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Taking advantage of the situation

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I originally had a "Rioting Do's and Don'ts" post here, since I ass-u-med that the rioters in various cities now burning were the protesters. Then the videos at the end of this post came to my attention. Last month in this post I spoke about "bad actors" who didn't start this whole chain of events, but are happy to take advantage of the situation to further their agenda.

In this video, Tim Pool talked about how pallets of bricks are mysteriously showing up when there's nothing under construction nearby. This falls squarely under the category of "Things that make you go hmmm..."

In this video, Tim expands on the prior video by talking about more "pre-staged" palates of bricks, bottles of gasoline and water (rioting can leave you dehydrated, dontchaknow) for use by rioters.

In other news, there is clear evidence the violence around the White House over the weekend was pre-planned and coordinated. There are people in organized groups using the anger and outrage of the lockdown and the death of George Flynn as cover to start riots to try and topple our social structure. These instigators are mixing in with the legitimate and peaceful protesters, then causing property damage and looting. Once the mob mentality takes over, these instigators get away during the ensuing chaos and come back the next night to start it all over again.

Make no mistake about it, there is Evil afoot. There are people who want to bring this country down, and they are willing to build that house on as many dead bodies as they can. These people must be brought to Justice.

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At the point of a gun

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The Founding Fathers had a very clear vision of the country they founded. This country was founded on the concept that the Citizen is Sovereign (not those nonsensical "sovereign citizens") and the government serves the people, not the people serve the government. The concept that the citizen receives their Rights and authority from God (or the Universe) and delegates some of their authority to the government to handle issues that are larger than themselves. Those Founding Fathers also had the mindset of "the laws should be as few as possible and able to be understood while running."

The United States Constitution (and the state Constitutions) were written in such a way as to clearly declare what the Citizens allow the government to do, and no more. The Bill of Rights were additional constraints upon the government. There are twenty-five clear and separate points in those ten Amendments. They don't grant these Rights to the Citizens, they recognize that the Citizens have them already and the government is not in constrain them. "Congress shall make no law...", "The Right of the People... shall not be infringed." "...[B]ut in a manner to be prescribed by law." The phrase "The Right of the People" appear in the First, Second and Fourth, while the mention of "The People" are in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

Here are the direct and attributable quotes from our Founding Fathers:

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” – James Madison, Federalist 45, 1788

“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.’ To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, not longer susceptible of any definition.” – Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, 1791
Limited Government

“[T]he general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws: its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” – James Madison, Federalist 14, 1787

“It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it.” – James Madison, Federalist 48, 1788

“I own I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.” – Thomas Jefferson, Letter to James Madison, 1787

“The propriety of a law, in a constitutional light, must always be determined by the nature of the powers upon which it is founded.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 33, 1788

I brought all of this up because every law, every regulation, every statute, rule and ordinance that affects the Citizen and has a penalty attached for non-compliance, is ultimately enforced at the point of a gun. It doesn't matter if the crime is first-degree murder or failure to stop during a right-hand turn. A refusal to accept or perform restitution ultimately leads to a law enforcement officer pointing a weapon at you.

I need to explain this, because you probably don't understand this. LEO's do not carry weapons to enforce the law. Their badge and authority do that. The weapons are to protect themselves and others. An LEO must not lose an altercation with a citizen. To do so would damage or destroy any respect for their authority. Let's take that traffic stop. Normally, you're pulled over, you're issued a citation and you're released to go on about your day. For just a minor traffic violation, the LEO can only detain you until you have received and accept the citation. If I refuse to sign and accept the citation, the officer now has the authority to arrest me. If I refuse to comply with his demands to submit to arrest, he has a "Scale of Force" that dictates the level of force they are allowed to use. When an LEO has decided by your refusal of his commands that you need to be arrested because you have disobeyed his lawful orders, you're going to the local lockup. Once this starts, the officer cannot back down and "forget the whole thing" without direct orders from their superiors. At this point the officer will start up that "scale of force" to obtain your compliance. If you resist hard and violently enough that he believes his life or the lives of others are in grave danger, at that point he is justified in pulling his weapon and shooting you until you die or are rendered unable to resist his actions to arrest you.

That's a power you should be scared of, and why the laws should be as few as possible. George Washington is incorrectly attributed to saying this, but the words ring true no matter who said them:

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence,—it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.

And in the midst of this COVID Crisis, we see exactly this. James Madison said this:

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

To paraphrase Madison, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which grants the ability to the federal or various state governments  the power to close businesses nor confine the people to their homes without just and specific cause." There is no "in case of [whatever] clause" that I can find. There is a very good reason for that, as

Show me where the federal, state or local governments can force a business to suspend operations because that business is "non-essential." Non-essential to WHOM? That business is certainly essential to putting food on the table for the families of the business owner and employees. I understand and accept closures of a specific business based on "nuisance" or "health and safety" violations, but not whole industries because a bureaucrat thinks it's not critical for the economy.

Maybe I should put it this way because when I get into discussions about this, the "other side" misses this very important point: I have zero problem with government informing the public of the hazards of this disease and asking citizens to socially distance, restricting the number of people that can be in a building at any given time, wear masks, wash their hands, glove up and all of those things. We cross into "Police State" territory when the government authorizes the police to arrest and punish people for leaving their homes or operating their businesses.

When dealing with artwork, there is a concept known as "Provenance," which is a documented trail of ownership of the art in question. This "chain of custody"  proves that this work of art is the real artwork. Think of a  "Certificate of Authenticity." What I am meaning is when a mayor, governor or president issues the Executive Order, proclamation, memo, whatever, it (should) quote the applicable law that is being invoked. The provenance of that law (and thus the EO) needs to be derived, ultimately, from the Constitution, either the state or federal. If it can't be, then it's not a proper law.

In the end, if the government has the power to do things like this (and we let them get away with it), like "declare an emergency" to deny us our liberties, with the definition and declaration of "emergency" left up to the bureaucrats, then anything and everything can be an emergency.

