Category Archive: General Curmudgeonry

A word about Passover

Those who know me well know that I am a great fan of bacon, despite my religious heritage.  They may also know that I don’t much care about mixing meat and milk.  But Passover is something most of them probably never think about.  And I don’t care for matzoh all that much, or all the stuff that’s made from matzoh meal for the holiday and pretends to be just like the real leavened thing.  And did you know that the Ashkenazi even forego legumes during the holiday because THEY SWELL UP WHEN YOU COOK THEM??????  (Sephardim are smarter about this, partly because so much of their ancestral diet was based on such things that they would have starved during Passover if they hadn’t eaten them.)

So if I may be blasphemous for a moment — The law in Torah prescribing that unleavened bread must be eaten for seven days during Passover says only

.שִׁבְעַת יָמִים, מַצּוֹת תֹּאכֵלוּ

This is found in Leviticus 23:6 and repeated in Numbers 28:17, as part of the list of holy days that G-d commanded to be observed.  Now, I’m no rabbi, but I have been reading biblical Hebrew most of my life, and I spent three semesters of formal study of that language with a professor at my university.  And that does not say that ONLY unleavened bread may be eaten — it says simply “seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread”.

In my opinion, if I eat even just a bite of matzoh every day during the Passover, I have fulfilled the commandment.

Unfortunately we have this thing called “building fences around the Torah”, which like most of our religious laws, takes a simple order from G-d and turns it into a fetish. (Most kosher laws are the result of such fence-building; there is no law in Torah that says, in no uncertain terms, that I can’t have a nice glass milk with my steak. But because that verse about not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk is repeated three times in the Torah, the rabbis interpreted it to mean “don’t ever eat milk with meat”.)

Well, rabbis are men (and today even women), and humans are fallible, so what if they got that wrong and G-d simply meant exactly what He said? “Don’t do what those filthy Philistines do and eat goat that was boiled in milk from its mother.” I mean, a lot of negative Torah law is based on stuff the Egyptians and the Philistines did that Hebrews were admonished not to do — simply because those other bastards did it and we didn’t want anyone to mistake us for them.

I mean, G-d might be just fine with goat Alfredo with a nice creamy Parmesan sauce, but somehow that didn’t make it into the Torah…

Let’s face it:  If the Egyptians had driven on the right, the Hebrews would have been admonished to drive on the left. If the Philistines had played soccer, modern Israel would have American-style football.

The Talmud, the Mishnah, the Shulchan Aruch, and all the bazillions of words of commentary pumped out by rabbis like Rashi and Maimonides over the centuries are all a form of OCD aimed squarely at making it so completely impossible to violate the laws of G-d that modern Jews walk around in metaphorical straitjackets and blinders.  Set apart, indeed!

There are things about Judaism that I simply can’t accept.  Rules about what can and cannot be eaten is one of those things.  So I ignore them.  And to be honest, I firmly believe that the entire idea of being a Chosen People and being set apart as special among the nations is precisely what has gotten Jews into trouble ever since the fall of the First Temple, clear up to the present day.

So I will follow the dictate of Torah and eat unleavened bread every day during Passover.  But I’m not going to allow an interpretation of G-d’s law by fallible man prevent me from eating things my co-religionists — including my wife — won’t eat during the holiday, because I am unconvinced that G-d meant we should deny ourselves foods we would otherwise eat on regular days.  Eating matzoh is the mitzvah.  But giving yourself constipation over it should not be part of the deal.

When you don’t have a Bill of Rights…

New Zealand Parliament votes to ban semi-automatic weapons after Christchurch mass shootings

Unfortunately, this is what happens when you don’t have a Bill of Rights, and sufficient armed citizenry to defend it.

So:

A bill outlawing most automatic and semi-automatic weapons and banning components that modify existing weapons was passed by a vote of 119 to 1 in the House of Representatives after an accelerated process of debate and public submission.

(my emphasis).  Holding therefore to the Professor’s dictum that

When people say things like “don’t let this moment pass without acting on gun control,” what they’re really saying is our arguments are so unpersuasive that they can only succeed when people aren’t thinking clearly.

Millennials aren’t making $12/hr?

I just read something in the WSJ that kind of astounded me.

“Shrinking Middle Class A Threat to Stability”, p. A6 of the dead tree edition, below the fold.  Basically it says that in order to be considered middle class, a household has to have income between 75% and 200% of the median.  (This is per the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD.)

