The Electoral College is still a good idea.

A few days ago there were a number of letters to the editor in the Wall Street Journal calling for the retirement of the Electoral College in favor of direct election via popular vote. Indeed, one letter damned the Electoral College as disenfranchising those who voted for the losing candidates in the various “winner take all” states.

That letter in particular made clear that its writer does not understand the genius of the Founders in creating the College. The common mistake made by detractors of the College is to imagine the United States as a democracy – which it absolutely is not, and never has been, despite the best efforts of progressives to claim otherwise in pursuit of their socialist agenda. The United States is a federal republic of sovereign States, with democratically-elected leaders at every level (at least, ever since the poorly-conceived, populist Seventeenth Amendment was ratified) except for the federal Presidency. The Electoral College, far from being a tool of disenfranchisement as the one writer would have it, is rather a very “small-r” republican institution which distills the essence of partisan, populist democracy (i.e., the popular vote) into a rational and balanced method of choosing a president for the Federal Republic, while preserving at least the perception that the putatively-sovereign States continue to control the Republic of which they are a part. Those States could, if they chose, reassert that control; it is, after all, written right there in the same Constitution that establishes the Electoral College as the way we choose a President.

That being said, it is unlikely that there would be so much smoke and fire regarding the Electoral College if the balance between the three branches of government were not terribly askew. There have been times in our history when Congress was in the ascendant; there have been times (including now) when the Executive was in the ascendant. Rather than creating yet another Constitutional crisis by modifying how we elect the Executive, wouldn’t it be far better for Congress to work actively with the States to reign in the existing Constitutional crisis of an out-of-control Executive and its underlying, bloated bureaucracy?

Go big or go home.

Kevin D. Williamson knocks one out of the park at The Corner.  Which surprises me, I’d pretty much quit reading NR because they’ve turned into a bunch of squishy cons since Buckley translated to Heaven.  Williamson seems to be “bucking” that trend.

[In the Third Punic War] the Romans went back to Carthage and absolutely wrecked the place. They Romans had a rougher time of it getting there than they’d expected, and they arrived in Carthage in ill temper. They were also resolved that there would not be a fourth Punic war. Having decisively beaten the army on the field, they laid siege to Carthage, starving much of the population. At the end of the siege, there were about 50,000 surviving Carthaginians. The Romans massacred a fair number of them while taking the city and sold the remainder into slavery. They spent the next 17 days systematically burning and demolishing Carthage, though the legend that they plowed salt into the fields in order to render the land barren apparently is a 19th century invention; securing a steady supply of grain was a Roman obsession, and North Africa was an important breadbasket.

Going on 22 centuries later, nobody has heard a peep from Carthage.

Mission accomplished.

Williamson goes on to make the subtle point that, in Syria, we should either go big, or go home; and if we decided to go big, there would be nothing left of Syria when our forces finished up. I myself think the latter is probably the choice that yields the best outcome, but our modern political leaders don’t have the stomach to raze a thrice-naughty country to the ground like the Romans did.

On one point, he and I have to agree to disagree.  He states, “Americans’ appetite for investing blood and treasure in these enterprises is pretty weak.”  This may be true for the sort of milquetoast nation-building bullshit we’ve been attempting in the region since 2003, but I suspect the American public will eventually be handed another 9/11 and will at that time be perfectly happy to follow the leader who, like the Romans of old, simply decides to declare a pox on all sides of the Syrian conflict, and summarily wipes Syria off the map pour encorager les autres.

Of course, I’ve been saying for years that 20 megatons over just about any Arab capital — or Tehran, or Pyongyang — would be 20 megatons well-dropped, but nobody seems to be listening.

The idea that we are somehow “better” than the Romans or other historical peoples because we don’t ruthlessly roll over our enemies, burn their cities to the ground, and enslave the survivors, but rather that we try to understand them, don’t destroy their customs/traditions/religions, and contribute to building them back up again after we defeat them, is really pretty goddamn stupid, and it’s unfortunately infected Western countries since at least WWI, and certainly since WWII.  I mean, I am part German/Austrian myself, but for what the Germans did in WWII, we should have razed that country as flat as a pancake and used it to play football against the Soviets with Hitler’s head.  Over the ensuing 70+ years, it’s become obvious that we did them (and ourselves) no favors by treating them kindly and building their country back up.  Angela Merkel and her ilk are proof of that spoiled batch of pudding.

And I like the Japanese, I’ve studied them extensively, and I think they are, at base, good people.  But again, for the way they prosecuted the war in the Pacific — flat as a pancake, Hirohito and Tojo’s heads for footballs.

