Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Rest Of The Story

The tariffs on Chinese goods are the big “Trump outrage” in the news today, along with the “trade war with China,” and talk about how American consumers are being forced to pay these tariffs.

What the media fails to mention is that tariffs are designed to reduce trade with country against whom they are levied, and to persuade Americans to buy goods made by American workers, in which case nobody pays the tariffs.

Are you upset that the price of a washing machine made in China increased due to this tariff? Then buy a washing machine made in the US, whose price is not affected by the tariff on Chinese goods. It's not rocket science.

I’m not all that big fan of Pat Buchanan, but he spells all this out very cogently in a recent column. He points out that tariffs protect American manufacturers and manufacturing jobs, and that the second law passed under our constitution was a law regarding tariffs.

"The Tariff Act of 1789 was enacted with the declared purpose, 'the encouragement and protection of manufactures.' It was the second act passed by the first Congress led by Speaker James Madison. It was crafted by Alexander Hamilton and signed by President Washington."

And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, you know the rest of the story. The side of the story that the media doesn’t want you to know, because it doesn’t paint Trump as evil.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Freedom of Speech

I see no problem with bias in the media. In fact, there should be bias in the media. The whole purpose of freedom of speech is to assure that there can be bias in the media. Bias in the media is the exercise of freedom of speech.

The problem with today’s media is the pretense that there is an unbiased media. If the media was, as it claims to be, unbiased, then freedom of speech would serve no useful purpose – would be a meaningless term.

When I was growing up, every town had two newspapers. Towns which were too small to support two publications had papers delivered from larger cities nearby. One paper was openly liberal, the other openly conservative, and virtually everyone read both of them. There existed, back then, a willingness to arrive at one’s own point of view after having been exposed to argument from both sides of an issue.

Today, while there are several networks on television, all of them speak in concert, and cities have but a single news publication of consequence. As a result, all of this media has to pretend to be unbiased, but none of it is, and the public is presented with a single viewpoint. Freedom of speech has become meaningless.

To the extent that freedom of speech is exercised today, we see it on “publications” with minor exposure, such as blogs and fringe publications. One such outlet claims to be among the very largest, with “more than 100,000” readers. The claim is dubious, but even if true it would be a minor portion of the 238 million voters in the nation. Even the cable news commentary sites cannot claim to attract as much as a tenth of 1% of the voting public.

And even so, today’s voters only view or read that which confirms their existing opinions, as can be seen by college students demanding that certain speakers be banned from their campuses. Most blog discussions will openly require than discussion adhere to rules that boil down to “dissent is not welcome here.”

Freedom of speech has not been banned by law. It has been rendered an empty shell by a population too intellectually lazy to even know what it is, much less keep it alive.

Monday, May 13, 2019

End Of The Journey

MollyAfter seventeen years of being a happy, lively beautiful cat and a loving friend, despite more than five years of serious medical issues and daily medication insults, which she accepted with grace and dignity, Molly suffered a stroke a few days ago. She stayed with us, weakened but in no apparent distress for several days, but last night began showing signs of breathing distress while curled up in my lap, and passed away peacefully at 8:45pm last evening. We will miss her every day.      (Click image for larger version.)

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Movie Review: "Dirty"

Why would anyone watch a movie with that title? Well, in my case because it starred Cuba Gooding Jr, who is one of my favorite actors. He could not, unfortunately, overcome a dismally inept script, an even worse director, and cinematographers who barely knew which direction to point their cameras.

The latter undoubtedly call themselves “cameramen” because they don’t know how to spell cinematographer, and “cameraman” is the politically correct term because no woman would ever so completely botch a task as these clowns did.

It was not one of those movies where the viewer cannot figure out what is going on. The script was completely transparent and hardly original or innovative, with Cuba Gooding Jr as a dirty cop in Los Angeles, but the parts which were not stupid were just disgusting. At least it was free on Amazon, but even at that it was overpriced. They should have paid me to watch it.

I did watch it all the way through, but only because I wanted to be sure that Gooding came to a bad end, which he did. A young girl had vowed to kill him, and had purchased a gun with which to do so. She was stalking him at the end, but chickened out at the last minute and tossed the gun, which was a bit disappointing.

It worked out okay, though, because a couple minutes later a gangster blew him away with a shotgun, which splattered him far more satisfyingly than the girl’s six shooter would have done.

What happened to the “good guy?” There were no good guys. The girl was, at best, in the “least bad” category. She spit in Gooding’s face, for instance, which I actually applauded. She did not, however, know that he was a dirty cop and just hated all cops, so don’t shed any tears for her.

My wife is out of town for the week. I really need for her to come home and rescue me from watching all these really bad movies on Amazon.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Ineptitude Abounds

NBC News has a headline reading, "Navy officer sentenced to 9 years in California bridge crash that killed 4." The first sentence of the article contradicts the headline by saying that, "A U.S. Navy petty officer whose truck plunged off a bridge..." An officer and a petty officer are not the same thing.