That should scare the crap out of you.

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Memorial Day

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Today, if you don't already know it, today is Memorial Day, where we remember those Citizens who left home to become Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen and never made it back home again.

Don't thank a veteran for their service today, this is not our day. If you want to thank someone, go to a Veterans cemetery and gaze upon the rows of simple white markers. Tread softly, heroes lie sleeping there. Thank these men and women. From the Concord Green to the desolation of Afghanistan, passing through places like Bunker Hill, New Orleans, Cold Harbor, Gettysburg, the Alamo, Belleau Wood, Normandy, Anzio, Bastonge, Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Okinawa, Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sahn, and a thousand more places. You might not be able to find these places on a map, but just the words should bring tears to your eyes because of the sacrifices made for you. If you feel nothing, then I pity you. I suggest you read about them.

This Day is not for car sales, or just a day off work. While you're outdoor grilling or enjoying time with your friends and family, stop for a moment. Come together, hold hands, bow your heads and say "Thank You" to those who surrendered their lives and futures for you. Say a prayer for the families of those who never came back that they heal from their loss.

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Privilege == Percentages

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“Privilege” is an act performed by a person upon others. It takes the form of a person doing something for another person, which can include shielding a person from a bad thing. Some classic examples would be two men facing charges and are identical but for their skin color. The Black man receives a harsher penalty than the White man. If enough individuals collectively make similar decisions, than I can understand those who believe there is a societal privilege, but it’s still an individual’s choice.

A friend (I’ll call him “Frank” for brevity) recently related his personal example about his “White Privilege.” Frank was driving his vehicle shortly after having his car broken into by having a back window smashed out. There Frank was, driving from point A to point B, minding his own business when all of a sudden his car was boxed in from all sides and eight officers surrounded his car, guns drawn. Frank froze, kept his hands on the wheel and confirmed with the officers what he was going to do before he did it and was given permission. It was then determined that a wanted felon had the same make, model and color vehicle as Frank, all the way down to the busted out rear window.

After the police determined that Frank was not the wanted felon, the police apologized and Frank was allowed to be on his way. As he drove off, his thought (as was relayed to me, and I am paraphrasing) was, “If I had been a black guy, the police probably would have shot me.”

Let’s look at this encounter from one of the officer’s perspective, we’ll call the officer “Bob.” Bob is a human being, just like Frank. Bob wants to do his job, get paid for his efforts and go home to his family at the end of the day, just like Frank. However Bob, unlike Frank, routinely encounters people who are either a) genuinely bad, or b) having the worst day of their lives. Bob carries a sidearm (and more firepower in his cruiser) not to enforce the law, but to improve his chances to go home at the end of his shift. Bob doesn’t get to shoot people without good reason, which is 99% of the time, the bad guy was going to kill or seriously injure Bob or innocents.

Every encounter Bob has with people while he’s in uniform has a significant chance of ending with Bob dead on the ground. Bob has to have the base mindset that any traffic stop or any on the street encounter will be his last if Bob doesn’t act like the people in the encounter won’t kill him the first chance they get. If he loses that mindset, that’s when he really will end up dead on the roadside. Bob had a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) for a “Gold 1979 Cadillac with missing drivers-side rear window, Felony warrant out for owner of car matching this description.” Bob sees a vehicle matching that description, calls it in and coordinates his fellow officers to surround and immobilize the vehicle and see who’s driving.

Bob, a survivor of a thousand traffic stops, of which fifty went bad for whatever reason, is now downloading his personal experience into his reflexes. Out of those fifty “bad stops,” 60% were Whites, 40% Blacks. Ten of those stops had armed people actively resist and tried to shoot Bob. Seven Black people, 3 White people.

Suspecting the driver of this vehicle has a felony warrant out for them, Bob already knows that this stop has a high probability to “go bad” very quickly. He sees a white guy behind the wheel. Does Bob stop pointing his weapon at the driver? No. Does he lower his “shoot first” state of alertness? Maybe a little, because in his mind, White guys are (slightly) less dangerous to him.

The driver can feed into this situation as well. A driver who sits still, hands on the wheel and says, “Tell me what to do officer” has a lower percentage chance of getting shot than a driver who responds, “Yo pig! What the f**k is it this time?!” A driver who moves around in the vehicle after stopping, reaching under the seats, reaching for the glove box and such significantly increases that driver’s chance of being shot.

Can the chance of being shot be lowered to zero? No, it can’t. During any police encounter, there is always a chance of the civilian being shot by the officer. A bad confluence of events can always happen to leave an otherwise civilian in the encounter injured or dead.

There are at least 15-20 factors that can feed into the chance a police officer shoots the civilian. From dinner last night giving Bob “intestinal distress,” to his sergeant chewing him out at roll call on the low end, to something in the hands of the civilian and the civilian not doing what he’s told on the high end.

The biggest determining factor is more Blacks give police problems than Whites. I personally think this issue come from both sides of the encounter. I will not deny “Driving while Black” exists, I will not deny confirmation bias, or perception, or any sociological and racial tendencies that escalate such encounters. There are no innocent parties in this.

Frank and I are going to disagree with my assessment. He thinks he didn’t get shot because he is White. I firmly believe it was because he didn’t move until he was told to and he did exactly what he was told.
We do hear about police killing civilians. We should hear about it and those events should be investigated. I also believe that 6 months of analyzing the dash cam footage frame-by-frame and a couple hundred hours of research should be used be used to find the truth, not to see if the officer was to blame. The officer has to make an assessment of what the person is doing, determine if they are a threat (all information is incomplete BTW) and make a life-or-death decision, me or him, in 0.6 seconds.

I am reminded about a 12-year-old Black teenager. He had a toy/pellet gun that was painted black all over, covering the orange muzzle and other parts that would easily identify it as a toy and not a real firearm. The officer yelled “halt,” the teenager turned toward the officer, weapon in hand and got shot for his efforts. For a time I recall, gangsters would spray paint their real firearms orange to look like toy guns, with the intent of having that officer hesitate just long enough for the gangster to shoot and kill the officer.

