There is no point in having law if we let the lawless reign.

For years now, people on the Right have been pummeled incessantly by the Left for daring to speak their minds, or even (heaven forfend) getting elected to high office under the United States.

You know what I mean.  Hollywood celebrities fantasizing about the gory and horrific death of the President, or of senators or congresscritters.  Antifa and its ilk threatening honest citizens who happen to have opinions that run counter to theirs (funny, I thought Antifa were supposed to be the ANTI-fascists).  The current left-wing hatred for ICE and its agents, specifically the shit that went down in Portland where the Antifaggots surrounded the local ICE office and the police (backed by the mayor) wouldn’t lift a finger to help.

And it’s not just the Trump administration that’s the target.  It’s just the current target.  The same sort of things went on during the Bush 43 years.  But it wasn’t as wound up back then, more subtle, but just as evil and nasty under the subtlety.

In many cases, what these people are doing is violating the law.

Cowardly Antifa wears masks, which often runs afoul of state and local anti-mask laws that have survived since the heyday of the KKK.  Such laws don’t exist everywhere, but more and more localities are considering adopting them.  Antifa stages marches that turn into armed riots, which are definitely illegal no matter where you live.

Actors like Kathy Griffin (who is probably just the most extreme of the bunch) give interviews and create videos in which the painful death of Donald Trump is clearly promoted.  (Shit, an entire movie was made back in the early aughts about the assassination of George W. Bush.)  While it may not necessarily be against the law to express such thoughts, when you are a public person with an audience who may take your suggestions as a call to action, that should warrant at the very least a visit by the Secret Service and a clear warning to stop behavior that could be viewed as incitement to assassinate the President.  (And if repeated, at the very least a federal grand jury ought to be impaneled and hand down indictments for conspiracy to assassinate the President.  While we don’t do lèse-majesté in this country, we do frown upon and take threats to our President seriously — or at least, we used to.)

Even Congrescritters and Senators lie about things they allege Donald Trump has said, and call him a racist for saying them, even when it turns out Donald Trump said nothing of the sort.  But everyone is a racist these days who doesn’t toe the Communist, er, Democratic Party line, right?

And when pressed, all of these people without exception resort to the free speech argument; “I can say what I want and you can’t stop me from doing so.  It’s just my opinion.”  Of course, purely political speech is not to be infringed in this country because we have, per the First Amendment, freedom of speech.  But the Left believes that it can stretch the definition of political free speech to suit itself, and then in turn deny the same right to its opponents on the Right.  And frankly, until the advent of Donald Trump, they’ve pretty much gotten away with it.

This needs to stop.

I don’t care about what anyone says about Donald Trump’s policies.  If you oppose him, you oppose him.  If you support him, you support him.  You do need to have the intellectual honesty to not lie about what he says or does, and that goes for both his detractors and his supporters.  But that’s all political speech and it’s protected; I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

When you go out and you make what could easily be considered threats to the life and welfare of the President and his family, you’ve crossed a line.  Your speech (or expression) is no longer protected, and you cannot claim freedom of speech as an excuse for such behavior.  Trying to skate past outrage by claiming carrying around a fake and bloody Donald Trump head after decapitating him is simply an expression of your feelings about Donald Trump and not any sort of intent to actually do that specific deed is not just intellectually dishonest, it’s stupid, it’s incitement to violence on the part of your fans, and you damn well know it is.

If I went running around on Monument Circle carrying a bloody decapitated Donald Trump head, I’d be arrested and probably sent for a mental health evaluation.  I don’t see why the same didn’t happen to Kathy Griffin.  Is she a citizen, like me, or is she some sort of elite who is above the law?  She’d better not be the latter, because that way lies revolution.

The best part of the Donald Trump presidency so far is what happened to the Inauguration Day rioters in DC.  None of those young jerks believed they’d be arrested, or if they were, they figured it would be a minor infraction, spend the night in jail, pay a fine, and go home.  Nope.  Federal District, federal felonies.  These grown children were crying in court.  Good.  Even though very few of them were actually convicted of felonies, just the scare it put into the rest was worth it.

The same thing needs to happen to Antifa rioters.  Civil rights violations by Antifaggots need to be prosecuted.  Holding ICE personnel captive in their offices and (separately) threatening to kill ICE agents who are just doing their jobs are civil rights violations.  Doxxing and rioting in front of politicians’ homes (as has lately been done to folks like Mitch McConnell) is a civil rights violation (not to mention trespassing and any other civil or criminal charges an inventive prosecutor might come up with).  Civil rights violations are federal crimes and grand juries ought to be considering indictments for all who would inflict them.