“In the U.S.,” the article says, “a single person would have to earn between $23,400 and $62,400 to be part of the group.”

$23,400 is less than $12/hour at a full-time, 40-hour-a-week job.  Are millennials really having that much trouble finding decent, full-time jobs in this booming economy?  Or are they just lazy?

The article goes on to state, “While 70% of baby boomers were members in their 20s, that has fallen to 60% of the generation known as millennials.”  It doesn’t indicate, however, what the percentage is in the US — this appears to refer to millennials in “developed countries”.  So I wonder if it really means the number of millennials who are considered “middle class” in the US is actually dropping to that extent.

Of course, around the middle of the article, it becomes clear that what the OECD really wants is for countries to expand their middle classes by imposing “lower taxes on middle-income workers, and higher taxes on the rich to pay for that, as well as steps to limit housing, education, and health costs.”  In other words, eat the rich, go socialist, become middle-class.

Don’t think it works that way.  And no thanks.

I found this article (not from the WSJ) a lot more heartening, and I hope millennials are hearkening to Ms. Ahlgren’s clarion call, rather than sitting around waiting for everything to be given to them as the OECD seems to think is the way forward.

(By the way, the dead tree version of the WSJ article cuts off in an odd place, and the reason for that is the online version is a lot longer and has data graphs — and there’s a lot of important stuff in the part left out of the dead tree version.  If you can find a way to get around or through the WSJ paywall, I’d recommend doing that rather than grabbing a copy of today’s dead tree edition.)

Sorry…

Apparently there’s been a database glitch, I have no idea for how long, that’s been preventing single posts from being viewed (which also prevented any commenting).  I fixed it this morning when I posted the Candace Owens beatdown of Ted Lieu.

The only thing I can figure is that the last WP update didn’t correctly update the database format.

In Lieu of Lieu, Candace canned his ass.

What a smokin’ hot babe. And I mean that with all due respect. The lady is smart and not afraid to enact a beatdown on a lying-ass Congresscritter — but I repeat myself.

Ted Lieu has no business being in Congress.  But that’s true of most Democrats.

This is what the hubbub is about:

Eric Holder is a fucking cunt.

Eric Holder, former asshole-in-chief at the Department of Justice under Barry Soetoro, is quoted as saying, “When I hear these things about ‘Let’s make America great again,’ I think to myself: ‘Exactly when did you think America was great?’”

With all due respect to this fucking cunt, the best part of whom obviously dribbled down his mama’s leg, most of us have never wavered in our belief that America has always been great.  Our faith in the jerkoffs holding office and running the place for the last couple of decades is another story, because you assholes frankly sucked.  And yes, I’ll include George W. Bush, for whom I voted twice.

Holder’s former boss, the Big Zero, did everything he could to knock this country off its pedestal, and yet, it’s still the place everyone wants to come to live and still the country everyone looks to for help defending against the baddies China and Russia.

Donald Trump may not be perfect, and certainly in some respects he is not anywhere close, but I’ll take him in a heartbeat over Obama and Obama’s third term Hillary any day of the week.  So Eric Holder and anyone else with his attitude can go take a flying fuck at a doughnut.

A couple of observations

There is no possible way that the media can wrap itself in the banner of the First Amendment to get away with the fact that they have lied repeatedly, since before Trump was even inaugurated, that the repudiation of Hillary Clinton was somehow connected to Trump colluding with the Russians.

The First Amendment protects a lot of things, including what the left is pleased to condemn as “hate speech”, but one thing it does not condone is out and out lying for political gain and/or to swing elections.  News organizations and individual reporters need to be hauled up before federal grand juries and forced to testify to what they knew and when they knew it, and who told them to spread their lies to an unwitting* American public.  As has been noted repeatedly since forever, this is not Watergate and the Administration was not trying to get the press to play along with its coverups.  There were no coverups, but the press attempted to infer that there were, and have been lying at Mueller’s feet like slavering dogs waiting for the master to drop doggie treats ever since the special counsel inquiry began.

Glenn Reynolds highlights a Rich Lowry tweet this morning:  “That there was nothing to Russia collusion gets to a key point about Trump’s motivation that the media and the Left were never willing to credit – he *really thought* he was being treated unfairly, and for good reason.”  To which Reynolds adds:  “Yep.  He knew what they were trying to do to him from the beginning.”