You know what we don’t hear about? The 125,000+ daily police encounters where no one gets hurt and most everyone goes home.

I am willing to stipulate for the sake of argument that the base data in this article, Police kill about 3 men per day in the US, according to new study, is accurate. But there’s no context about this. I can think of three different ways someone can end up dead from a police encounter:

  • Violently resisting arrest
  • Suicide-by-cop
  • Error by police or civilian

Once we know the numbers of each of these categories, then we can start asking intelligent questions and really get a handle on this problem. I’m sorry to say the article doesn’t answer those important and pertinent questions.

Just to put things into perspective, every day in the US, 9 die from drowning, 16 die from getting run over while they were a pedestrian, 36 die from falling and 40 people die as the passenger in a motor vehicle.

In any given year, your chances of being killed in a police encounter are around 1 in 277,500. The chance of that happening over your lifetime is 1 in 3,840. Now, to be killed in a police encounter, you must first have a police encounter. If you don’t engage in criminal activity (and thus earn major attention of the police), I’m moderately sure those chances will get significantly better.

In the end, as I started this, there is no “societal” privilege, only the choices of individuals. We have very little control over the decisions of others whom we haven’t met yet.

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Contingency Plans

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I realize we will never really know exactly how COVID-19 crossed from animal to human. Between the paranoid level of secrecy and “saving face” of the CCP and the lack of information about its’ first start on humans, anyone who really knows will ever tell.

It is my suspicion, like many others out there, that some bungling maintenance tech didn’t repair some of the clean room equipment properly, leading to a worker getting exposed and the worker unknowingly carried it home to spread to the rest of us. If the CCP had weaponized it and wanted to unleash it on the world, I would have done it the 12 Monkeys way. Get vials with the virus onto multiple long international flights at the same time, making it impossible to pin down the “patient zero” and the origin of the virus.

Something like this COVID-19 outbreak concerns me, but it doesn’t scare me.

What scares me is there are groups of people out there, with access to the keys of power that were waiting for a crisis of this scale to trigger their contingency plans.

Hang with me on this. Think about what we’ve been through in the last couple of weeks.

  • The federal and state governments ordered private businesses to cease operations. I don’t see that power granted to the government in the Constitution.
  • The debt of the federal government jumped over 8% in just the past few days. It’s now over $25 Trillion.
  • The shutdown has thrown more people out of work than we had out of work in the Great Depression.
  • The US economy will drop at least 10-15% before it has a chance the economy can recover. This will not be a “V”-shaped recovery. It’s more like a fully-loaded semi- going from 70 to zero by locking up the brakes. Before it can get rolling again, you have to get the truck straightened out, check the load for shifting and start rolling again. It takes more effort and a lot longer to go from 0 to 70 than 70 to 0.
  • Between the drop in the economy and the boost in the federal debt, our debt ratio now over 105%. We owe more than we can generate.

Now, when a country owes more than it’s worth, well, just plug the word “hyperinflation” into your favorite search engine, with words like “Weimar Republic,” “Zimbabwe,” “Venezuela” and “Greece.”

We have also seen absurd levels of restrictions placed on the American People. From being arrested for kayaking in the ocean alone, to not being able to buy things like vegetable seeds, to a woman who was arrested and jailed for making a choice of opening her nail salon so she could earn money to feed her hungry children, and then the judge demands an apology from her, this shit has got to stop.

Logic and common sense reasoning demands the conclusion that there are individuals and groups with ill intent towards the United States and the American people out there. We see people every day actively working towards tearing this country down to the bedrock and rebuilding it in their twisted image. From those who developed Common Core Math, the Affordable Care Act, to those at the highest levels of the federal government now exposed as actively trying to pull off a silent coup through lies, misinformation and more.

I’m not saying these groups are coordinated. I actually kind of wish they were. It would be easier to stop this madness by finding one spot or several places where the proper application of force could bring the whole plan crashing down. But there’s no coordination or unifying plan. It’s like 40 six-year-old children running amok in the classroom with one teacher trying to regain order. There are children coloring on the walls, taking a crap in the teacher’s desk drawers, smoking weed in the corner, setting the curtains on fire, destroying furniture and more.

The difference between a conspiracy theory and a real conspiracy is, if you can tie up all of the loose ends into one nice, neat package, it’s a conspiracy theory. Real conspiracies are just like freedom and a healthy economy. Everyone is acting in their own best interests and on their own agenda. There are loose ends all over the place like you just flung an entire pot of spaghetti all over the kitchen.

I don’t know how or even if it can be stopped. All I can hope for is the Americans of today bring forth the spirit of their forefathers. To have a natural skepticism and suspicion of the government. To look at what’s going on and knowing the difference between the government asking for social distancing, wash your hands and all the rest, versus the government deciding what businesses get to remain open, then using the police enforce those decisions. To have the backbone for when the government tries to go too far, the citizens say “NO” and have the firepower to make it stick.

What I am seeing right now is a test run. Tests to see how far government can push, how much the people will take and if we can be psychologically manipulated into acting against our own best interests to comply with government mandates.

Here’s what should keep you awake at night. Right now there are people taking notes on everything that worked and didn’t work. When we get out of this, those “bad actors” are going to go back to their think tanks and revise what they have and run some trial tests here and there to see if they can work out the bugs for the next time.

And mark my words, there will be a next time.

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This. A thousand times this.

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I have had too many things to say about the current events, and have been too busy surviving to codify them. This guy has. Read and heed.

There will come an incident, as there have been before, when good people will have to stand up against the overreach and oppression of a government gone bad, as they have had to do in the past.

At the center of that incident will be a man, or a woman, or a group of people. They will, naturally, be on the “wrong side of the law,” because the laws are now used to enforce political power, and not to protect liberty.

