Just an observation

When you’re wearing all black, and a mask to boot, you shouldn’t be surprised, going forward, if you get shot.

And I don’t mean with a rubber bullet, either.

Only fascists bent on the violent overthrow of the government dress in uniforms and are afraid to show their faces.  If you’re not going to demonstrate peacefully and non-anonymously in a republic, you should be prepared to die, because you have made yourselves into an army of revolt.  And the people of the republic should be satisfied that such is the response to your assholishness.

In a world where every action is deemed to be speech, the only real hate speech is that which you promote — you hate America and everything about it.  The rest of us are not amused.

When we say that the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of tyrants, we’re not just talking about kings and dictators — we’re talking about YOU, viz., the fascist wannabe army who prevented Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking in Berzerkley Wednesday night.

It’s past time to crack down on these revolutionary idiots and show them the error of their way.  As the old saying goes, they should be dealt with as wolves are.

Sic transit gloria baden-powell

I’ve been a Scout and Scouter most of my life.  39 years this year, in fact.

I’ve watched Scouting evolve from an organization that was about making boys into moral, competent men, into an organization that seemingly will stop at nothing to chase numbers.

From the abortive attempt to take the movement co-ed in my teen years — when the uniforms suddenly started sporting “Scouting USA” emblems rather than the familiar “Boy Scouts of America” tags (which came back pretty fast when it became apparent that the Girl Scouts took a dim view of the BSA poaching their gender) — to the varied crises of dealing with urban Scouting, youth protection, loss of interest when boys reached the “girls and gasoline” age, and a general societal shunning based on the fact that Scouting actually expected its adherents to cling to what was considered an outdated moral code — yeah, I’ve seen it all.

And now, the smart boys and girls in Irving have determined that it’s OK for transgender children to join packs and troops.

Leaving aside the question, “WTF is a transgender child, and how in hell does a child decide what gender it’s going to be,” this is absolute and utter insanity.

I have held my peace and gone along with changes that included allowing female leaders (in Boy Scouts; women have long been Den Mothers, or now, I suppose “Leaders”, in Cubs), gay Scouts, and finally gay leaders — the latter two regardless of the dictates of the Scout Oath and Law.  I have watched religious organizations, formerly the backbone of the BSA’s chartered partners, walk away from the program because it no longer reflected their principles.  I have watched troops that were formerly powerhouses become ghosts of their former selves.

And I have watched the general public, which used to approve heartily of the Boy Scouts, turn on it like a ravening pack of wolves, snarling that the movement is bigoted and outdated and shouldn’t be allowed to corrupt our youth.

This new wrinkle, though — I can’t go on pretending that these continued surrenders to public opinion on the part of the National Council don’t do violence to my concept of what Scouting is supposed to be about.  If you’re going to let everyone in, fine, let everyone in, quit pretending that the organization is any more than an activity like after-school sports, and just drop the whole moral and ethical framework that underpins the whole thing.

And be prepared, as it were, to lose people like me, who have made Scouting a part of their lives.  Because it won’t be Scouting anymore.

I have not been an active Scouter in a long time, but I’ve remained registered against the time that I might decide to become active again.  I’ve actually been working with a group that’s trying to start a STEM-oriented Venture crew (with little or no help from the local council, I might add, but in my long experience with the council, that’s not really much of a surprise).  But I’ve really stayed registered to keep my OA registration current, since I’m a Vigil member, and if I drop my BSA membership, that’s it for OA.  Doesn’t really matter, I guess, in the grand scheme of things.

All that goes down the hole at the end of the year.  If I’d known about this idiot move by National a few days earlier, I wouldn’t have bothered to re-up for 2017.  I already stopped giving money to the annual fundraisers several years ago when they decided it was OK to let gay leaders in.  And you can say what you like about that, but I’ll just refer you to the Oath and Law as I did above.  Either we have standards or we don’t.  And either we live up to those standards, or there’s no sense in pretending that we have them.

To paraphrase a certain former Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America:  I didn’t leave Scouting.  Scouting left me.

I guess I’ll be sitting on this log over here talking to Baden-Powell about the good old days.

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Another meme, another blind misunderstanding

My niece posted this on Facebook:

Uh-huh.  Let’s see about that.

Actually, the “wall” between church and state is not what people think it is.  It’s based on a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to a church, and the text of that letter is usually misinterpreted to mean religion and the state should be completely separate and have no influence on each other.  Which is impossible in real life.  Anyway, see Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists.  Read it carefully.  It doesn’t mean what most people think it does.