This also goes for the idiots who block interstate highways or otherwise cause violence to the innocent for no other reason than they thirst for power and intend to get it by any means necessary.  “Run them down,” said a famous blogger, and he was right; that’s exactly what drivers should do in cases like that.  It’s self-defense against those who would violate your civil right to travel peaceably about the country (regardless of your destination).

The bottom line is that bad behavior ought to be punished.  By not punishing it, these events continue to happen, and they escalate every time.

The question at this point should be, “If not now, when?”

We cannot continue as a democratic republic if this behavior continues to be condoned, or at the very least ignored.  Sooner or later, if something is not done about it, the silent majority is going to have had enough, and will finally stand up to be counted.

And that will be a very, very bloody day, I fear.

It may be a small world, but it’s still too huge to keep track of.

A friend shared this article on Facebook:

Now, admittedly, if you go to the article, that’s not the actual headline.  And that question is not actually answered, because the article is really a history of Pol Pot and what led up to and then transpired during the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia in the late 1970’s.  But it is an important question, because frankly, if you were to ask someone (like a millennial*) today who Hitler or Stalin were, you’d probably be able to get a reasonable answer on Hitler (“he killed the Jews in Germany”) and you might find a few who could tell you that Stalin was the great leader of the Soviet Union who killed millions of people in famines and wars and stuff yet is still loved and revered by the people he led** (and is not, in fact, your neighbor’s German Shepherd police dog).

But if you ask “Who was Pol Pot?”, my guess is that most people today, including a lot of people who were alive at the time, would give you the old puzzled look.

So why isn’t Pol Pot as reviled as Hitler or Stalin, as the teaser headline trenchantly asks, while the article it links to fails of that promise to tell us?

I think because at the time, the US had pretty much washed its hands of Southeast Asia. Nobody talked about it and nobody taught the history of the region, which was small and way off in the middle of nowhere in a place where we’d only recently been shown the door and Americans were to all intents and purposes persona non grata. And even once the whole Cambodian Genocide was over, again, nobody in the West other than hippies and commies (who blamed the whole thing on Americans, who of course had walked away before it even started) wanted to be bothered with it, or reminded again of American failures in Southeast Asia — particularly Vietnam, but sure, Cambodia, too.

But it’s hard to rouse the same amount of interest in bad stuff happening to people in parts of the world to which we have little or no personal connection.  The Shoah speaks to Jews and Christians alike, because it was Westerners going insane and killing other Westerners for no more reason than the religion they professed. We keep the memory alive because many of us lost family and friends in the camps, or lost family and friends fighting the war that put an end to the camps.  There is a very personal connection involved (at least for those Americans who don’t stupidly believe that the Shoah was a hoax).  So it gets remembered and talked about and is a part of our history.***

Yet the same kind of thing is happening today in Myanmar (the so-called Rohingya genocide; so-called because it’s questionable if it’s a true genocide or just a really nasty refugee crisis). For that matter, see what the Chinese are doing to the Muslim Uighur populations in Xinjiang Province. You read articles about these things from time to time (particularly if you read conservative or libertarian media and blogs), but like Vietnam and Cambodia, it’s so far outside of our daily grind that it doesn’t really impinge on our consciousness. We know it’s happening, we’ve just got too much on our plates that’s more immediate than whatever is happening over on the other side of the world.  So it hovers, if at all, at the back of our minds until the next article appears, raging at the unfairness of it all.  We read it, go “tsk tsk” about the horrors of the non-Western world, and we move on to the baseball scores.

In my opinion****, Pol Pot in his way certainly was as bad as Hitler or Stalin or Mao (and why doesn’t that headline mention Mao, who was probably the champion of genocide in the 20th Century — 15 to 55 million dead in the Great Leap Forward). The problem is, Pol Pot’s genocide was small potatoes (between 1.7-1.9 million killed) in a place nobody in the West gave a damn about. So unless you are an historian specializing in recent SE Asian history, it just doesn’t tend to come up.

I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  But like I said in my headline, the world is a big fucking place and it’s damn hard to keep track of what 7 billion human beings are doing.  So I think we can be forgiven if we have generally forgotten about people like Pol Pot.