The people at the center of this incident will not be perfect. They will say wrong things, they will hold opinions you will find reprehensible. This has all happened before. The militia on the green at Concord who stood against the Redcoats were on the wrong side of the law, and many of them held opinions you would disagree with. The men who held the Alamo for ten days against Santa Ana and the Mexicans were wrong on the law, and were no doubt mostly racists who spoke poorly and were unenlightened. But they were right to stand against governments that have become wrong.

Like them, at the center of the next incident, there will be people who will not be personally likeable. There will be people who are, in a very real sense, criminals. They will be people who should have done things a different way. But the time will have come – and you will recognize it – when all lovers of liberty will need to stand together to tell their government that it has gone too far, that it must back down, that it must surrender its illegitimate power, and return to its proper boundaries or else face the bloody constraint imposed on it by a free people.

If we let this moment pass because the people at the center offend us somehow, because we mistakenly think that the people at the center of the incident must be wholly right for the government to be at all wrong, if we adopt the notion that for any of us to be free, we must first all be perfectly virtuous, then we risk losing our last opportunity to make our government respect its own lawful boundaries and return to its proper place in our lives.

When that time has passed, we’ll recognize that, too.

-Paul Mitchell

Don't let that moment pass. You'll be scared, unsure and more. But don't let that pass by. As Ronald Reagan said,

"If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth."

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For my friend

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So, the other day a friend tagged me on FB with this article and explained “This is why I left the GOP during the Reagan years.” I understand and sympathize with him, that's when I started becoming politically aware but stayed politically quiet for the same reasons. I don’t know if he followed my suggestion to read my thoughts on Trickle-down economics, but here it is again anyway. The Ultimate Strawman.

Let’s get right to the article in question, What don't most conservatives realize?

First of all, I commend Mr. Kruger for coming to his own conclusions, despite being raised in such a uni-polar household and community. I disagree with his assessments on a core level. Let me explain.

In the 80’s, the Conservatives made a large and fundamental error that has since been corrected. They attached their religious philosophy to their political ideology. This was a case of "I believe in God, therefore everything I think and say is good and proper.” And thus was born the Moral Majority. That backfired on Conservatives, just as the rabid beliefs of Liberals concerning global cooling warming cooling climate change, transgenderism, guns or Trump are alienating huge sections of the American populace from having calm and rational discussions on those subjects and more.

Today, Conservatives on the personal level are returning (unknowingly) to William F. Buckley, Milton Friedman and others. I agree with Mr. Kruger and the philosophy of Buckley, “Let’s take our time and think through all the ways any proposal could backfire.” I think any change to a new (or return to an old) way of doing things should be discussed openly, frankly and sincerely. I am totally against instances where one side hurls epithets to the other or exercises the “Heckler’s Veto” when opposing voices want to speak. Once a method is clear, try it with the intent of doing it more when it works, abandoning it if it doesn’t work. And it shows your bias if you say, “It didn’t work because we didn’t have enough funding or didn’t try hard enough.”

Let’s get on with the point-by-point:

Before I begin, I just want to note that I believe a large part of Mr. Kruger’s anger and resentment might flow from his disdain of his brother-in-law, who’s evidently a Ben Shapiro fan. The BIL has a Shapiro “Liberal Tears” travel mug.

1. You’ve redefined conservatism to mean “reactionary.”

I haven’t seen an original, forward thinking idea out of conservative circles since I was a kid.

Obviously, he hasn’t been reading my blog. ;-)

They don’t see the concept of conservatism as tapping the brakes on the wide-eyed and sometimes overly idealistic utopianism of liberals. They see it as their mission to undo it all. To say not only no, but to actively undermine and dismantle anything done by liberals because it was done by liberals.

“Tapping the brakes” won’t do the job when we’re ready to launch off a cliff like Thelma and Louise. From Common Core math, to mandating Americans purchase overpriced and inadequate government healthcare (and pay for it even if they don’t want it), to out-and-out abolishment of the Second and Fourth Amendments, the list goes on-and-on. These major changes came almost overnight, forced by government and without discussion or heeding the will of the People. You don’t think stopping anything that occurs like that is worth stopping? If a Republican administration started using the power of the Executive branch to mandate the actions of the Press, or a Republican Congress made laws for “reasonable restrictions” on news organizations, I would oppose that just as actively as I oppose what I mentioned earlier.

And the bit about Alan Alda’s “tax cuts” from The West Wing, seriously, do you believe that was anything approaching reality? That was a caricature of a straw man, written and produced by people with openly liberal views, which was performed by an actor who also holds liberal views. Another caricature of a straw man was when in season 5, President Bartlet’s daughter Zoey was kidnapped and he stepped down via the 25th Amendment, leaving the Speaker of the House (John Goodman) as Acting President. His first comment as President? “Let’s blow some shit up.” Bad examples that only proves my point, not his.

I am not for “undoing the 20th Century.” Women’s suffrage, the Civil Rights Acts, the continued elimination of discrimination (not just racial) are all good things. I stand against any act of government, or social more that I believe, when sifted through my core principles, hinders the individual unnecessarily or without justification.

2. You have a nostalgia for that which never really was.

Conservatives love to wax poetic to me about the great halcyon days when America was the shining city on a hill. When the markets and the men were free and liberty flowed in every stream. When the families were nuclear and divorce was rare and people had morals by gum.

[…]

It’s bullshit. It was always bullshit.

Then comes the (semi-rhetorical) question

First and foremost, freedom and prosperity for whom?

Human beings, as part of our physical and mental composition are imperfect. We never get it right the first time, and rarely even through the 25th time we try. There was still racial discrimination, and sexism, and a whole lot more back then. Then we came to a point where things like that became unacceptable and they changed. It doesn’t matter where the first push for change came from, it only matters it happened.