The West in victory, over the past century or so, has become too kind between the wars, apparently in the hope of creating a lasting, permanent peace.  Historically, however, it’s clear that mankind simply marks time from war to war, and maintains “peace” only by making constant preparation for war.  Because progressives and right-thinkers have decided that the way to break this cycle is to downplay war and subdue by indoctrination the inclination to same by the new generations, we in the West have by and large lost something valuable and important in the modern era.

Is it any wonder that groups like the SCA, the Knights of Columbus, and the Masonic Knights Templar still attract members?  I think not.  Despite indoctrination in schools and universities, and despite the lies of the progressive-controlled press, conflict is the natural state of man, and it shall be until time shall be no more.  Attempts to change that without changing the very nature of man are like spitting into the wind.  And it is clear to any honest historian that such attempts have only made the world a more dangerous place.

The only way to keep the peace is to stomp the troublemakers flat before they get out of their neighborhood.  In hindsight, had the Brits and the French stomped on Hitler’s Rhineland bluff, we’d probably have avoided WWII.  And if we’d stomped on that little fat fucker Muqtada al-Sadr (link1, link2, link3, link4 if you don’t remember who he is) back in 2004 or 2007, we might not have Daesh right now.

Opportunity lost.  The Romans are shaking their heads at us, wondering how we went wrong.

Fuck you, President and Mrs. Obama.

Saw a meme published by “President Barack Obama” on Facebook that said something along the lines of “share if you agree how the Obamas have served with dignity, class, and grace in the face of unprecedented Republican obstruction.”

Well, fuck that.  I’m sorry, that meme is an absolute laugh riot.

There is nothing dignified, classy, or graceful about the Obamas. They are nothing more than rent-seeking, grasping socialists who care only for themselves. Worst first couple ever. Worst president ever. Worst political party ever.

Thank God for “unprecedented Republican obstruction,” which in other times would have been called “principled opposition to those who would destroy our nation.” We can’t be rid of these two fast enough.

No gun has ever killed anyone

And no gun ever will.

Yet my very own mother said yesterday that the manufacturer of the BB gun being brandished by 13-year-old Tyre King up in Cleveland — the brandishing that got him shot and killed by a police officer who was in legitimate fear for his life — should be held responsible for Tyre’s death, because they marketed a BB gun that looked like a real gun.*

Excuse me, but no.  Because BB guns and Airsoft guns are not marketed as toys, it seems to me that they fall under the same exemption codified in the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (15 USC §§ 7901-7903) which protects firearm manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes are committed using their products.** I am not a lawyer, but come on.  If it’s marketed as a legitimate weapon, even if it’s not a firearm, any halfway decent lawyer could show that the sale of such non-gunpowder arms falls under “commerce in arms”.

If such guns were marketed as toys, Federal law would require them to have an orange tip.  Naturally, there’s nothing stopping an idiot from removing the orange tip from a toy gun, or painting it to match the rest of the gun, but as noted, that would be something an idiot would do.  But in this case, there was no legal requirement for the BB gun in Tyre’s possession to look anything like a toy.

What I find as a wonder is that the Black Lives Matter folks have avoided making a spectacle out of this shooting.  That’s probably because the 19-year-old who was with Tyre King didn’t try to bluff it out, but admitted up front that they were out to rob people.  Whether or not he is telling the truth that the whole thing was Tyre’s idea (which is truly doubtful in my mind, and of course Tyre isn’t around to defend himself anymore), he did the people of Cleveland a significant service with the basic admission that they were out and about for nefarious purposes.

You know that the cop who shot Tyre is having a very bad time.  Nobody wants to shoot a kid.  But when you point something that looks like a real gun at a cop, you shouldn’t expect the cop not to shoot you.

_________________

* I’m not going to go into why BB gun and Airsoft manufacturers feel the need to make their products look like real guns.  Personally I think that’s fucking stupid, and leads to EXACTLY the kind of misapprehension that got Tyre King killed.  You can put warnings in the manuals and on the packaging all you want, but all it takes is one stupid kid taking your product and pointing at someone who thinks it’s a real weapon to make everyone — and that should include 2A supporters — wonder why it’s really necessary for a BB pistol to look just like a Glock 19 (or whatever).  If I owned the company that sold that BB pistol, I’d be having just as much trouble sleeping as the cop who shot Tyre King, right now.  And that’s even knowing that a well-placed BB can hurt someone pretty damn badly.  “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

** Note, however, that the Act does not protect firearm manufacturers or dealers from being held liable for damages in purely consumer, civil, or criminal areas.  You can still sue $FIREARM_MANUFACTURER for making shitty pistols.  A dealer can still be charged with knowingly selling weapons to unqualified persons (e.g., felons, or straw purchasers), particularly if the sale was made with reason to know that the weapon would be used to commit a crime.