Even worse, in a picture on television the guy is shown in uniform, with three diagonal green stripes on his upper left sleeve. That denotes a rate of Airman (E-3) which is not even a petty officer. Who writes these stories? And does NBC not have editors?

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Failure of Critical Thinking

A recent response to criticism of Elizabeth Warren’s plan to pay off student loans as being a “slap in the face to all those who struggled to pay off their loans” is to say that it is the same as saying that “Antibiotics are a slap in the face to all the people who died of the plague.” This argument is widely applauded by those who support Elizabeth Warren.

Without discussing the underlying student loan payoff plan, either approving or disapproving of the plan itself, consider the argument of comparing the burden of student loan payments to the issue of suffering from Bubonic Plague.

This is another demonstration of the modern inability to engage in logical thinking. Let’s start with the fact that people who died of the plague did not make a choice to get the plague, while people who have student loans did make the choice to take out that loan.

There are other fallacies embedded in this false analogy, several of them, but this one alone is sufficient to point out that critical thinking is a skill no longer engaged in as part of our political dialog, and that is an issue that makes democracy guaranteed to fail as a form of government. People who are invincibly ignorant and who are incapable of logical thinking simply cannot govern themselves.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Politics of the Absurd

Senator Elizabeth Warren is going to use the proceeds of her “wealth tax” to eliminate all outstanding student debt, provide free college tuition for everybody, subsidize lodging costs while in college, and expand Pell grants. Other things too, but those are the big ones. It sounds lovely, if you’re a complete idiot.

The wealth tax is scheduled to bring in $2.75 trillion, but that’s in ten years (assuming that the tax is constitutional), so it’s actually $275 billion per year. What can actually be done with that?

Well, you can’t cancel all student debt very quickly, because it currently stands at $1.5 trillion. You would have to devote the entirety of the wealth tax revenue to that purpose for 5.45 years to pay off today’s outstanding student debt, during which time you could do nothing else with it.

Free college tuition for everybody? In-state tuition at state college averages $9970 per year, and there are roughly 20 million people in college at any one time. So providing college tuition, and only tuition, comes to $200 billion per year, or about 73% of the wealth tax revenue. Doesn’t leave room for much help with college housing costs, or the addition of a whole lot of Pell grants, does it?

Let’s see, $75 billion left, divided by 20 million college students… That comes to about $3750 annually per student for food and housing. Certainly not eating steak. Sorry, no additional Pell grants.

Not to mention that you can’t start doing it for more than five years because you’ve been paying off student loans all that time. Or, after those five years plus, are you still paying off more loans that were incurred while you were not providing free tuition because you were paying off outstanding loans instead?

There’s a few other problems with her program. She’s proposing to use a federal tax to pay for tuition at state universities and colleges. In addition to the items mentioned above, she has a long laundry list of programs she plans to fund with this wealth tax, including universal child care.

Probably $3 trillion per year worth of programs that she plans to fund with a tax that is something of a long shot to even be enacted, and that at best will bring in $2.75 trillion in ten years. This is politics of the absurd.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Bypassing the Constitution

Kamela Harris promises dictatorship, and Democrats cheer wildly.

“If Congress does not pass the gun control laws that I want within 100 days,” she promises, “then I will create those laws by executive order.”

We don’t need no steenkin constitution.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

New One Just Like the Old One

Our 35-year-old garage door opener finally bit the dust, so we have a nice shiny new one now, which is an improvement on the old one in only one feature, other than that the new one works.

The new door opener is connected to the Internet so that if I am having lunch at a nice restaurant in Old Town I can look at my iPhone and verify that my garage door is closed or, if it is not, close it from wherever I am.

I am unconvinced that this feature is of any conceivable use whatever. In some fifty years of having a garage, not one time have I ever been having a nice lunch in Old Town (or anywhere else, for that matter) and suddenly wondered about the status of my garage door. I am extraordinarily unlikely to have that experience any time soon.

I downloaded the “app” and made the connection simply to see if I could, and to see if it actually worked. It does. Big whoop. Does that make me a Luddite?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Why They Are So Angry

I don’t know who PJ Media is, and don’t really care. I don’t read it, but saw this quoted today regarding why Democrats and the media are so hot about the press conference held by Attorney General Barr this morning. “They are upset,” PJ Media tells us, “because, as with Barr’s four-page letter, they don’t want Barr ‘setting the narrative.’ They have explicitly stated as much.”

What that boils down to is that today’s voting public does not examine things and decide for themselves what to think. Democrats know that the voting public has the attention span of a gnat and is not going to read a 400-page report, but is going to think whatever they it is told about the report. They are really pissed off that AG Barr beat them to the punch.