Freedom is a zero-sum game… to the Left. In the past 20 years, they have been systematically expunging any non-Liberal belief from universities across the country. Liberals (the big “L” kind) are acting like they believe that any position on any subject that does not coincide to six decimal points to the Groupthink must be destroyed, even if it’s a fellow Liberal. Just ask Rebecca Tuvel. It’s especially important to take heed of the quote at the end of the article.

Could you lose your job at a higher education institution for saying the conservative thing? Yeah, you could. Guess what? For most of U.S. history, that’s what it was like being a black guy saying something about racial injustice. It’s funny how conservatives didn’t seem to have a problem back then and were enshrining that lack of a freedom into law.

For this, Mr. Kruger is correct. From the 1950’s and before, any Black man who became angry and voiced his displeasure over his treatment would be branded an “Uppity N*****” and have the crap beaten out of him and/or lynched. It started changing in the 60’s and we don’t see that any more, do we, Mr. Kruger?

Today we have college groups like the Young Republicans and the Young America’s Foundation who invite speakers like Ben Shapiro, Andrew Klaven, Allen West, Dinesh D’Souza and more to a campus. The more Leftist campus organizations would hold protests with physical disruption (blocking halls, taking up auditorium seats, yelling during the event, etc.) at a minimum. The more extreme end is the threat of or actual violence, making the damage or security costs prohibitive and the event gets cancelled.

Now I call on anybody to show where this was done by Conservatives against a Liberal speaker. Not just on a university campus, but anywhere.

To get on to his next point:

Ah, all those regulations, you say? You’re mad because you wanted to drain that wet patch on the back 40 for a few extra acres and some gubbmit stooge came around and fined you over it. It’s your property, right?

Yes, it is my property. That’s one of the cornerstones of the United States. I should be able to do with my property as I please. In this case, you have a patch that floods occasionally and you want to build drainage in so you can use it. Then an EPA (who has SWAT teams by the way) inspector declares that occasionally wet patch as “protected migratory bird wetlands” and now you can’t get near it.

I do a lot of work with administrative law. Every regulation is written in blood. They all exist because someone decided to be an asshole and caused damage saying, “Well, it wasn’t illegal!”

I hate to tell Mr. Kruger this, but every regulation is not “written in blood.” I could write a 4,000 word treatise about federal regulations and their unconstitutional impact on citizens, but this article is not that time or place. Here’s one rule not “written in blood.” In the 80’s, The BATF just made up a regulation that “Ammonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant” (APCP for short) was a “low explosive” and they had the power to regulate it. APCP deflagrates, but does not explode. This compound is used as solid rocket fuel and was used in the Space Shuttle’s two SRB’s. It’s the only solid propellant that is “man-rated,” meaning it’s safe enough for people be launched into space on it. BATF didn’t even follow their own rules to determine if this was a Low Explosive or not. This meant citizens interested in high power rocketry had to have licenses, special containers to store and transport APCP, were subject to inspections and more. It took over 20 years and millions of dollars in legal fees to slog through the federal court system to get a judge to vacate that regulation.

I will agree that every safety regulation is written in blood, I’ll give him that. I am naturally distrustful of unelected bureaucrats who write regulations that have criminal penalties attached to them. I don’t care if Congress passes a skeleton bill which includes an “All federal agencies tasked with regulation and enforcement of this law may pass, as they deem necessary, additional regulations.” My elected officials are accountable to me for their actions every so often. If they have angered myself and my fellow citizens enough he's out of a job. I have no such authority over a bureaucrat. So by default, I don't want him to have such power over my life.

The very Framers that conservatives so often revere to me believed in ordered liberty. Not just the famous Jefferson quote about your right to swing your fist ends at my face. They generally agreed that all liberty came with responsibility, and I’ll happily point you towards the writings of John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau that they were directly influenced by regarding that.

The Founding Fathers believed in maximum personal freedom and minimal government interference. They also believed that the laws should be written in such a way as to be understandable while running. I can’t comprehend most bills passed by Congress today sitting down and with six weeks uninterrupted reading time. Open up any volume of the Federal Register and you will quickly understand.

Responsibility is an internal thing. A person who has the moral code to “do the right thing” has that responsibility within himself, to be imposed on him by himself alone. Accountability is the term used to describe the result of the government imposing penalties on a person for violating a law or regulation.

3. You are a lot more racist than you really understand, and your tolerance of open racism in your coalition makes you complicit.

First point here: If I see discrimination of any kind, imposed on any person, I promise you I will be in the asshole’s face like R. Lee Ermey. I’m pretty sure I speak for most Conservatives as well.

On the liberal side of things, we have the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” How condescending do you have to be to believe things like “These Black people can’t do it on their own. They need our help” while actively engaging in malfeasance. Just to be clear, misfeasance is when you see a disabled person in a wheelchair tumble out of it and fall to the ground, and you walk by without helping. Malfeasance is when you give them a swift kick to the head or break their chair while they’re down.

The biggest malfeasance done to Black society was committed by just the simple rule of denying Welfare to a married couple, but giving it to an unmarried mother, the more kids the better. This more than anything (but public schools are a close 2nd) has led to most of the racial divide today. Blacks in the 1940’s had an illegitimacy rate of 14 percent. Today it’s 75%.

4. You have just as much a problem with “identity politics” and “virtue signaling” as liberals, if not more.

Before I get in on this section, Mr. Kruger’s examples are all virtue signaling, no identity politics. I don’t have a problem with virtue signaling, as that falls under the whole “freedom of expression” thing. As far as identity politics goes I do have a problem with that, because when a political party does that, because it means a voter’s skin color or any other externally measurable demographic is more important than the actual thoughts, beliefs or needs of the individual.

Pre-COVID, Trump boasted “the lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks since the numbers were kept.” I don’t see that as identity politics because the unemployment numbers were at historic lows for everybody, not just Blacks or minorities in general. Trump didn’t work to lower just the unemployment for Blacks, he did it for everybody. Contrasted with the Democrat message to Blacks and the elderly, “VOTE FOR US OR ELSE THE REPUBLICANS WILL CUT YOUR BENEFITS!!!!!”