Same-sex marriage is the law of the land now, so that’s over with — not that it’s that big of a deal since the population affected is tiny; they simply scream and holler well over their weight class until people get tired of listening and another barrier is lowered.  However, the backlash is starting to cause something I have wanted to see for years — several states writing legislation to significantly reduce state control of marriage, which would in effect nullify the Supreme Court ruling regarding same sex marriage without outlawing it.  Indiana has a bill before the legislature right now to that effect.  So I’m all for anything that does that.  Why should anyone have to buy a license from the state in order to get married?*

Stem cell research goes on regardless of whether it’s funded federally or not.  The key is not the research itself, it’s whether federal money should be spent to further it.  And there have been compromises over the years to allow some federal funding.  I’m all for stem cell research as long as it’s done properly — there are some major breakthroughs coming in therapy because of stem cells.  But the original argument over the use of stem cells was that only embryonic stem cells would work, because only they are “pluripotent”, which goes back to the abortion argument.  After a lot of smoke and fire, it was discovered that adult stem cells can also be induced to be pluripotent.**  So there’s likely no pressing need to use embryonic stem cells in any case, which should mean properly-done stem cell research should bother exactly no one other than extreme Luddites.

Abortion, on the other hand, is murder in a lot of peoples’ opinion — and that’s hardly a religious question, unless you think you can only be moral if you are religious. And a “safe abortion” is a contradiction in terms anyway.  But it’s ALSO the law of the land, regardless of how you feel about the outcome of Roe v Wade.  My argument has long been that abortion needs to be removed from politics, because eventually the “Roe Effect” will take hold and it won’t be an issue anymore.***

TL;DR version:  I wish people would think about these things before they just generalize about them.  I’ve been thinking about them for over forty years, and a Facebook meme isn’t going to change my mind about any of them.

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* Of course, if people don’t vaccinate their kids, rubella is going to come back, and then the state will once again have a pressing interest in whether or not the potential mother is rubella-free.  But I’m sure that can be handled some other way.  Like by a family doctor testing her before or right after she gets pregnant.  (Before 1987, women had to have proof that they were rubella free before they could get married in Indiana.  In point of fact, even though this portion of the code was repealed in 1987, my wife still had to have a rubella test in 2000 before our county would give us the license.  Interesting.)

Also interesting is the fact that the bill in question in Indiana still prohibits polygamy.  Which is fine with me.

** I’m not going to go into this in depth, but the NIH says, “Human embryonic stem cells are thought to have much greater developmental potential than adult stem cells. This means that embryonic stem cells may be pluripotent—that is, able to give rise to cells found in all tissues of the embryo except for germ cells rather than being merely multipotent—restricted to specific subpopulations of cell types, as adult stem cells are thought to be. However, a newer type of reprogrammed adult cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells, has proven to be pluripotent.”  NIH FAQ regarding stem cells, research question #2, accessed 1/24/2017; bold emphasis mine.

*** For those who can’t reach the linked 2005 WSJ article by James Taranto,

The Roe effect, however, refers specifically to the nexus between the practice of abortion and the politics of abortion. It seems self-evident that pro-choice women are more likely to have abortions than pro-life ones, and common sense suggests that children tend to gravitate toward their parents’ values. This would seem to ensure that Americans born after Roe v. Wade have a greater propensity to vote for the pro-life party–that is, Republican–than they otherwise would have.

In my opinion, there’s more to the Roe Effect than whether or not a child is aborted or allowed to come to term and be born; it also depends on the consequences of education for that child.  A child can be born into a family that considers abortion to be murder, and through indoctrination in our public schools, come to the conclusion that a fetus isn’t human and can therefore be safely disposed of.  Such families also generally believe that sex should be confined to marriage and that it is a sin to have intimate relations before marriage.  Young girls from such families who find themselves fallen pregnant (a interesting term) typically believe that their best option to avoid punishment or disapprobation from their parents is to get an abortion, even though abortion is far worse than simply accepting fate and keeping the baby or giving it up for adoption — which have more consequences in and of themselves.  Perhaps the true solution is to stop telling children that premarital sex is a sin and will be punished by $DEITY, and tell them instead that sex is indeed a wonderful thing, a sacred mystery if you will, but it can lead to bad consequences for young girls who engage in it — and make it clear that even if a daughter finds herself pregnant, she’ll still be loved and accepted and everything that can be done to support her will be done.  Because I’ll bet you more girls run away from home to find an abortion when they find out they’re pregnant whose parents go all fire and brimstone on them about premarital sex than those whose parents are proactive and supportive even if the worst happens.

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Huh. So that’s what they’re calling landfills, now.

Museums Across the World Are Collecting Women’s March Signs

Trump won. Get over it.

I just read in the WSJ that “Mr. Trump won the election with only 46% of the vote, leaving more than half the nation to come to terms with his victory in the electoral college.”

This meme continues to be tiring on many levels, not the least of which being that the popular vote doesn’t elect presidents, and that’s how we’ve done things since the Constitution was ratified.  It’s not my fault that more than half the nation is deficient in their knowledge of American Civics.  (It’s probably the fault of the teachers’ unions and local boards of education, actually.  But I digress.)