The point is proven by the fact that Democrats and the media are calling Barr a liar, and worse, within minutes receiving their copies of the report, after claiming last week that 48 hours was too soon for him to have produced a summary of it.

PJ Media also illustrated the intelligence of the media by citing an exchange from the press conference, when a “reporter” asked Mr. Barr why her referred to the intense scrutiny and investigation of Trump’s presidency, family and associates as “unprecedented.”

“Has it happened before?” Barr asked the “reporter."

When the "reporter" acknowledged that it had not, Barr explained, “Then it is unprecedented.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Convention Center Update

Not only is it still ugly, it’s even uglier than previous iterations. This dog has failed three times, and it keeps coming back. It was not on the 2018 November ballot because the petition did not have enough signatures and Hizzoner the mayor was unable to browbeat the City Council into putting it on the ballot after the citizens of the city said they didn’t want it to be there.

So this year Hizzoner didn’t even bother with a public petition, but went to the City Council and not only got them to put it in the ballot, but managed to browbeat them into putting it onto the primary election ballot in March despite a city rule put in place in 2016 as a result of citizens initiative Measure L.

Measure L passed with a 66% affirmative vote and requires that all initiatives be placed on the general election ballot rather than the primary, an election in which far fewer people vote. The purpose is, obviously, to be sure that such initiatives better reflect the will of the people.

Hizzoner obviously does not care about the will of the people, something which has become clear al all levels of government today. Not only is he getting this dead dog placed on the ballot without getting input from the citizenry in the form of a petition drive, which he knows would fail, but he is getting it placed into the primary election, a process which he knows the citizenry opposes, and which he dreams improves the chance of him getting it to pass.

Monday, April 15, 2019

It's Back, and It Still Stinks

The “Hotel Tax Initiative” is back, with supporters so hot to trot that they don’t want to wait for the November 2020 election but want it to be placed on a March election ballot. The earlier election, a primary, has far fewer voters, making it a bit more likely that the measure would pass.

The measure funds three “important” needs for our city; three things that we desperately need, cannot do without, but that we certainly do not want to pay for ourselves. This is America, after all, and we never want to pay for benefits.

The first need, and the one cited in the name of the proposition, is expansion of the city’s convention center. On the face of it, this makes a certain amount of sense, in that visitors are paying the cost of having better facilities for their conventions. But what about visitors who are coming here specifically and only for the weather and beaches? Why should they be paying for a convention center that in no way benefits them?

One person countered that by arguing that as a childless person, why should I pay school taxes? I imitated a duck falling from the ceiling. (You don’t remember Groucho Marx?) As part of this city, I am responsible for contributing to the city’s accomplishment of its responsibility to educate its children.

Expansion of the convention center benefits the city, in fact, by attracting larger conventions and increasing revenue from tourism. Since we benefit from that investment, we should be willing to bear the cost of it.

The second need is to provide housing for the homeless. Typical of modern liberalism. We want to do good work, but we want someone else to pay for it. Put your money where your mouth is. If you don't want to pay for it, you are not doing good work. You are advocating for someone else to do good work.

The third need is road repairs, which us utterly ridiculous. Why should someone visiting here from Phoenix pay to repair our roads? Are we going to return the favor by paying to repair the roads in Phoenix? If we want better roads then we need to cough up the money and pay for our own roads.

This damned initiative is like an infestation of rats. It stinks and every time you think you’ve gotten rid of it, it comes back.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Embracing Stupidity

Democratic members of the Senate have introduced a bill to amend the constitution, proposing to determine the election of the president by means of the national popular vote. Dianne Feinstein is among that crowd, saying that the Electoral College “does not reflect the will of the people.”

I don’t think there’s any reason to panic, because there is no chance in hell that this idiocy will ever pass in Congress, and not to mention surviving a presidential veto. There is even less chance that it would be ratified by 38 states, but that members of the Senate would submit it is cause for concern.

I might expect this kind of idiocy from members of Generation X or Millennials who have been enstupidated by attending schools which give out “participation trophies,” but that a person who has been a federal legislator for more than fifty twenty five years would say something like that represents a rather frightening level of demagoguery.

Dianne Feinstein should know that this nation is not governed by “the will of the people” nationally or directly. In all aspects of governance, as is very clearly spelled out in the constitution, this nation is governed by the will of the states, and the Electoral College very rationally represents the will of the states.

This nation is a democracy “at one remove,” since each state is governed by the will of the people, but the national popular vote is entirely meaningless and Dianne Feinstein knows that very well.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Modern Military

NBC News did a segment about our response to increased “Russian aggression in Europe” the other night, which was to send a flight of B-52s to Poland.   BUFFs. “Big Ugly Fat Fuckers.”

Probably had the Russians crapping in their pants.

Don’t get me wrong, the B-52 is an awesome airplane, but this is the same bomber that the Russians were shooting down over Vietnam fifty years ago. Is it likely that Russia has improved its anti-aircraft weaponry in the last half century? I suspect it has.