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* I know I beat up on millennials a lot around here, but the fact is that they were the first generation to be truly and fully engulfed by the Gramscian Damage, and thus if they were taught any history at all, it was likely heavy on the Bad Things done by the Evil Americans and silent on the Bad Things that were done by the Commies in Southeast Asia, back in the ’70s.  This is really not their fault, but ferchrissake, you kids could pick up a book now and then instead of hanging out on social media all fucking day.

** Jeebus, talk about Stockholm Syndrome, the entire fucking Soviet Union and the Russian Federation that followed it had it bad for Stalin.  It’s no wonder they keep electing Putin.

*** My fellow Jews won’t like to hear this, but my guess is that the Shoah will be barely remembered in another 3-5 generations, other than as the reason for commemorating Yom Ha-Shoah and mentioning the 6 million martyrs during the Yiskor service on Yom Kippur.  The survivors’ generation will be gone (they are nearly all gone now) and the succeeding generations (like mine) who knew the survivors first-hand will be gone or nearly gone.  Face it, who remembers the details of the pogroms, or of the loss of the two Temples?  The former is dry history relegated to books and is rarely evoked unless you specialize in Russian or Eastern European history, the latter is legend in the Bible (First Temple) and stories in Roman and Christian chronicles (Second Temple).  None of it gets much play in a standard Western Civ. textbook or course.  As time goes by and memories fade, the Shoah, too, will be relegated to history, no matter how hard we try.

**** It’s an informed opinion; I remember the Vietnam era quite well (for someone who was in grade and middle school at the time, I happened to take an interest and the newspapers were loaded with stories about it), and I remember the Cambodian Genocide being reported when I was in high school, and after.  Then I went to college, where my area of historical specialization was — other than American Diplomatic and Military History — the History of East and Southeast Asia,

You know nothing, Facebook commenter

People who know nothing yet pontificating wisely, Part who the hell knows what.

The news article is from the San Francisco Chronicle, for what it’s worth.

So let’s get right into this comment, shall we?

“I also like the concept of having a regulated utility provide most of my fuel requirements rather than having to use commodity-priced fuel.”

So in other words, you are in favor of price controls.  Price controls don’t work.  I remember price controls from the Nixon Administration, when freezing gas prices (particularly after the Arab oil embargo) and other commodity prices simply worked to ensure that there were shortages.

Not so fast, you say; there are lots of government-imposed price controls on things today that don’t result in shortages.  How about milk, for instance?

Yeah, milk is cheap on the grocery store shelf, a lot cheaper than it should be, because a) the government provides dairy farmers with price supports that come out of our pockets through taxes, and b) dairy farmers still aren’t making enough even with the price supports, so they produce a fuckton more milk than we need (even for export) and the government obligingly pays (again out of our pockets) to make it into cheese and other dairy products than can be stored long-term, and then pays (again out of our pockets) to maintain huge refrigerated warehouses in which to store said long-term storage items.  Tell me again how milk is a bargain.

Generally, if you notice that something is cheap and its price is government-controlled, there is a taxpayer-funded price support going to the pockets of the producers.  This is not the case with electricity or gasoline.

And by the way, electricity is as much a commodity as anything else that’s sold.  For every megawatthour of electricity purchased off the national or regional grid (which is important for a state like California that does not produce enough electricity to cover its total demand), there are normal rates and peak rates.  When electricity demand is high and power from the external grid is scarce, it’s sold at a premium to utilities like PG&E.  You may think you have a fixed rate for electricity, leading you to believe that it is not commodity-priced, but believe me, the rate you pay takes those peak “wholesale” rates into account.  If it didn’t, PG&E would be in even more trouble than they’re already in.

Also, I think people who are not savvy about such things actually believe that as long as your lights are on, there’s always more electricity where that came from.  To me, that’s like believing that as long as you have checks in your checkbook, you’ve got money in the bank.  Unfortunately, neither electricity or bank accounts work that way.

In California’s case, where the state government loves electricity but hates traditional electricity producers, moving to more electric cars that require charging points (or apparently in the commenter’s case, buying a hybrid that he’d prefer to charge in his garage at night rather than run the motor to charge the battery, because for some reason he thinks the former would be cheaper) just means users will be making increasing demands on the grid.  And the decrepit California grid is already straining to meet demand.