One day can make a lot of difference.

2016-09-07-04-41-21For me, that day was January 8, 2000.  And to my continuing amazement, she married me 16 years ago today.

I love you, lady mine.

Kosher is obsolete. (But tasty.)

Rather than hijacking a thread on Og’s Facebook page (where he’s really talking about IMTS), I’m putting this here.  Og mentioned a kosher food stand that he found at IMTS that had really good food and yellow-cap (kosher l’Pesach) Coca-Cola.  This led to a discussion about kashrut, which,  as anyone who knows me and/or has followed this blog over the last 14 years, is a Jewish convention I don’t bother with, even though I currently affiliate with an orthodox synagogue.  A knowledgeable Jewish friend of his explained the Talmudic version of kashrut as it applies to grains which are forbidden for consumption during Passover.  It is important to note that the Talmud is simply an interpretation of laws derived from the Oral Law, otherwise known as Torah, otherwise known as the first five books of the Bible which are claimed to be of Mosaic authorship.  Or more to the point, the very Word of G-d as written down by Moses at Sinai while he was up there for 40 days and nights and the people ran riot.

Modern scholarship is pretty clear that the Five Books of Moses are heavily redacted and derive from at least four (and possibly more) schools of tradition.  There are whole treatises written about where one of those schools leaves off and another takes over…sometimes for only a sentence or two.  And it’s thought that this redactive process began with Ezra, who started writing down all of the oral traditions that were flying around and editing them together into a cohesive whole during the Babylonian Exile, after the destruction of the First Temple.

Talmud, on the other hand, was simply an interpretation of Ezra’s Torah.  In other words, the Talmudic scholars, from around AD 200 and continuing for three centuries afterward, started teasing out actual legislation from the text, which was, as noted, considered The Word of G-d as transcribed by Moses.  These were the men who discovered the 613 statutes found in the Code of Jewish Law, 365 of which were negative (“don’t do this”) and 248 of which were positive (“do this”).  And among these laws thus discovered were the laws of kashrut — the prohibition on eating milk and meat together based primarily on three repetitions of the commandment not to seethe a kid in the milk of its mother, that of not eating pork based on verses that disallowed eating of anything that had a cloven hoof and didn’t chew the cud, and the prohibition of eating certain fermentable grains during Passover based on the idea that the Hebrews were so rushed on their way out of Egypt that they did not have time to let their bread rise, and it then baked into matzoh on their backs in the sun as they marched.  And myriad other such micro-managed prohibitions and allowances, like exactly how one must butcher a beef.

Once codified, these laws were iron-clad, and they stayed that way for centuries.  Indeed, in certain communities of Jews (Chasidim and other ultra-orthodox), they remain so to this day.  Interpretation to cover odd local situations (often via correspondence with learned rabbis in major centers of learning, called responsa) was allowed, but was generally quite narrow in scope.

Given the timing of the writing of the Mishneh (the earlier half of the Talmud) — during a period about a century after the destruction of the Second Temple, and at a time when Jewish communities were likely shrinking due to assimilation with the Romans and conversions to early Christianity — it seems to me that the Talmudic laws of kashrut were carefully designed to prevent the Jewish people (particularly in the Diaspora) from assimilating with non-Jews. They’re also designed to prevent the casual Gentile from converting or marrying in. From ancient times, but particularly since the beginning of the Diaspora, there have always been overriding social reasons to prevent Jews from dining (and thus associating socially, which can lead to intermarriage) with non-Jews. It’s how the community endured into modern times in a world where Jews lived in tiny communities and were mistrusted as being the “other”. Closing themselves into ghettos was another manifestation of this endurance.  This, to me, is not religious in nature, but simply a near-panicked grasping at anything that could keep the community together in the face of adversity.

I consider myself a religious Jew, but I find these medieval social conventions still being adhered to by some Jews in a modern world patently ridiculous. The world is still dangerous and it still hates us — but part of the reason it hates us is because it thinks we look down on it and consider it inferior.  We are, after all, the Chosen People, although I think that phrase does not mean what most people think it does.*

I have always believed that if Judaism has validity and purpose, it will survive regardless of how many leave the fold.  Thus I reject kashrut as an outmoded social modifier.

But yeah, the kosher folks make the best food.  Which is why I eat it when offered 🙂

________________

* Primarily, we seem to be chosen to get the shit stomped out of us on a regular basis.  Which is why I’m armed.  No cattle-car for me!

“Hillary is not even trying anymore.”

Kurt Schlichter is on fire.

Hillary is not even a competent liar

You know, the Hillary Body Double theory is pretty hilarious, but admit it – who would actually be surprised if it turns out she has a body double? Secretly, even the liberals are thinking to themselves, “You know, I can totally see that.”