The youngest B-52 is 57 years old. These airplanes are being flown by pilots whose grandfathers flew the same airplanes. Not the same type of airplanes, the same airplanes. The B-1 is supersonic, and the B-2 is invisible to radar, but when we want to scare the Russians what do we send? Half century old BUFFs, which are subsonic and about as stealthy as turds in a punchbowl.

There’s really something wrong with us.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

NFL Rules

The NFL has now decided that pass interference calls will be reviewable, as will the non-call of pass interference, in the upcoming season.

Terrific. NFL football games will now take an average of 4 hours and 34 minutes to complete, unless there is overtime. A game starting at 5:00pm will not end until the following day.

I would propose that every play be reviewed by officials, using all available camera angles, to assure that no infraction of any rule goes undetected and unpunished. This will result in at least one penalty on every play, rendering player skill irrelevant and making the most frequent scoring play the 2-point safety. Negative bonus points would be applied to the team which commits the most penalties on a single play. Las Vegas could take bets on which team would earn those negative bonus points.

Football games would enter the realm of cricket games, which frequently take two or three days to play.

On a (slightly) more serious note, pass defense used to be defined as attempting to prevent a pass receiver from catching a pass. That's now called "pass interference." Pass defense now consists of letting the receiver catch the pass and hoping you can put him on his ass, gently, before he scores.

Putting the pass receiver on his ass in a less than gentle manner, such as hitting him, is known as "unnecessary roughness" and invokes a 15-yard penalty.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Impeach Him Anyway

When an army gets demolished in battle, it falls back to regroup, rearm, tend the wounded, replace the dead and rebuild morale. Not so Democrats. When they get utterly routed in one attack they simply pretend the attack never happened and move into the next one without even pausing to draw breath.

After almost two years of running premature victory laps about the devastation which would be visited upon Donald Trump by the report from Saint Robert the King Slayer, their reaction to “there is no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government” is breathtaking in the speed with which it discards that mode of attack and seamlessly moves on to the next.

I would add to that metaphor that they left the ground behind them littered with the dead and dying from the battle lost, except that they don’t accept that any battle was lost or that anyone died or was wounded fighting it. They simply forget that the battle ever took place, and are already engaged in the next one.

“Aha,” they say, “but Saint Robert the King Slayer neither confirms not denies that Trump obstructed justice.” Which to them, of course, is certain evidence the Mueller found that he did and, for some reason, simply doesn’t want to say so. Why he would not want to say so is unclear, given that finding Trump guilty of something was his whole purpose in life for almost two full years.

In any case, considering that the underlying crime did not occur, obstruction of the pursuit of justice for a crime that was not committed seems rather moot, but Democrats are not going to let that stop them. Logic and reason has never been their strong suit.

There are some stalwarts who want to impeach Trump anyway, apparently for something that it has now been proven that he didn’t do, which would certainly be novel. Or they want to impeach him for something the Russians did, which is even more creative, but Saint Robert the King Slayer did, after all, indict a certain number of Russians for something.

The Russian indictment is turning out to be something of an embarrassment, though and the Democrats might not want to embrace it, because Saint Robert the King Slayer never thought the Russians would be stupid enough to show up in an American court to defend themselves.

They did, though, and Saint Robert the King Slayer tried to keep them out by telling the court that he had not been able to serve them with a subpoena. The judge was nonplussed by this and retorted that the subpoena was simply a notice to appear and, “Served or not, they’re here, so what’s your problem?”

The Russians then asked for “discovery,” which requires that the prosecution deliver the evidence against them, and Saint Robert the King Slayer told the judge that he wasn’t ready yet. The judge was nonplussed again and a little pissed off and asked, “If you don’t have your evidence together, why are you here?” The reality is, Saint Robert the King Slayer has no evidence, never dreamed he would need any, and the case is in imminent danger of being thrown out of court.

Which may have something to do with why his report “neither denies nor confirms” any obstruction of justice against Trump. He really wanted to charge it, but if he did and the case came before that same judge, he’d be screwed when Trump’s lawyer asked for discovery and Saint Robert the King Slayer “wasn’t ready.”

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Tiny, Tiny Violin

The violin that I am playing for Will Power is so small that it cannot be seen with the naked eye. He waited until he and one other car were the only ones who had not made their final pit stops and, sure enough, a wreck brought out the yellow flag and put him at the rear of the field.

He subsequently claimed that the rules need to be changed as, “We are the only series that does that.” Boo hoo. He sounds like Danica Patrick, and is absolutely filled with to the same level as she is with donkey crap. All series have the same rules on pitting and caution flags. What would he have them do, require all cars to pit during every caution whether they need to or not? Moron.