Here’s another story from the 1970’s that may shed light (as it were) on what happens when utilities suddenly have to meet increased demand.  Before the 1970’s most middle-class homes did not have air conditioning.  (I realize that may come as a shock to millennials.)  Suddenly, in the very late 1960’s and early 1970’s, everyone and their brother was getting central air installed.*

And equally suddenly, neighborhoods started experiencing brownouts at peak air conditioning times, for instance, when people got home in the afternoon and turned the air either on or down.  Look, before the 1960’s, most middle-class homes had 60 amp service.**  And generally, the local power company sized its neighborhood power build-outs to handle x number of homes at no more than 60 amps each.  A small central air conditioner (2-1/2 to 3 tons, say, serving a home between 1,200 and 1,500 square feet) used to require a 240V branch circuit of 30 amps.  (They’re more efficient now, but this was then.)  And they used most of that 30 amps when they started up, then throttled back to maybe 15-20 running amps.

Now factor in house lighting, your electric range, electric water heater, and electric dryer.  (We had gas for the last three, but work with me; a lot of the homes in this subdivision had electric cooktops and electric ovens.  Dad insisted on gas.)

All of a sudden, your central-air-conditioned neighborhood is pulling a lot more power than it used to.  And that’s going to drop the line voltage (which is what causes brownouts), and on a really hot day when the air conditioning units are running full blast, you may even end up dropping out the circuit breakers down the street where your neighborhood service enters.  That means a power company truck roll to reset the breakers (they’re manual) and a lot of frantic engineering down at the power company to figure out how they can supply enough power to your neighborhood to prevent that in the future.

So back to California.  Let’s add a Level-2 charger to your garage for your Ford Fusion Energi.  Surprise!  According to this website, you need a 50 amp, 240 volt circuit to supply enough power to your new charger to charge your car.  And that circuit is going to run at 80% capacity, so you’ve just added 40 amps of load to your home electrical service.  For those playing along at home, that’s 9.6 kilowatts.  So how many homes are in your neighborhood?  If they all install a Level 2 charger, that’s nearly 10KW per house, and I will just about guarantee that your electric utility is going to have a conniption when everyone comes home and plugs in their cars.***

And you’re going to do that, because as previously noted, the electric utility is regulated and the state tells them how much they can charge you for a kilowatt hour of electricity.  So your cost is, again as previously noted, fixed, whereas the cost to the electric utility just went up because of upgrades and the fact that electric power is in fact a commodity that is purchased from the excess produced by other utilities on the grid.  But in California, you hate the kind of power plants that can actually produce, day after day, the kind of high power you need to maintain a high-technology civilization.  So because your solar plants and wind plants don’t produce enough consistent power to feed that civilization’s hungry maw, even though you still have a few coal and oil plants, and a couple of nukes, and a bunch of hydroelectric dams, you still have to buy a lot of power from out of state.  And that power often is sold to you at peak rates — because it’s a commodity, and a lot of times it’s less plentiful than at other times, so the price fluctuates.

So I think we’ve established that the Facebook commenter, above, hasn’t got a clue that his “regulated” electric power is actually a commodity for which he pays full price, whether he knows it or not.

Let’s turn now to his other blithe off-the-cuff question:

“I’d like to see what kind of motor carriers have this kind of efficiency.”

Proving, again, that he is clueless.  Motor carriers run diesel (mostly), as do locomotives.  They do so at reasonable efficiency for what they are, despite all the emission controls they’re forced to run that decrease horsepower.  But their actually mile-per-gallon efficiency is not nearly as important as what it actually costs to transport x tons of freight hundreds or thousands of miles.  I’ve seen articles (which I am not going to bother to go find, try Google) suggesting that a hundred-car rail consist with four locomotives pulling it is more efficient in terms of ton-miles per gallon of fuel than a corresponding number of trucks running the same amount of freight.  But even if that’s true, a big over-the-road truck pulling a tandem-axle trailer that can carry a maximum of 34,000 pounds (17 tons) is going to be far more efficient than a hybrid automobile that is not going to get anywhere near 40mpg if you load it down.  (And let’s see you put more than a couple of hundred pounds of stuff in a small hybrid.  Not going to happen.)  At that point, you’re arguing apples and oranges, and the comment doesn’t even make sense after you think about it for a few seconds.