So, let’s look at the facts.  Only 58% of the electorate bothered to show up on Election Day and cast a ballot.  42% sat home on their dead asses, or otherwise avoided the voting booth.  But there is no way to know how many of them have come to terms with Mr. Trump’s election and are accepting of him as president, at least partly because the polls are based on false assumptions regarding the electorate (see below).  Indeed, one might quite plausibly make the assumption that the 42% who didn’t vote would have been happy (or at least non-caring) either way — and that’s a reasonable assumption, this election cycle.

If you take the 42% who didn’t vote at all, and the 46% of those who did who voted for Trump, you get about 161,786,941 votes vs. 73,779,367 who voted for Hillary or other candidates.  Huh.  That’s a Trump landslide.

What?  You didn’t vote and you don’t like me calling you wishy-washy, and therefore a Trump supporter by default?  Or you voted for Hillary and still think she should have won because reasons?  Or you just think I’m full of shit?

OK, sure, you got me.  My methodology is just as valid as the methodology of the professional pollsters who had this race safely in Hillary’s pocket until 2AM November 9, 2016 (the same professional pollsters who now claim that a majority of the nation supports the ACA, given that the GOP is in a position now to deep-six it).  In other words, it’s bullshit, but it’s useful bullshit.  The fact is that neither side was able to convince nearly 99 million eligible voters to show up at the polls or even to cast an absentee ballot.  Those 99 million non-votes could have resulted in a landslide either way, so since Trump won, I’m assigning them to him on the assumption that those 99 million people either don’t care at all or are perfectly (or even cautiously) happy with the way the election turned out.*

The bottom line is that continuing to snark about Trump losing the popular vote and bemoaning the Constitutional system that establishes the Electoral College as the way we elect presidents in our Federal system is completely non-productive, makes the left sound like a bunch of fools, and angers people who support the Constitution and the rule of law.

But sure, keep up the moaning and groaning, the posting of snarky anti-Trump memes, and most especially, PLEASE keep up the violent protesting, including blocking freeways and city streets, smashing up and setting fire to cafes and bank offices, and ambushing and shooting cops for no good reason.**

You want more Trump?  Because that’s how you get more Trump.  Every time a protester howls, or a brick flies through a window, or a cop gets shot, a new Trump supporter gets its wings.

Choose the form of your Destructor, indeed.

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* If you didn’t vote and that doesn’t describe you, gee, maybe you should vote next time.

** You do understand sarcasm, right?  Because that entire paragraph was sarcasm.

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Free at last

Our long national nightmare is over.

Godspeed, President Trump.

Boycott, shmoycott.

The 68 or so ‘critters who are “boycotting” the Inaugural are, I suppose, entitled to suddenly find they have something else to do that night — wax the dog, shampoo the cat, make a drug buy, whatever.

But I remember something from my American Diplomatic History classes in college, which were (the way the professor taught) sort of an advanced Civics class on steroids. Not quite Heinlein’s History and Moral Philosophy, but elements thereof.

The prof said that our tradition is that the outgoing President always attends the inauguration of his successor — even if he has to be dragged there kicking and screaming.  Apparently the Secret Service (and their predecessors in that job) see to that.  The story was that Truman absolutely did not want to attend Eisenhower’s inaugural — he and Ike didn’t get along very well — but he manned up (as Truman always did) and soldiered on.*  And I can imagine Hoover probably would have happily given FDR’s first inaugural a miss.  Can you imagine Johnson and Nixon?  Ditto Obama with Trump.  But it just isn’t done.  Why can’t the wayward congresscritters man (or woman) up and do the same?

The prof also said that no foreign dignitaries are invited to join the official party or to attend the major ceremonies.  This is OUR time.  We owe our independence, wealth, and power to nobody but ourselves. Contrary to a soon-to-be former president’s pronouncement, we DID build this.

Politics aside, when we get done fighting our quadrennial intramurals and actually elect a new president (or re-elect the incumbent**), the nation is supposed to come together, put that all behind us, and acclaim the new president.  None of this “he’s not MY president” shite — at least not until he turns out to be, well, Obama, who was, for at least his second term, hardly representative of anyone right of center’s idea of the direction the country should be taking.

By and large, though, in 2009, the right was willing to give Obama a chance.  He blew that chance, of course, as many of us figured he would, and his lock on Congress with it (which really should have told him something), and then he simply played a six-year game of “I won” and “I have a pen and a phone” to avoid working with Republicans.  At that point, no, he wasn’t my president.  The question, of course, is whether he was anyone’s president after the 2010 midterms.

But the time for divisive politics is over.  Donald Trump says he wants us to unite.  He wants this to be a country we are all a part of and can be proud of.  To him, the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us.**  In truth, it has always been thus, if we are willing to admit it.