It was irrelevant in any case, because caution or not, he was going to have to pit, and he popped his clutch so abruptly when leaving the pit box that he broke his own drive shaft. Double moron.

I can appreciate his frustration, but whining about it like a fifth grader is in poor taste.

Apples and Apples are Different

I’ve been waiting for any reference to Crimea since Trump made his Golan Heights announcement, and have not seen such anywhere in any media.

Israel seized the Golan Heights during the 1967 war and has occupied it continuously since. They actually did to the Golan Heights what we have been accusing Russia of doing to Crimea which, of course, Russia didn’t actually do.

But if our claims of Russian perfidy were true we would have two acts of pretty much identical nature; military invasion, ongoing occupation and annexation. Except that in the Crimean case we are crying foul, and in the Golan Heights case we are applauding.

I finally found someone else who took notice of US duplicity, but it was not media. It was someone commenting in a discussion about the Mueller report. “Golan Heights annexation officialization is suddenly big,” he noted, adding, “(Crimea is ok then?) as Pompeo fantasizes about the Third Temple.”

The media has still, apparently, not noticed the similarity.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Diversionary Tactics

The uproar raised over comments by the Somali lady in Congress is both baffling and completely predictable, and it would be laughable beyond measure if it was not so utterly destructive to our democracy.

She complained, in effect, that Jewish money is buying votes in Congress, and the uproar is about “hate speech” and anti-Semitism. Let me place the emphasis where it belongs in her statement.

She said that Jewish money is buying votes in Congress.

That’s called bribery. She’s calling out elected legislators for taking bribes, and they react by talking about everything except the part where they are taking bribes. The fact that the money goes into their campaign coffers instead of into their personal accounts where they can spend it on themselves doesn’t make it any less a bribe. They are still spending that money for their own personal benefit, namely their own reelection to a position of power that they personally want to retain.

Whether it’s Jewish money or Gentile money is irrelevant. Legislative votes of both political parties are being bought with cash. That’s what she said, and that is what is not being talked about.

We use the euphemism of “money in politics” so that we can avoid admitting that we know that our elected representatives are being bribed, accepting cold hard cash in exchange for passing legislation which is against our best interest.

We know that legislators were paid cash by the health insurance companies to leave the “public option” out of the “Obamacare” health care reform bill. And we reelected 85% of them because we called it “money in politics” instead of openly recognizing it as the bribery that it was.

And that bribery will continue unabated because every time the subject comes up we allow the recipients of those bribes to divert us with talk of, in this case, “hate speech” or some other diversionary topic.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Making It Up

CNBC, in an article about how Elizabeth Warren claims that she is going to break up major corporations if elected president, cites her as saying that,

“Back when the railroads were dominant, and you had to get steel or wheat onto the railroad, there was a period of time when the railroads figured out that they could make money not only by selling tickets on the railroad, but also by buying the steel company and then cutting the price of transporting steel for their own company and raising the price of transporting steel for any competitors. And that’s how the giant grows.”

I would like to see her documentation for that claim because, after more than fifty years of studying American railroad history as a dedicated hobbyist, I cannot find any steel company of significance which was owned by or shared ownership with any railroad in a way which would permit the pricing behavior which she describes in her statement.

There were (and actually still are) many reverse cases, where small Class 2 and Class 3 railroads were owned by steel companies, wherein the railroad served as “bridge carriers” between the steel company and Class 1 railroads. The only steel those railroads ever carried, however, was that produced by their parent company, and so they produced no competitive advantage for their parent steel company. They existed because the amount of traffic they handled was too small to make it economical for the Class 1 railroad to operate the route.

There were also some raw material carriers owned by steel companies, which brought iron ore and coal, for instance, to the mills. Some of them were quite large, the Duluth Missabe and Iron Range Railroad, for instance, was at one time owned by US Steel and in one year transported 49 million tons of iron ore. It served all of the midwest steel mills, however, and charged the same freight rates to all of them.

Actually, the DM&IR carried ore from the Iron and Missabe mountain ranges to ships on Lake Michigan, and the ships, which were mostly not owned by steel companies, carried to ore to Indiana. So the railroad had no way of knowing whose ore it was carrying, since ore is like money, in that it is entirely fungible.

Yes, some massive companies need to be broken up, especially those who sell something for $990 when it only costs them $85 to make it, but you can’t justify it by simply making shit up. You need actual reasons, based on facts.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Doctrine of Rights

I was reading a column by Charles R. Kesler, of Claremont McKenna College. Despite its location just outside of Los Angeles, it’s a somewhat conservative school, so take it for what it’s worth, but I found some good food for thought in it.

"The prevailing liberal doctrine of rights," he says, "traces individual rights to membership in various groups—racial, ethnic, gender, class-based, etc.—which are undergoing a continual process of consciousness-raising and empowerment."