Yeah, it would be great it a diesel semi-tractor could get 40MPG on diesel while pulling 17 tons of freight.  Shipping costs would plummet.  My friend who works at Cummins would be thrilled.  But that’s just not going to happen.  Diesel semi-tractors average between 4-8 MPG.  But that doesn’t matter when you’re pulling 17 tons to the MAYBE 1/10 ton you can jam into the back seat and trunk of your hybrid car.  Your hybrid may indeed average 5 to 10 times the MPG of a semi-tractor, but the semi-tractor can pull ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY TIMES as much stuff as your hybrid.  I’ll leave the ton/mile/gallon math as an exercise for the reader, but even without the math, it’s pretty clear that for its intended purpose, a semi-tractor is a buttload more efficient than a hybrid automobile.

So, Facebook commenter, your arguments are both invalid.  Try doing some basic research before you say stupid shit in the future.

As if that will happen.

_________________
* I can vouch personally for this because my father was in the business back then, and I was old enough to be a sort of apprentice.

** Again, you can trust me on that, in my lifetime I’ve upgraded more 60 amp services to 100 or 200 amps than I care to think about in my old age.

*** As a comparison, a well-insulated house in north-central Indiana requires about 45 BTUh per square foot.  A well-insulated 1500-square foot house thus requires about 67,500 BTUh for normal heating.  To get 68,000 BTUh requires 20KW of electric heat.  So your Level 2 charger requires enough electricity to heat an 800 square foot home (think “two-bedroom apartment”) for 4 to 5 hours.  In fairness, furnaces don’t run 24/7 unless it’s REALLY cold, but generally estimators assume they’ll run about half the time in the winter.  Consider, then, that your Level 2 charger will require enough electricity to heat a typical two-bedroom apartment on a mild winter day.  Is this still efficient?  And if your electricity is generated by coal, oil, or natural gas, is it still clean and green like you want to think it is?

An interesting spin

As most folks are probably aware, the Christian Colorado baker who’s so far 2-0 in court (1 outright win, 1 settlement that was effectively a win) has been sued YET AGAIN by the same fucking plaintiff, who apparently can’t get enough of that sweet sweet court action — even though plaintiff effectively lost twice already.*

For a lot of people, it’s difficult to decide where to come down on this case.  Either it’s a religious freedom issue, or it’s a public accommodation issue.  Either you have the right of your religious convictions to not create art for people who go against your religious convictions, or simply by being in business serving the public, you are bound to create art for anyone who asks you to (and is willing to pay for it), regardless of how it might violate your religious convictions.

I just saw a comment on Facebook that might put the whole thing into perspective:

There’s a big difference between baking bread to FEED people, a common need, and making cult-items for cult-worship, which is extraordinarily specific. Each community has to provide those items for its own members.

In essence, nobody “needs” a wedding cake; and if they want a particular kind of wedding cake that is not the sort of thing someone outside of their community is likely to agree to make, they are expected to find someone in their own community who will, rather than trying to force someone not of their community to do so.

The two communities in question are the Christian community, and the gay community.

And we’re all aware that Masterpiece Cakeshop was targeted specifically to spark the legal battle that ensued.  The plaintiffs can’t lie about that; there were plenty of other cake shops, the owner offered to sell them a non-customized cake, and they weren’t having any of it.  This is weaponized lawfare, pure and simple.

But it violates the dictum that nobody should be forced to do something against their will simply because they happen to operate a business that makes the sort of thing that someone else wants to pervert for “reasons”.

I mean, let’s say I have an old Ford Model A and I want my mechanic to make a rat-rod out of it.  But my mechanic doesn’t believe in making rat-rods, and in fact feels very strongly that my Model A ought to be restored.  Can I sue him for refusing to do what I want to pay him to do?  Sure, if I want to be laughed out of court and find a new mechanic.**

No, I would be expected in that case to seek out a mechanic who specialized in, or at least did rat-rod conversions.  Thus fulfilling the commenter’s dictum that cult-items for cult-worship should be provided by the cult’s community.

Conversely, if plaintiff had approached Masterpiece Cakeshop and simply purchased a ready-made cake, the owner would not have been put in the position of having to provide a custom cult-item for plaintiff’s cult-activity.

This seems fair to me.  Every rule can be taken too far, and the folks who argue that this is a public accommodation case are simply wrong.  “The public” does not typically walk into a Christian-owned wedding cake shop and order a cake for a gay wedding.