The ‘critters who are boycotting the inaugural are, in that tradition, almost committing an indiscretion beyond the pale. They believe in division and are being divisive.  They believe they can force failure on Donald Trump by turning their backs on him and declaring him illegitimate.  And yet…they do not have majorities in Congress, they are losing governors’ mansions and state legislatures left and right, and they control only small slivers and bits of America.  This attitude on their part seems destined to lead to more failure on their part, not failure on Donald Trump’s part, because Trump is not obliged to seek compromise with them.  (I think he will, because that is his nature, but I certainly think they’ve burned most of their bridges with him at this point.)

But let’s think about this for a moment.  According to official results of the 2016 election, 136,628,459 Americans voted for president.  That’s a lot of voters, about 7 million more thain in 2012.  Yet, “[e]stimates show more than 58 percent of eligible voters went to the polls during the 2016 election”.  Folks, that means that 42 percent didn’t think this election was important enough to cast a vote.  That means about 98,937,850 voters went completely untapped for one reason or another.

I don’t know about you, but I suspect that if Trump had spent more money on GOTV efforts in the last couple of months of the campaign, he might have picked up enough votes to landslide Hillary.  They were only separated by a couple of million votes.

Of course, that’s entirely meaningless, since we’re not a democracy — we’re a federal republic, and we have an Electoral College that expresses the democratic will of the states as to who will be the leader of the federal republic.  The states vote in the Electoral College based on whatever manner they have each provided to choose their electors.  In all 50 states that happens to be by holding an election and either handing the winner all of their electors or dividing them up in some way that has been determined by the state legislature.  They could as easily choose them by reading a horoscope or taking the augurs, or by having the elector candidates play Russian roulette.****  But all of the states, one way or another, have chosen to give the people a voice by letting electors be chosen based on a democratic election within the state.*****

The Electoral College is part of the Constitution, and has been from day one, and it’s how we have run our federal elections for president since 1789.  It’s hardly the first time the Electoral College winner hasn’t won the total popular vote, either — but again, that’s completely irrelevant.

And that’s why claims that Trump’s presidency is illegitimate fall flat, and the bad attitude on the part of the 68-odd Democrat congresscritters who’ve found something better to do with their day tomorrow don’t look like they are standing up for principle at all.

They just look like sore losers.  And they are.

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* As I recall the story, Bess and Mamie hit it off famously when the two couples met for the obligatory coffee at the White House before heading up Pennsylvania Avenue, and that was part of what thawed Truman out.

** Or, in Obama’s case, the incompetent.

*** Hmm.  Where have I heard that before? (If you’re not a Scottish Rite Mason in the NMJ, you probably won’t know.)

**** Say…

***** I think they should be chosen by the legislatures.  But I think senators ought to be chosen that way, too, the way God and the Framers intended, and not the way the ridiculous 17th Amendment changed things in 1913.

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Legacies are more lasting than holidays.

I just ran across a discussion regarding how the rednecks down in the holler don’t care much for MLK Day and the person who started the discussion believes they’d get violent if it were called that, so they call it a teachers’ in-service day instead.

And I nearly posted this:

Dr. King’s legacy is all around us. The day itself is basically unimportant so long as we understand and apply the principles that he taught. Becoming upset over a small number of small minds who choose to ignore that doesn’t advance his legacy at all.

After some thought, I decided they’d just tell me to check my white privilege, so I said fuck it.

But this is why we still have racism — on both sides.  Dr. King would be sad.  If I can say so without having to check my fucking privilege.

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15 years

Dad’s been gone 15 years tonight.

That’s a long damn time.  Hard to believe.

I still miss the old man, but not in the I-can’t-breathe way it used to hit me.  We do move on; but we are still the sum of those who brought us into the world and taught us the way to go.

Ave atque vale, pater meus, requiescat in pace.

 

A thought

Have you noticed that the only presidential assassins and would-be assassins in our history have been men (or women) of the Left?

I frankly held my breath for eight years waiting for some idiot to take a shot at Obama.  That no one did is strongly indicative of the patience and maturity of the Right — or at the very least, the sure and certain knowledge that something like that would have been the end of the Second Amendment, and the beginning of the Third War for American Independence.*  Or the Second Civil War, anyway.

The joke was that Biden was Obama’s insurance against impeachment or assassination.  I don’t think so.  For the former, it would never have flown to impeach him.  For the latter, the Right wasn’t about to give the Left that opening — because anyone with any sense knew that would be the end of the Republic.**

Personally, I don’t expect the Left to keep its powder dry for the next four years.  I hope like hell I’m wrong.

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* The Second, of course, being the War of 1812.

** Which may be over anyway, but one can always hope for a Constitutional Renaissance.

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