I’ve been told by prominent conservatives on Quora over and over again that they don’t like liberals because of the “identity politics” and “virtue signaling.” The implication of this is that conservatism is purely merit-based and doesn’t play identity politics at all.

This is bullshit. This has all the self-awareness of a dog licking its balls in public.

Conservatives openly complain that the United States should be a theocracy based on Christianity.


Um, not that I’ve heard of since Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority. Get with the times, dude.

The ones that are more subtle about it talk about “religious freedom,” but when it’s time to protect religious freedom for Muslims, they’re dead silent or pushing resolutions to ban Muslims from holding party leadership. (This was an actual caucus proposal at a Republican caucus in Minnesota and it almost passed.) [Note from Mark, this happened in 2018]

Two points on this: First, it DIDN’T pass, so a majority of Republicans involved didn’t like that idea. Second, I’ve looked at several news stories on it. It was introduced at the precinct caucus level (Coon Rapids-Brooklyn Park, find it without Google, I dare you) out of the 4,000+ precincts in Minnesota. So 0.00025% of precincts has a person who liked this idea. If it passed the district caucus, from there it would have had to go through a Congressional district caucus before making it to the state caucus. I can’t find where it was voted down.

Now with any large group (Left and Right) there will be some fringe people. When a supporter of Bernie Sanders shot up the GOP Congressional softball team, I don’t know of any Conservative who blamed anyone other than the shooter for the tragedy. No Conservative tried to say “Bernie told him to do it!” So don’t blame all Minnesota Republicans for the bad actions of a few.

(Just as an aside, Liberals love to blame the NRA for mass shootings, even though none of those mass shooters were NRA members. I’m moderately sure most of the armed citizens who stopped mass shooters mid-rampage are NRA members)

5. You seriously have a problem with corruption and skirting the law.

Really. I am all for equal application of the law. I don’t check for political affiliation at all when it comes to bad actors. The difference between “skirting” and “breaking” the law are just like tax avoidance and tax evasion. In both cases, the former is legal and the latter isn’t.

Tell me, how many major news reports have you seen concerning Tara Reade? If you haven’t seen it, Ms. Reade has accused then-Senator Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993. Just as a comparison, how many reports did you see about a teenage Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulting a girl in the early 80’s? Don’t you think that such a serious accusation against a presidential candidate should get as much, if not more investigative reporting and coverage than a Supreme Court candidate?

As far as two GOP Senators who sold stocks after a meeting and before the market dropped from COVID (Richard Burr, Kelly Loeffler), Burr has asked for an Ethics investigation into his actions and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty (that’s another cornerstone of the United States, just in case you haven’t heard of it).

Then you bring up case after case of Republicans who violated the law, were tried and convicted, removed from their office and sent to prison. Other than a slight mention of the “Caucus Scandal in the early 2000’s,” you don’t bring up any Democrats walking the line.

In fact, you say this:

Over the last 30 years, a stunningly high number of conservative Republicans have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar and ended up with prison sentences compared to their liberal counterparts. If you want to complain that liberals do it just as much, then you have to at least tacitly admit that conservatives are just that much more incompetent at hiding it. [Bold is me]

So you’re tacitly admitting Dems do break the law, but for whatever reason don’t face prosecution. You’re putting better criminals into office than we are. Is that really a boast you want to be proud of?

The first step to solving any problem is to admit you have one. Conservatives, you have a hell of a problem with your own ranks when it comes to law and order.

Yes, we do. We admit it, confront it and send the guilty away. We don't cover it up like a cat does his business in the litter box. Mainstream Republicans disavow racists like the KKK and other groups. Democrats can’t seem to disavow violent Leftist groups like Antifa, Black Lives Matter and more. You might want to start admitting to those problems on your side.

6. Your demonization of intellectuals and science is going to get us all killed.

I’m not demonizing scientists. I can get behind the demonizing of agenda-driven intellectuals who distort and mischaracterize falsehoods meant to goad regular people into advocating for a position based on “sound good” soundbites, rather than “good, sound” facts. Like the whole “97% of climate scientists…” line. Invariably, it’s con jobs like that (big problem, need to act now, no time to think) which result in more power for government and less power for people.

I also have a problem with the NOAA guessing for massive amounts of climate data, or ships at sea being used to collect ocean temperature data (the ships are hot, so they distort the data. That’s kinda important to know), or “proving” global warming using data from a weather station that wasn’t even built at the time.
The rest of it is all poorly-made strawmen. I don’t want polluted air or water for my descendants, nor do I know of anybody that does. The United States is getting cleaner, because we’ve found ways to minimize or reuse byproducts that used to be just dumped. When was the last time you heard of a river catching fire? I also realize that renewable energy technology is not to a technological level that can replace our current infrastructure. I fully support renewable energy that does not negatively impact the environment. It’s just not economically feasible right now. To totally stop or vastly curtail the use of fossil fuels will kill billions from starvation, because the trucks that bring food, medicine and other goods from farm and factory to table will stop running. Forcing the current renewable technology to replace fossil fuels will likewise crash the economy, again leading to mass starvation.

For Conservatives banned from speaking on college campuses, here’s some articles on it. 1 2 3 4 5. Just as a note, when The New Republic and Washington Compost notices and says something about it, it’s probably pretty bad.

And for the record, here’s a video of Ben Shapiro being an asshole as he’s turned away from speaking on campus.

Of course, Mr. Kruger ends his rant with a disclaimer. “You, you’re okay. It’s all of the other assholes saying they’re Conservative that is why I’m ranting over this.”

Mr. Kruger is entitled to his opinion. I’m just showing up with facts.