And let’s pose another proposition:  What if plaintiff had walked into a Muslim-owned bakery and asked for such a cake?  (Yes, that proposition has been posed before.)  Does anyone in the “public accommodation” arena actually believe a discrimination suit would have been filed against the baker?  (Does anyone actually think plaintiff was deranged enough to ASK a Muslim-owned bakery for such a thing?)

What this was and continues to be about is the attempted destruction of the majority Christian society in this country and its adherents who still believe certain things are immoral and will not participate in the doing of them.

Those people have rights, too.  And those rights are being trampled on in the name of inclusiveness and diversity, both of which ought to be considered obscenities rather than virtues.  It needs to stop, and I have a feeling one of these days it’s going to stop — violently.

Citizens, be vigilant.

__________________

* See how I did that without pronouns?

** For the record, I don’t own a Model A, and I think rat-rods are ridiculous.

It’s not CEO pay that’s really at issue

I see that the CEO of Goodwill Industries is being jacked up for taking a $730,000 annual salary while paying disabled workers “pennies”.  The actual complaint is that Goodwill is legally taking advantage of an 80-year-old law that allows them to pay the disabled significantly sub-minimum wages.

Note carefully the word “legally”.

As Judge Learned Hand memorably said regarding taxes,

Over and over again courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging one’s affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everybody does so, rich or poor; and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands: taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant.

The same is true of wages.  Even minimum wages are a form of immoral overreach by governments, because the fact is that some jobs simply aren’t worth the minimum wage.  (Flipping burgers and asking if you want fries with that being particular examples of the concept.)  And the further fact is that the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. § 203) explicitly allows entities such as Goodwill to pay sub-minimum wages to disabled workers.*  So if you want Goodwill to pay the disabled more than “pennies”, stop bitching about the CEO’s well-deserved pay and work to get the law changed.  (And good luck with that — you’ll need it.)

That said, I do not understand the left’s penchant for chewing out CEOs of multinational corporations about their level of compensation. With the money also comes significant responsibility, and the bigger the company, the more responsibility. Plus, such CEOs probably work longer hours than most of their employees, because CEOs simply cannot be effective if they insist on being nine-to-fivers.  Most progressives probably never worked more than 40 hours a week in their lives, and probably never worked as more than middle management (let along as a CEO or small business owner), so they don’t understand this.

In the current contretemps over Goodwill’s CEO compensation, whether or not “he” pays disabled employees “pennies” (decisions about individual compensation at that level are more than likely made well below his level; he probably sees the summaries of the summaries of the budget summaries and has no idea what the average employee takes home) is not the point.

What I believe I really see in these “CEOs make too much money” complaints is envy and jealousy. If you can show me real evidence of wrongdoing, I’ll be happy to say the guy should be canned. But be warned, the guy who replaces him will want the same kind of compensation package. Probably more, because he’ll be fully aware of how his predecessor was hounded out.

FWIW, used to see the same kind of complaints about the United Way, Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc. ad nauseum. No corporation, profit or non-profit, is immune to the REEEEEEE brigade of the woke left.

(Also FWIW, I do not give any money to the United Way — and have not done for over 25 years — because I think they ARE a waste of money. I prefer to give money directly to United Way partners because that way I know where the money is going. Blindly giving money to the United Way — even if you designate a partner or partners for your donation as many do with payroll deduction — just means the money gets filtered through another layer of bureaucracy before it gets to the people it’s meant to help.)

____________

* Let’s also remember that in this day and age, people who are disabled to the point of being qualified to do the sort of work Goodwill (and other such organizations that employ the disabled) hire them to do are by and large the recipients of monthly disability checks from the U.S. Government, paid for by the generous (?) wallet-Hoovering suffered by the rest of us on an annual basis.  While a disability check isn’t anything to write home about, it’s still money being paid out for no other reason than the person being paid is (allegedly) unable to work at a regular job.  Thus one could view what Goodwill pays the disabled as supplementary income as opposed to “gee this person only makes 58 cents an hour, holy shit, that’s immoral, reeeeeeeeeeee!”

The other point that should be made is that typically the point of Goodwill providing these jobs in the first place is to give people a) something to do and b) a sense of purpose, when they would otherwise be sitting around doing little or nothing.  If that means you can buy a little something for yourself at the end of the pay period that you otherwise would not be able to afford, that’s icing on the cake.  Nobody likes to sit around and mope simply because they don’t have the skills or abilities to do what the rest of us would consider an everyday job.

Happy Independence Day!