I think the point has validity. Consider California’s new law concerning any corporation doing business within this state, which mandates that the corporation must have a certain number of females on its board of directors. It does not mandate that the board have any male members, only female ones, thereby giving more business rights to females than to males.

It is also an assumption by California that a business can be forced to configure its incorporation to comply with state laws other than the one in which it is incorporated, which is a question of federalism and is an issue of state rights rather than individual rights, but anyway...

When California was run by Republicans the state assumed that all persons had equal business rights and opportunity regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexual preference. Now that liberal doctrine is in charge, we seem to think that companies are better when they are run by women, having learned nothing from watching Carley Fiorina run Hewlett Packard into the ground, causing tens of thousands of people to become unemployed in the process.

Not sure how many of those tens of thousands who became unemployed were women. We weren’t sufficiently “woke” back then to be keeping track of such things.

Monday, March 04, 2019

Robert Reich Is At It Again

Robert Reich is at it again. In case you don’t know him, Bobby is Professor of Public Policy at the U of C in Berkeley, which should tell you a lot right there, was a member of Bill Clinton’s cabinet, and was on the “transition team” for Barack Obama. He may or may not be senile, but he certainly is batshit crazy, which does not keep him from being a darling of the Democratic Party.

Back in 2010, when a BP Oil drilling platform had blown out and was spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, he said that, “It’s time for the federal government to put BP under temporary receivership, which gives the government authority to take over BP’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico until the gusher is stopped.”

The logic that he gave for this rather bizarre suggestion was that, “If the government can take over giant global insurer AIG and the auto giant General Motors and replace their CEOs, in order to keep them financially solvent, it should be able to put BP’s north American operations into temporary receivership...”

The government did not “take over” either of those two corporations, of course, it loaned them tens of billions of dollars in exchange for controlling interest in their stock, which could have been done by any financial institution that had that much money. Not to mention that those were American corporations and that any attempt by the American government to place a British corporation “into temporary receivership” would certainly have had a very interesting outcome.

Now he is issuing a dire warning about what will happen in the event of a Democratic victory in the 2020 election, opening with, “The United States is now headed by someone pathologically incapable of admitting defeat.”

Psychologists call that “projection.” Accusing another person of doing what I myself am doing so that I do not have to recognize it in myself and take responsibility for doing it.

How many “reasons” have Hillary Clinton and the Democrats come up with for the loss in 2016? Russian interference, James Comey and “self hating white women,” are just a few of the many that come to mind. When the phrase “pathologically incapable of admitting defeat” is uttered, who comes to mind? Who, on election night, sent her followers home without speaking to them?

Reich engages in a lengthy diatribe about how Trump and his followers believed before the election that it would be rigged against them, but he fails to mention that the Democratic primary election actually was rigged in favor of the establishment candidate, and that the fact of that bias and election rigging is supported by a wealth of direct evidence, and resulted in the forced resignation of the DNC chairperson. Nor does he mention that is Democrats who have actually refused to accept the outcome of the 2016 election and have complained endlessly since the election that they lost only because the other side cheated.

Reich reminds us that, “when an election is over, the peaceful transition of power reminds the public that our allegiance is not toward a particular person but to our system of government.” And yet it is Democrats whose allegiance is to their own candidate and their own partisan power who are preventing that “peaceful transition of power.”

“[W]hat happens,” Reich asks, “if an incumbent president claims our system is no longer trustworthy?” Easily answered. The same thing that is happening today when the losing side, in pursuit of their own political advantage, claims that our system is no longer trustworthy.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Democratic Socialism?

I’m not saying that Democratic Socialism is a bad thing, but let’s be more clear on what it is or, more specifically, isn’t. Like most people who want this nation to indulge in a socialist economy, Business Insider author John Haltiwanger doesn’t even know what socialism is.

"Socialism," he says in his Feb 25th article, "can be defined as a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control."

Private property is subject to government control? No, not even close. Why would I own a private business and allow the government to control it? And socialism does not involve the “distribution of income” at all; that is part of communism, not socialism.

Socialism is not a “system of social organization” at all. Again, the author is confusing socialism with communism. Socialism is a form of economic management, one in which the means of production and distribution are owned and operated by the government. Private property still exists, homes and automobiles for instance, but not as mechanisms in the economy.

"In other words," he goes on, "it's a state-controlled economy in which the state controls the means of production (factories, offices, resources, and firms)."

Oh, good. Having defined it incorrectly, the author uses “other words” to define it differently and a little more nearly correctly. At least he's defining it as an "an economy" rather than as a "system of social organization." He fails to point out that the government not only controls the means of production, it also owns the means of production. There are no “firms” for it to control, so that part is inaccurate. He also fails to point out that the government owns and controls the means of distribution as well.

"There are," he tells us, "also forms of socialism in which the means of production are controlled and owned by workers."