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The mess in Virginia

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If you'll recall, In January 2020, a new Virginia Legislature was seated, with both Houses of the legislature and the governorship firmly in Democrat control. One of their first legislative actions was to introduce a massive anti-gun agenda. Just in the transition period after election day, because those Democrats were so loud in their anti-gun campaigns, eighty-six out of 95 counties in Virginia (90%) along with over one hundred municipalities declared themselves as "Second Amendment Sanctuaries." Thousands of protesters showed up (armed) to the state capitol on January 20th to protest these laws. In February, the Legislature passed most of them and on April 10th Governor Northam signed these points of that agenda into law:

  • Requiring background checks on all gun sales in Virginia
  • Re-instituting a limit on handgun sales to one a month
  • Increasing penalties for recklessly leaving firearms near children or failing to report a lost or stolen firearm within two days
  • Allowing localities to set their own rules on the presence of firearms in public
  • Prohibiting those subject to a protective order from possessing firearms
  • Creating a "red flag" law that allows law enforcement to temporarily seize a gun from a person deemed to pose a danger to themselves or others

Now let's break these out:

Background checks. Federal law requires Federal Firearm License (FFL) holders, which are gun stores, pawn shops, gunsmiths and individuals who buy and sell 20+ weapons a month, to perform a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) using the information a buyer/seller writes on a BATF Form 4473. Private sales did not require any kind of state or federal involvement in the firearm transfer. Now, private sales must also be done at a gun store, et.al., because citizens do not have access to NICS, only entities like law enforcement and FFL holders.

One-a-month: One of the ways I illustrate how stupid or hypocritical something is is to switch gender roles or the item in question. So if you replace "handgun" with "roll of toilet paper," it sounds beyond ludicrous, right? There you go.

Penalties for being reckless. I have to ask, who would define "reckless"? The government. If I left an (unloaded) firearm near an infant, or near a teenager who is mature about the handling of firearms, I could fall under that "reckless" definition if the prosecutor wanted me in prison. This is also one of those "after the fact" kind of penalties, like where a drunk driver who mows down a group of people is given a speeding ticket, on top of the DUI and counts of vehicular manslaughter.

Reporting stolen firearms. Let's say I'm out of town for a month and my residence is unoccupied during that time. During the second week, someone breaks in, steals my firearms and the next day kills someone with at least one of them. I'm not going to report my guns as stolen until I return in a couple of weeks because I don't know they're gone until I get home. I would be guilty of that "crime" because I didn't report it fast enough. Frankly, if I did report it in their (arbitrary) time frame, that wouldn't have stopped any of the crimes committed with my firearms, so what's the sense of this?

Local control of laws. The state government controls the issuance of things like concealed carry permits, even if they are done on the county level. This is a very stupid idea because if I have a STATE carry permit and I travel from Town A to Town B through Town C and the Town C police arrest me because they have more restrictive laws than A, B or the state, that's just not right.

Protective orders and red-flag laws. This is a total abandonment of due process of law and the concept of "innocent until proven guilty," and the level of abuse will be (and has been) epic. Swatting is similar. If I didn't like someone I knew that owned a firearm, I could take out a restraining order on them, or just called the police and say "Bob is standing outside in his front lawn, naked, with a beer in one hand and a rifle in the other, screaming at the moon." Under this law, the police would come and confiscate Bob's firearms and hold onto them until Bob proves a negative (he wasn't doing what I claimed).

And what's coming will be even worse. This, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is exactly what an overbearing government looks like and the exact reason why the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment to prevent government from doing garbage like this. And now because of COVID-19 and the heightened potential for a general breakdown of civilized society when the supply chain is disrupted or runs dry, the need for citizens to have the ability to defend themselves has never been greater. The best possible tool a person can have in a situation like this is a firearm and the will to use it.

A firearm (and the mental will to use it) is the only effective way a person can defend themselves in SHTF situations. Chuck Norris or Bruce Lee might be able to take on three gang-bangers armed with 2x4's, but I promise without a firearm you can't, especially if you're protecting children or other innocents.

Please, if you have, or intend on acquiring a firearm with the intent of self-defense, please get the training necessary to quickly and accurately operate that weapon, and you know in the deepest parts of your soul that you could kill another person. If you know you can't "drop the hammer," to defend yourself or others, don't buy it. You will not shoot at that critical second, you'll end up dead and the bad guys will have another weapon.

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COVID thoughts: Election delay

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I am hearing about suppositions of "Trump delaying the election" and I thought I would add to the pile.

Any delay of elections for any reason will always be a "never nope" for me. That's not a "slippery slope," that's a cliff that would lead to the Banana Republic "President for Life" kind of crap, I don't care who is in the office. This could have been 1987 in the waning days of Reagan's second term and I would still give an unequivocal "no." However, many of the Leftist Media, who have accused Trump of powers that a) Obama had already usurped and b) powers they now are clamoring he use, are inducing panic by putting forth the supposition that "under what circumstances could Trump delay or suspend the election in November?"

The funniest one I could find said, "the Presidential line of succession would kick in, as Trump and Pence's term expires on 1/20/2021, possibly putting Nancy Pelosi (or another Democrat if they keep the House) as President. Sorry, if there's no presidential election in November, there's no House election either. No election, the entire House leaves office on January 3rd, because that's when their term expires. Now, 35 Senators (33 + 2 mid-term appointments) would also leave office and that would leave 31 D's, 2 Independent's and 30 R's in the Senate (and a Quorum), so there's a chance that a Dem would be the Senate President Pro Tempore on 1/20/2021. But there will be zero to do, as all spending must start in the House, which will be empty.

The second part of this that I'm going to emphatically "Nope Out" of is everyone voting from home, either by mail or over the Internet. Both of these have a 104% of massive fraud. And I would question the validity of the election no matter who won. Trump, Biden, Sanders, even Tom Hanks. I believe and have repeatedly stated there needs to be some effort made by the individual to be able to express their vote at the ballot box. The chances of catching COVID-19 from going through the effort of going to your polling place and voting are almost zero if you take the proper precautions.