Endorsed.  Kaepernick Nike need not apply.

Look, Nike has a new shoe release

…just in time for Independence Day!

(Nah, bro, just joking, fuck Nike and the Kaepernick they rode in on.)

The WSJ is run by a pack of cowards.

They aren’t accepting comments on this article.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said he would call a special legislative session to address gun control after a gunman killed 12 people at a Virginia Beach government building on Friday.

Mr. Northam, an embattled Democrat who has held on to office after a racist photo from his medical-school yearbook re-emerged in February, called Tuesday for sweeping changes, including universal background checks and expanding local authority to regulate firearms, such as in government buildings.

“I will be asking for votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers,” the governor said at a news conference. He hopes to convene the special session by the end of June, his spokeswoman said.

As Glenn Reynolds memorably said many years ago, in the wake of Sandy Hook,

“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.

And as usual, that’s exactly what’s going on here.  The bottom line, Mr. Northam, is you don’t need new gun laws, you need to enforce the gun laws you already have.

And let’s talk for a moment about “silencers”, since everyone has their panties in a knot because the jerk used one. Silencers aren’t. They don’t work the way you think they do, if the only place you’ve ever seen them used is in Hollywood films. That’s why they’re actually called “suppressors”, not “silencers.” The idea is to suppress enough of the bang to bring it down to a reasonable level…kind of like putting a muffler on your car.

And moreover, y’know, you can’t walk into a gun store and walk out with a suppressor. In some states you can’t even buy one. They’re designated Class III arms — just like full-auto machine guns. To buy one, you have to apply for BATFE approval and, once approved (which is not “same-day” like a 4473 usually is), you have to register the suppressor’s serial number with BATFE. And you’re not done, because most legal experts recommend setting up a trust for the purpose of registering the suppressor. That costs money. And then, so does the tax stamp you have to buy from the BATFE for each and every suppressor you register — $200 each.*

So this dude either stole that suppressor, or he bought it legally and went through a maze of requirements to get it. Or he built one in his garage out of an old oil filter or suchlike, in which case he’s as much of a federal felon as if he’d stolen a manufactured one.  How much more gun law do you need, Mr. Northam?

FWIW here’s all the BS you have to go through to buy a suppressor — and I’d own them for my guns simply to save my hearing, if it wasn’t such an expensive, Byzantine process.

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* I was reminded by a Facebook friend that said tax stamp can take 6 months or more to receive AFTER you apply and pay for it.

Destroying our history to save our country … doesn’t work.

The City of Dallas has declared its statue of Robert E. Lee — removed from a city park two years ago — as “surplus property” and is putting it up for sale.

To say that this is ridiculously stupid is to treat the issue with kindness and charity.

You may call Lee and the rest of the leaders of the Southern Confederacy traitors (and many under-educated Americans do), but the fact is that none of them were ever tried as traitors, and indeed, all but one of them accepted amnesty and was eventually restored to citizenship.  The same is true clear down to the soldiers in the trenches — anyone who applied for amnesty got his citizenship back.

In the end, not treating anyone but Jefferson Davis as a war criminal (and that was mostly his own fault, but a strong case can be made that Davis was mentally disturbed during at least the last year of the war, and then for the rest of his life) is what glued the country back together.

Now in our modern day, we see those who would tear the country down destroying monuments to the men who, probably more than anyone else, kept things from flying apart after Appomattox. They were formidable and honorable soldiers, but they also knew when they were licked, and they laid down their arms without a lot of fanfare. And when the Army of Northern Virginia paraded through the Union lines to lay down their arms, they were saluted by the Union troops, and in turn saluted back. Thus the healing began.

Lee himself urged many, many butternut soldiers, both in person and in writing, to sign the amnesty forms and get their citizenship back. His own would have been restored had it not been for Secretary of State William Henry Seward, one of the biggest jackasses in Lincoln’s cabinet short of Edwin M. Stanton. Instead, it had to be restored posthumously in 1974 by vote of Congress, after someone discovered in the National Archives Lee’s amnesty form that had been hidden away by Seward after he received it.

If you have not studied the Civil War and its aftermath, you probably have no idea how many soldiers pleaded with Lee to disappear with them into the mountains to continue the resistance against the Federals — and the fact that he did not, and indeed scolded them for even considering such a doomed pursuit, is another mark in his favor. To tear down his monuments is to deny his importance to our history, regardless of his actions in the field between April 1861 and April 1865.  The same is true of the monuments raised to other great men of the Civil War, including some like Major General George H. Thomas, who fought for the Union, but is now denigrated because his family in Virginia owned slaves.