No. Such an economy is actually known as “collectivism,” and is a very different creature than socialism. In collectivism each facility is managed by the people who work in that facility, because they own it, while in socialism all facilities are commonly owned by government, are managed by a central bureaucracy, and the workers have no direct management input at all.

Collectivism is far from unknown in our economy today; companies in which employees have banded together to buy out the companies they work for. Such companies almost always continue to function on a for-profit basis, with the profits being distributed to the employees who own the companies. Such a company is certainly not an example of socialism, because it is a collective functioning within the capitalist economic model.

The author, having so badly failed in his attempt to define socialism, then goes to great length, never using two words when twenty will do the job, to explain that a “Democratic Socialist” doesn’t want to impose government dictatorship. That’s sort of like a landscaper going to great lengths to assure you that he just wants to mow your lawn and neither wants nor intends to burn down to your house and garage while doing so.

Democracy is a form of government, while socialism is a form of economic management. They certainly can coexist and frequently do, notably in Europe, but socialism is socialism whether it exists in a nation with a democratic government or in a nation which has a monarchy or dictatorship. Being a “Democratic Socialist” simply means that she is a Democrat who wants to convert our nation to socialism economically while maintaining a democratic form of government.

So Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is a “Democratic Socialist.” If Ron Paul was a socialist he would be a “Libertarian Socialist.” If Ted Cruz was a socialist he would be a “Republican Socialist.” Karl Marx was just a “Socialist” because he had no axe to grind with respect to governance. He only cared about the economy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Who's In Charge?

Back during the 2008 election, when Barack Obama was talking about what he would do with respect to troop levels in Iraq and various other military matters, my rather cynical thought was, “Yeah, if the military lets you do that.”

Sure enough, the military allowed him to do almost none of what he promised to do. He made much of “keeping my promise to bring the troops home from Iraq,” which did happen in 2011, but in actuality he tried for three years to prevent that with the Iraqi government prevailing in the end. American troops have since returned to Iraq.

Congress and two presidents have tried to cut military spending repeatedly. None have succeeded. Congress passed the thing about “sequester,” which automatically cut spending across the board, and somehow military spending still increased.

Obama announced that we would become militarily active in Syria but promised repeatedly that there would be “no boots on the ground” there. Next thing we know there are several thousand troops on the ground in Syria, and at least some of them are in combat.

Trump says that he has ordered the withdrawal of all military from Syria, and we find out soon afterward that the military is actually adding troops there. The next thing we know Trump is saying we will leave several hundred troops in Syria because "everybody agrees it is a great idea."

Two Commanders in Chief have not been able to control the military. Congress cannot control the military. Who’s in charge? The question answers itself.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Fuzzy Thinking Again

Arguments against "building the wall" include refuting the claim that it will reduce drug trafficing by saying that most drugs come in through legal ports of entry. There has always been something about that claim that seemed "off" to me, but I haven't really cared enough to really analyze it. My immediate thought went along lines of, "If drugs are coming in through legal ports of entry, and we know it, why aren't we stopping them?"

Well, it seems that we actually are, because it now turns out that the argument regarding the wall, and that it won't reduce trug trafficing, is based on a claim that 97% of drug interdiction is made at legal ports of entry, while only 3% of drug interdiction is made in areas where the wall would be built.

Does the amount of drugs being stopped at various points say anything about the amount of drugs not being stopped? Not really, but if it does it says the opposite of the point wall opponents are trying to make. If large amounts are being stopped, it would imply that very small amounts are getting through, so the fact that almost all of the drugs we are stopping are stopped at legal ports of entry would imply that legal ports of entry is the least successful method of importing drugs, not the favored one as opponents of the wall suggest.

It seems to me that this means that wall opponents are making, then, an argument in favor of building the wall, rather than one against it.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The More Things Change...

"We can't wait for Congress to do its job, so where they won't act, I will."
Barack Obama, October 2011

When President Obama said that everyone cheered wildly, including Congress oddly enough, and he was hailed as a national hero. All of his executive actions, including the ones which directly reversed specific acts by Congress, were hailed as “visionary,” and were cheered lustily.

When President Trump says the same thing, he is accused of trying to be a dictator. Congress says, “You are challenging our authority and we’ll sue,” and the media says he has “created a constitutional crisis.”

All because the public failed to elect a president as decreed by the established government and its captive media.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Suspension of Disbelief

Screen writing on network television is deteriorating badly. I have no real idea as to what might be causing the problem – am open to suggestion.

In the latest episode of NCIS the scenario is that they are frantically searching for a woman who enlisted in the Navy nine years earlier but never reported for duty. She was, they earnestly declared, “their responsibility” because she had taken the oath to enlist even though she had never actually served one day.

All very noble, and enhanced by the reason for the renewal of the search, which was that her daughter had suddenly turned up. She was, it turns out, pregnant when she enlisted and disappeared. So, the Navy accepts unmarried pregnant women as enlistees? The last I heard, if you were unmarried and got pregnant, you were promptly discharged.