Read, as they say, the whole thing.

Fucking stupid OS assumptions

and poorly-thought-out control interfaces.

Yes, I could be talking about just about any piece of computing equipment and its operating system, but today I’m talking about the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.  A very nice phone, by the way, but still a phone with quirks.

My wife upgraded to one some months back.  By all accounts she likes it very much.  Except that it would randomly buzz or ring on a fairly regular basis for what appeared to be absolutely no reason at all.  She’d look at the notifications bar after it did so and there’d be nothing there waiting for attention.  And this went on all the damn time.  All day and all night long.  So I’d be lying awake for whatever reason at 2 or 3 AM, and I’d hear “bzzzzt” from her nightstand as the phone vibrated for no discernible reason.

This past Sunday morning, I had finally had enough.  I googled “samsung s7 edge beeps no notification”.  Now, mind you, we’d googled this like mad, taken the phone back to the store, talked to young friends who know more about these pocket computers that we do, and EVERYONE has been stumped.

So then I found this blog post.  Which was really for the Galaxy S6 Edge, but the same fix worked for the S7.

Turns out it’s a notification reminder.  It goes off to remind you that you have unread notifications (which is a lie, because THERE WERE NO FUCKING UNREAD NOTIFICATIONS).  And it is set BY DEFAULT to go off EVERY FIFTEEN FUCKING MINUTES, DAY AND NIGHT.

WHY?  Samsung, spare us the goddamn nannying.  We don’t need it.  What do you think we are, millenials still living in our parents’ basement?  Geez.

And what’s worse, the setting for this isn’t in the normal place in the settings where you deal with turning notifications on and off, it’s hidden away in the fucking Personal/Accessibility section — where NOBODY WHO ISN’T HANDICAPPED IS GOING TO LOOK.  Because, believe me, we LOOKED.  And we never in a million years would have figured out that the setting was in an accessibility area.  Because it makes NO FUCKING SENSE TO HAVE IT THERE.

But, like I said:  Nice phone.  And at least it doesn’t blow up like the S7 Note.  And I am a godlike hero to my wife, because I finally made her phone stop blowing her shit.

Facebook is depressing.

Between my liberal friends who (sorry!) seem to have no cognitive function left when it comes to politics, and my conservative friends who are grasping at every straw to prove that Hillary is either an invalid who has no business walking around, or is a robot (my personal favorite), I am just really sick and tired of the whole goddamn show.

I’m going to vote for Trump.  If you’re not, you’re a fucking idiot.  If you are, well, whatever.  We’re probably all fucking idiots, too.  At least Trump doesn’t look like he’s on his last legs, straining to get past the finish line before his body gives out.  Hillary will probably stroke out on Election Night.

Point of fact, I’ll bet Trump is actually pretty damn healthy, for a 70 year old.  He’s got a young wife.  He’s got to keep up with her somehow.  He’s sort of like a profane Teddy Roosevelt on Viagra.  If TR had had access to Viagra. Or needed it.

Hillary’s just got Bill.  And Huma.  She’s kind of like a sad female Woodrow Wilson.

God help us all.  God help the United States of America.

Pneumonia, my chronic bronchitis-ial ass.

Hillary Clinton does not have pneumonia.  Unless it’s pneumonia brought on by some other ailment.  Like premature old age brought on by a dissipated lifestyle and plain old meanness.

Folks have long commented on her Chairman Mao-esque tent/burkha clothing.*  Some have postulated that she wears it to cover up medical equipment (possibly a colostomy bag, but possibly other devices), and they’ve done so ever since she had to take a LONG potty break during one of the primary debates.  And yes, I know, they said the ladies’ room was farther away, but damn, my wife can potty so fast it breaks the meme about women taking ages in the can.  And she’s not that far behind Hillary, age-wise.

This isn’t the first time she’s had fainting spells or trouble getting up stairs or whatever.  You can google that stuff all day long.

Both Hillary and Trump are old enough that the McCain standard should apply.  Full disclosure of medical records for all Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates, including Johnson/Weld and the immaterial Greens, needs to happen now.  Anything less is an insult to the body politic.

When you’re running for the highest office in the land, where your finger is on the nuclear button and you may be expected to take that 3AM phone call, HIPAA should go out the window. Your personal health should not be kept a secret from the American public.

Remember, Woodrow Wilson had a stroke in October 1919, and his wife Edith ran the country for the rest of his term while lying to Americans about his status.  Who will play that role in a Clinton administration?  Huma?

God (and the 25th Amendment) help us.

________________

* Of course, some have also postulated that she’s wearing an exosuit, or that she’s possibly a robot in disguise.

Older posts «