Full disclosure: I’m a Hoosier, born and bred. Members of my family fought on both sides. It doesn’t matter because it ended over a century and a half ago, with the Union restored and slavery ended. That being said, I believe in my heart that the South was correct about States’ Rights, and we see the result of their defeat on that subject today in our massively expanded Federal Government, which operates far beyond the pale of what was agreed upon in Philadelphia during that hot summer of 1787.

You really want to tear the country apart? Keep tearing down our history. That will do it just fine.

Pelosi stumbles

As Roger Simon puts it, “The re-election of Donald Trump will be dated from the evening of May 23, 2019.”

It would have happened sooner or later, but Nancy Pelosi’s out-of-control behavior—accusing Trump of a cover-up before meeting with him (sheesh), demanding his family stage an intervention (double sheesh), etc.—clearly forced the president finally to issue a memo giving Attorney General Barr authority to declassify the 2016 campaign surveillance documents. (He undoubtedly had it in his hip pocket for a while.)

Unlike Simon, who himself seems to waffle a bit on the subject, I don’t think Trump was “forced” to do this at all.  He’s said all along he was going to declassify the material.  I think he did have this memo in his hip pocket for awhile, but I also think he was waiting for the best (for the Democrats, the worst) possible time to issue it.

And Pelosi just could not keep her yap shut and play nice with the President while her underlings, dripping saliva from their slack mouths like rabid dogs, continue to press for impeachment where there is no impeachable offense.  Nope.  The Trump Derangement Syndrome is strong with this one.  So you want to play cover-up games, Madame Speaker?  Try covering this up once it’s revealed to the public in all of its ugly glory.  And either way Simon wants to slice it — forced or unforced — he still ends up with this:

Result: game changer. The re-election of Donald Trump will be dated from the evening of May 23, 2019. And the supposedly politically-savvy Ms. Pelosi will be marked down as the instigator.

Yeah, I know I already put that up top.  I’m savoring it, it’s my blog, and fuck you if you don’t like me repeating it.

I know there are a lot of folks out there even on the GOP side who pooh-pooh the idea that Donald Trump is playing 4D intergalactic chess while the Democrats and everyone else who opposes him are playing checkers.  As I keep repeating, Donald Trump is not a politician.  He’s a businessman.  He did not get where he is today without understanding the elements of how a business deal works, and how you get to the deal not only through negotiation but also by grandstanding and brinkmanship.  You call people belittling names and talk about their poor levels of cognition.  You understand that a trade war with a country that sells us a lot of stuff but doesn’t buy nearly as much in return* can be won with tariffs (something the Wall Street Journal editorial board doesn’t seem to understand).  You just keep slugging and slugging and slugging until the other guy screams “Uncle!”

And that’s why Donald Trump is playing at troll level Intergalactic Grand Master when it comes to dealing with politicians both domestic and foreign.  And they do not understand how to fight back, or even how to defend themselves against that sort of attack, because “nobody in government does that!”

Donald Trump does.  We can’t spare this man.  He fights.

And I would not have said that even three years ago.

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* Please don’t tell me how much corn and soy China buys from US farmers, and how tariffs are going to kill the small family farmer.  The Chinese can threaten all day to stop buying food from us, but only if they want famine in their country.  Farmers are planners, all over the world, and you can’t simply walk over to another country and say, “We want to buy this year’s soybean crop from you,” when that soybean crop was already sold two years ago to someone else.  China is beginning to discover to its dismay the realities of the market, and regardless of tariffs, they’ll still buy US soybeans and corn, and pork, and all kinds of other foodstuffs, because they simply won’t be able to buy them anywhere else.  Oh, and if China starts a war with the West?  Hope they have lots of rations stuffed away, because they can’t even begin to feed their own people if their western partners shut off the supply.  Japan found that out at the end of WWII.  The Brits would have been in that sort of trouble throughout WWII if it hadn’t been for US convoys shipping them food (one of the reasons we had to ration food during the war), and the Brits were still rationing food until 1954, nine years after the war ended, and fourteen years after rationing started in 1940.  So don’t tell me the Chinese can just buy their food elsewhere.  They can’t even nuke us into submission and come and take it from us, unless they want to die from eating irradiated food.

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