The press (and in fairness, the Dems in Congress) are now baying about Mueller’s unwillingness to find any evidence that Trump obstructed justice, claiming that means he must have done, and that AG Barr is Trump’s buddy and must be covering it up.  They demand that the entire special counsel report be made public.  AG Barr has already said that his end intent is to make public everything that can be legally made public, which means some of the report is going to be redacted because it contains privileged grand jury testimony and other such things that the DoJ has traditionally never made public.  (In other words, AG Barr is going to do exactly what any other AG before him would have done, and possibly more, because he understands transparency in this matter is the only way the grumbling will ever be muted — and of course it will never completely go away, because after all, Orange Man Bad.)

The other thing about obstruction is that to credibly claim it happened, you have to show that actions claimed to be obstructive were unusual and would actually have hampered a legitimate investigation.  It’s become clear that the FBI was complicit in the lies surrounding the Steele report, and that FBI agents were working to discredit Trump and (effectively) to pull off a “soft” coup that would remove him from office.  (Not that I’m sure what that would have accomplished, since Pence would have become President, not Shrillery.)  It’s also become clear that Trump had every right to fire FBI Directory Comey, without that being prima facie evidence of obstruction of justice, because it’s not illegal for the President to remove people who work for him.  That’s just the bottom line.  This isn’t 1867 and we don’t have an unconstitutional Tenure of Office act that the Radical Republicans used to trip up Andrew Johnson when he fired Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.  And Comey was obviously a loose cannon who needed to be terminated the very day Trump took office, and not a moment later.  Instead, Trump inexplicably kept him around for a couple of months and then terminated him, so that was sort of a self-inflicted media wound on his part, notwithstanding the fact that it was done legally and with cause.

If there is no collusion and no obstruction, there is no case, and the media have out and out lied for months with their sole purpose being to either bring down or severely hamper the President of the United States.  This calls for severe punishment of all involved, both in government and in the media, and some solemn and heartfelt promises that this sort of thing will never happen again.  It also points up the fact that the bureaucracy is far too large and out of control — the swamp really does need to be drained, and there really is a Deep State apparatus working against the best interests of the United States.

On top of this, we now have calls to “pack the Court” (an unfortunate slogan for the left, since their idol FDR got a beat-down over that very phrase) and to abolish the Electoral College.  These calls are not originating in a vacuum, since the millennial children who are making them are not sufficiently educated in civics to know either what the proper function of either of those institutions is, or why it is important to keep them as they are.  Whenever the youth start agitating to overthrow institutions, you can bet they are being gently prodded by shadowy agents of change funded by those who do not love this country and would prefer to run it themselves as a fiefdom, with the rest of us as their compliant serfs.**  Follow the money.  It will lead you to interesting places, as it generally does — Tom Steyer, George Soros, et al.  And who knows?  Possibly “the Russians”, too.

But Trump won’t be the one they’re colluding with.

_____________________

* Well, not really unwitting, if you already didn’t trust the media — like most conservatives.

** Good luck with that.

Nothing really to be said

about the Meuller fiasco that hasn’t already been said for the past two years by anyone with any sense.  But I’ll try to condense my general thoughts on the subject:

Ya got bupkis, progs.  Ya had bupkis, ya got bupkis, and you’re going to help re-elect your own worst nightmare in 2020 and probably have negative bupkis after that.

Although I think negative bupkis is like dividing by zero.  Still, that’s what you’re going to have.  That giant sucking sound is not the economy, it’s the black hole opening under the feet of the Democrats.

Just because…

The lunacy that is the NPVIC

Lately there is a move by certain states with certain types of legislatures (stupid ones, but also blue ones, so that explains a lot) to circumvent the Electoral College by passing a law that states that their state electors will be appointed based on the total national popular vote for president — not by an internal process that uses the results of the state’s total popular vote for president exclusively.

This idiocy is called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC).  It is supposed to go into effect only if states representing 270 votes in the Electoral College sign on to the pact.  Sadly, this is far too close to happening for comfort right now.

One might think that this is all well and good (it is neither), but the NPVIC — along with being a really crappy idea promulgated by progressives who still haven’t gotten over the fact that Donald Trump won the Electoral College in 2016 without winning the national popular vote, despite the fact that the national popular vote has NEVER been considered in determining the winner of the presidential race — is probably unconstitutional for at least a couple of originalist reasons.

