled individual who viciously attacked the husband of Nancy Pelosi on all of MAGAdom — which, according to Democrats, includes everyone who disagrees with any of their positions, including a pro-life movement that’s been around forever. Biden, who has likely engaged in more blatant executive abuses than any post-war president, leads a party that makes little distinction between “democracy” and its own power, treating any deviation, whether it be by the courts or voters, as illegitimate and “undemocratic” — a word that has been sapped of any real meaning.

Go, then, and read it all – there are some good arguments there.

I’ve been a politician-watcher since the late Seventies, and never in my life have I seen a political party overstep so badly, so quickly.  Tomorrow’s results – assuming we get results beyond the margin of fraud – will reflect that.

President Biden(‘s handlers) deserve a lot of the credit, of course.  The man himself, I don’t think we can rightly place too much at his feet; he doesn’t even know where his feet are any more.  Every time we see him speak he seems to be getting worse, and I’ll be a bit surprised if he doesn’t step down in 2023, citing health or some other reason.  Or, if Frau Doktor Professor Jill tries to put on the pressure to stay in her Edith Wilson role, the 25th Amendment may be invoked.  Either way, I’m skeptical about him lasting his full term.  Old Joe’s disintegration has become too obvious.

Which, of course, leaves us with the dry-heave-inducing Heels-Up Harris as POTUS.  She, of course, also deserves some of the blame for the drubbing the Dems will almost certainly take tomorrow.  She is at least consistent -every time she opens her mouth something stupid comes out (decorum prevents me from speculating about anything proceeding in the opposite direction).  In that case, she’ll be the lamest lame duck that ever ducked, with no hope of getting a Democrat VP through the GOP-controlled Congress.

But back to the kinked article; watch, now, the reactions from the Left when the GOP is through kicking some and taking some on Tuesday.  Watch the major cities.  I expect to see some “mostly peaceful” unrest, and I expect to see the apocalyptic rhetoric from the Left ratcheted up.

When Bill Clinton was confronted with a similar drubbing in his first mid-term, he triangulated, moderated some of his stances and ended up having a modestly successful Presidency.  Nobody involved in the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration or their enablers in the legacy media is that smart.  Their reaction to proggie policies being rejected will be to prog harder, and we’ll see how far that gets them – I’m guessing it will get them to a Republican President in 2025.

Go vote tomorrow!

Rule Five Barn Burner Friday

Now for the fun one:  I seem myself delivering this one at a shout.

Take a look at the signs waved by some of the protestors, rioters and arsonists plaguing our major cities today.  Take a look at some of their positions – anti-capitalist, anti-business, anti-freedom.

Now take a look at the protestors themselves.  Ask yourself how many of them actually do any productive work.

These people toil not, neither do they spin.  They are, by and large, parasites on the productive members of society that they demonize at every turn.  But there’s something they are missing, a key point that we, the productive, understand, that they do not.  And I say this to those parasites:

You need us.  We don’t need you.

To you folks out there in the audience today, I say this:  We – you and I – not they, are the people who make this economy run.  We grow the food these parasites eat.  We make the clothing they wear.  We make the cell phones and tablets they use to plan their riots.  We write the code for the social networking sites on which they plan their riots.  And I say this to those parasites:

You need us.  We don’t need you.

You look down your noses at the people who feed you.

People like my father, who raised Black Angus cattle, corn, and soybeans for much of his life.  The people who sell the seed and take the steers off to the packing plant.  The people who make fertilizer, who build the farm machinery in factories like the huge John Deere plant in Waterloo, Iowa.  You look down on the truckers who haul supplies to the farms and ranches and food to the distributors and stores.

And to that I say to you:  You need us.  We don’t need you.

You look down your noses at the people who transport you.

People like the thousands who work in the plants of Ford, GM, Chrysler, and the other various manufacturers all around the country.  The people who refine the gasoline and Diesel fuel that move the vehicles, the people who fix your car when it breaks down, the driver of the wrecker who comes out to help you because you lack the skills to do something as elementary as changing a tire – a skill I learned at about ten years of age.

And to that I say to you:  You need us.  We don’t need you.

You look down your noses at the people who clothe you.

Thousands more grow cotton, raise sheep, to make the cloth.  Workers all over the world make your “stylish” tattered blue jeans, maybe even some of those really expensive ones with fake ground-in dirt on them to make it look as though you’ve actually done a day’s work at some point in your lives.  Thousands more package the clothing, deliver it to stores, where retail clerks deal endlessly with difficult customers at little pay to provide you with the clothes you wear while lecturing the rest of us.

And to that I say to you:  You need us.  We don’t need you.

You look down your noses at the people who keep you warm.

I’m talking about the thousands that work on the Alaskan oil fields, in the shale formations in the Dakotas, and on drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.  The people who build the pipelines, who move heavy equipment from site to site, who work in the refineries and who move heating oil and natural gas from those refineries to its final point of use – not to mention the scientists and engineers who design and build the equipment and discover new sources of valuable fuels.  You not only look down on these people but demonize them for their contributions to some nebulously defined ‘climate change,’ even as the United States is leading the world in reducing carbon emissions not because of climate worries but because of cleaner fuels and vastly increased efficiencies, brought to you by those workers, scientists and engineers.

And to that I say to you:  You need us.  We don’t need you.

You look down your noses at the people who make it possible for you to communicate.

From Silicon Valley to your local cell phone store, an entire industry is devoted to our modern, highly connected lifestyle.  People all around the world build the cellular phones you use and write the software that runs them.  Thousands more maintain the phone towers, the internet hubs, the connections, the wires, fiberoptic cables and wireless networks that transmit the data.  Their efforts make it possible to make your plans to riot and loot, to attack the very businesses, stores, and restaurants these productive people count on in their own productive lives.

And the irony of you decrying capitalism while using this technology, unprecedented in human history, that could only be the product of a free market, capitalist system, is beyond description.

And to that I say to you:  You need us.  We don’t need you.

I’m going to presume for a moment that the parasite-protestor class, those with the Gender Studies degrees and trust funds, is actually capable of active thought.  To them, I say this:  I want all of you parasites to think, long and hard, about the implications of that statement:

You need us.

We don’t need you.