In a recent episode of Law & Order; Special Victims, the detectives were agonizing for the entire hour over whether they should tell the truth when they took the stand to testify, or if they should lie in order for the woman to be found not guilty of murder. They felt that the woman was justified in killing her husband; not for beating her, the woman didn’t claim that he had ever done that or even threatened to, but for years of insulting her.

I am as willing as anyone to engage in a certain amount of “suspension of disbelief” in the name of entertainment, but there are limits.

Update: Ah. As I read this after posting it, I am seeing that there is a "social justice warrior" thread having to do with women as victims, and righting the wrongs than men do against them. How could I have missed that? Two of the detectives were women and the Navy enlistee was, of course, kidnapped and held hostage by a man.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Good, The Good and The Ugly

At the season opening ARCA race the national anthem was sung respectfully and in tune by a young woman from Daytona Beach. The command to start engines was given by the marketing manager of the company sponsoring the race, and he said nothing other than, “Drivers start your engines,” without undue histrionics. Almost all of the cars finished the race intact.

There was a car in the race which was identical to a car driven in 1990 by Davey Allison; black and white with a touch of red, and the number 28 in metallic gold. Davey, you may or may not know, was the son of Winston Cup champion Bobby Allison and died in a helicopter crash in 1993 at age 32. The car yesterday was driven by Brandon MacReynolds, whose father was Davey Allison’s crew chief. I enjoyed that.

Then the “big boys” of the Monster Energy Cup series got on track and showed the ARCA youngsters how not to do it. Seven time champion Jimmie Johnson caused a 17-car pileup (only three cars were not involved in the wreck) and then blamed it on the car that he “dumped” to start the disaster.

In the booth, two announcers were saying that Jimmie “turned into” and spun Menard while Jeff Gordon, former teammate of Jimmie and future owner of Hendricks Motorsports for whom Jimmie drives, kept insisting that he had seen Menard wreck himself by turning down into Jimmie’s front bumper. Right.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Only In California

While California is busy passing laws to assure than everyone can use the bathroom of their choice, and that college students can receive “fair pay” for playing football, the streets of downtown San Francisco are awash with human feces left by the homeless population, and Los Angeles City Hall is over run by rats and is experiencing a significant Typhus outbreak.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Unintended Consequences

Democrats, especially California Democrats, have a chronic inability to “think things through” in recent times. They keep making proposals that are a mile wide and an inch deep, like taxing the rich to pay for universal health care, which turns out to actually solve only 15% of the problem.

Or creating a regulatory agency without rules and mandating that it create its own rules, and then getting upset when it creates rules that they don't like.

California Senate Bill 206, introduced by Democrats of course and dubbed the “Fair Pay to Play Act,” proposes that, “college athletes from California’s 24 public colleges and universities would be able to make money ‘as a result of the student’s name, image, or likeness.’ The universities would be prohibited from taking away scholarships from students who choose to pursue those opportunities.”

The rule against college athletes being paid for the use of their “name, image, or likeness” in advertising is issued by the NCAA (National College Athletic Association), and what they do when a college or university permits athletes to participate in intercollegiate sports when they are in violation of that rule is, they “excommunicate” that school from league participation.

So the Democrat’s “Fair Pay to Play Act” is entirely self defeating. If an athlete receives pay for the use of his/her “name, image, or likeness” and the school does not rescind that athlete’s scholarship, the school will no longer be participating in NCAA competition. When that becomes the case, the “name, image, or likeness” of the athlete is no longer of any value to advertisers, so they will no longer be offered any payments for use of their “name, image, or likeness.” Nor will any other athletes who attend that school.

I guess that does solve the problem of athletes wanting to be paid and such payments not being allowed, but I don’t think that is quite the solution that Democrats had in mind.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

The Petard Thing

Democrats are outraged, upset, and demanding intervention regarding the plan by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to “rescind a requirement that short-term, small-dollar lenders check to see if borrowers are likely to be able to repay their loans before making those loans.” The phrase “hoist on their own petard” comes to mind.

Congress, controlled by the Democratic Party at the time, created the bureau in name only and allowed it to write its own rules, which is a blatant abrogation of Congressional power. It means that a bureau which is part of the Executive Branch is making laws, something that is so far outside the scope of how the constitution defines the duties and responsibilities of the branches of government as to utterly boggle the mind.

When Congress created the CFPB, it was their duty to create the laws under which it would operate, and not only did they not do so, but Democratic supporters broke their own arms patting themselves on the back for it.

And so we have a bureaucrat appointed by a Republican president making laws because a Democratically controlled Congress created a situation which allowed that to happen. And, reaping what they have sown, Democrats are crying foul. The shame is on them. Democrats let this happen, and cheered themselves while they were doing it.