Let’s first take a look at why the NPVIC is being pushed at this time.

It is likely impossible to amend the Constitution to abolish or amend the Electoral College in the time left between now and the 2020 presidential election, if it is even possible to do so at all, because small states with few electoral votes are unlikely to amend the Constitution in such a way that it reduces their influence.*  Consider if the Senate were to become a proportionately-elected body like the House.  The great Compromise that gave small states equal status in one of the two houses of the national Congress would immediately self-destruct, and the Senate would become a body (like the House) dominated by the five or six largest states, while the rest lose any voice on matters that the majority deem to be important.  Overnight the Congress would shift blue, thanks to states like California, New York, and Illinois.

It is even more unlikely that the Electoral College could successfully be amended since it is a core, sine qua non provision of the Constitution.  Without the equal-representation Senate and the Electoral College, there would not have been a Constitution to tack a Bill of Rights onto, because the small states would have walked out of the Convention and we’d still be living under the Articles of Confederation.  Maybe.  The world would certainly look a lot different, that’s for sure.

So the amendment process being effectively out of the question, how does one subvert the intent of the Framers for the states to elect the federal President?  It is clear that the national popular vote did not figure in their plans, because if it had, we would not have an Electoral College.  But we do have an Electoral College, and it’s a very simple thing that allows states wide discretion in just how they appoint their electors.  Article II Section 1 provides,

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

We’ll ignore the rest of the description of the Electoral College because it goes into a ton of detail about how the Electors are supposed to vote, and how their votes are to be counted and certified, etc., some of which was superseded by the 12th Amendment after the gigantic hooroar over the election of 1800.  You can go look that up yourself.  At any rate, the only part that is important at the moment is what is excerpted above.  And now we get to the Constitutional reasons why the NPVIC is facially invalid.

As we have said, the Electoral College was devised to even out the small state-large state disparity such that the large states couldn’t overwhelm the small states by simple popular vote in the Presidential contest. Awarding the state’s electoral votes based on the national popular vote winner clearly violates the Framers’ intent to “buffer” the popular vote with the mechanism of the College.  Therefore the NPVIC is unconstitutional simply because it attempts to thwart the clear meaning and intent of the Framers’ Constitution in creating the Electoral College in the first place.

To take a more complex look at the issue, it could also be argued that NPVIC is Constitutionally invalid because each state’s electors should (as they have been by tradition) be chosen based on the actual popular vote of the people of that state,in vacuo” without any influence from external forces or events. Now, the state legislature can choose whatever method suits it** — winner takes all, electors assigned by proportion of the state’s vote tally by candidate, or by propitiation of sheep guts like the Romans did*** — and by a strict reading of Article II, as citizens of a given state, we are bound to accept that method as chosen by our state legislators and codified by law.

However, allowing other states to dictate how your state’s electors are allotted absolutely flies in the face of what the Framers intended, i.e., Federalism in which each state corporately and independently makes its own choice.

I don’t allow anyone in the voting booth with me to tell me how to vote, so why should states allow what happens in other states influence how they choose their electors?  To do so is nothing less than madness.

Far from a conspiracy to subvert original intent like the NPVIC, it’s high time that the states the NPVIC would most adversely affect start working on a Constitutional amendment to lock in stone how states may choose their electors, rather than leaving that process to state-level chicanery and corruption.  My suggestion is “winner take all”, which was the standard for most states for quite a long time.  There’s nothing like old traditions when you’re trying to save your country from socialism.

___________________

* Note, however, that some small states have, incomprehensibly (other than that they are blue states), signed on to the NPVIC.  They include Colorado, Connecticut, Hawai’i, and (naturally, even though it is not a state and appoints no electors) the District of Columbia.  12 states plus DC have currently signed on to this suicide, er, NPVIC pact.

** And note carefully that the Constitution is completely silent on the method.  It does not mandate that states hold popular elections to determine how it selects its electors.  But because electors have been selected in that manner since the beginning of the Constitutional period and the election of 1788, the case can be made that this is the traditional and proper manner of doing so, and to do otherwise would deprive the state’s citizens of their franchise.

*** Although the citizenry of the state would be well within their rights to immediately overthrow any legislature that did the latter.

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