I believe the risk is worth it to keep alive a tradition that we have been doing for over 230 years now, which is the peaceful transfer of power every four years as chosen by the people. It is traditions like this that make the term "American" special. The concept that the power flows from the people to the government, not the government to the people is unique in the American State and always has been. I don't what that to change and I will violently oppose any intent to change that.

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Concerned, yes. Panic, I don't think so.

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As I write this on the morning of April 5th, the world-wide total is 1,218,000+ confirmed cases of COVID-19/SARS-2 and 66,542 deaths. In the US, those numbers are 312,250 and 8,503.

I am referring to information in two articles, Coronavirus patients over age 80 have a death rate of 15%. Here's the death rate for every age bracket. And The 2019-nCoV Statistics Are Misleading: Why Everyone Already Knows And Acts Like This. I am also referring to CDC data on the H1N1 Influenza pandemic we had a couple of years ago.

Before I get into numbers, let me tickle your brain with this:

For the 2009-2010 H1N1 “Swine Flu” pandemic, plus from March to November 2014, we had several people appear in the US with the Ebola virus. Thankfully, the Ebola did not turn into a pandemic. In each case, the media took the path of “inform, downplay, do not induce panic.”

COVID-19 is admittedly different. “The Common Cold” is caused by several strains of viruses, namely rhinovirus, coronavirus (other than -19), respiratory syncytial virus, influenza and parainfluenza. The (rightfully) scary part of COVID-19 is that it is contagious before you are symptomatic, which is not usual.

Back in January, the media (and Democrat leaders) were in a “dismiss” mode, telling people to “go to Chinatown, get out and mingle,” and “Trump is a racist for calling this “the Chinese Disease” or whatever. Yet, why are the media in a “panic, upplay, misinform” mode today instead of doing what they did for H1N1 and Ebola? Because by and large the members of the media hate Trump. The media realized in February and March that they can use this crisis as a weapon against Trump to make him unelectable in November.

Do I think this can turn serious? Yes. Do I think it’s time to panic and or respond reflexively? No.

Now we can talk numbers.

For the H1N1, 76% of the fatalities were between 18 and 64. For COVID-19, 80% of the deaths so far are from people who were 65 and older.

If we take the deaths and divide them by the number of confirmed cases, my calculator shows a 2.71% fatality rate. Having a certification as a Project Manager, I am aware of a term used in risk management called “known unknowns.” This means “we know this thing is a risk to the completion of the project, but we don’t know how big the risk actually is.”

The second article uses math to explain a “known unknown” about disease, which is “how many people contracted this disease but recovered without specialized medical treatments”? Basically, if someone got sick, used OTC medications to address the symptoms and got better without seeing a doctor, they would fall into this “known unknown.”

This article came up with an admittedly very loose supposition that for every confirmed case, there’s an average of 4.3 cases that went unconfirmed and unnoticed. But even if that number is 2 undiagnosed cases for every confirmed case, that would change things drastically. In that case, including our known unknown of 2:1, that’s now 8,291 deaths against 917,460 infected, and we now have a death rate of 0.9%. And if we went high on the estimate, say 6:1 known unknowns, that’s 2.14 million infected and that death rate drops to 0.4%.

So here’s what we have to realize, then ask ourselves.

  • COVID-19 is here to stay. Just like the cold, influenza, Conjunctivitis, AIDS/STD’s, we will never be rid of it. An annual vaccine might be developed, but get used to it folks.
  • We really don’t have to change our behavior to keep it under control. What stops the spread of viruses in general are frequent hand-washing and not touching our eyes/nose/mouth/face after we touch potentially infected surfaces. We just have to do it all the time now, not just when we’re symptomatic.
  • COVID-19 disproportionately affects the elderly and those with serious issues, especially respiratory-related conditions.

With those points out on the table, and now knowing what we know about the modality, methodology and fatality profile of this disease, do you think it’s justifiable to shut down the entire United States, or maybe just insulate/isolate those at the highest risk of dying from this?

Looking at the fatality rates, if you’re under 50 with no co-morbid conditions, you have a 1% chance of dying from this, if you even contract it at all. Statistically, you have a higher risk of dying in a vehicle crash commuting to work and home every day.

Knowing all of this, which sounds like the rational choice?

Shut down the entire US economy and everyone self-isolate for the foreseeable future?
-OR-
Get most people back to work, use appropriate anti-viral protocols (hand-washing, no face touching, etc.) and minimize exposure to those most vulnerable to sickness, namely the elderly and those with pulmonary issues.

I’m going to take the reasonable risk and go with the latter.

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I'm in love

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...Ideological love, that is.

Working from home the past couple weeks, I have been listening to a bunch of talking head video channels. I'm all over the spectrum, from Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino to Tim Pool and The Young Turks (in small doses). One channel that popped up in my suggested videos was Dr. Karlyn Borysenko. She was a Liberal life-long Democrat, and having recently come to the epiphany about how crazy the Democrats have become, has done the #WalkAway and is now a liberal (she refuses to give up that political label) and has voiced her intention to vote for Trump in November. Not because she likes him, rather the Democrats can't get their crap together to field a viable candidate and she believes how Trump does things are better for the country than any Democrat.

Dr. Borysenko, who is a "workplace psychologist" for her day job, lost several clients due to her ideological "coming out." That being said, her training services she offers teaches personal responsibility and things like "in the workplace, only you can make yourself happy or unhappy."

The major point I want to put forward here is this: I have written time-and-again on how Liberals who even get a toe off the ideological line will have their leg taken off to the knee. Since her enlightenment, she has paid the price for leaving the Left. The Right welcomes her where she is and how she is. I am sure Karlyn and I could discuss politics all day and find more points of agreement than disagreement. We might have different paths to get to the same goal and that's okay. I can say that with confidence because if the goal is the same but only the paths are different, we can work together and try both paths to see which is better.

The media is replete with examples of where Leftists have a goal, and I don't share that goal. Because I don't share that goal, I, regardless of political affiliation, skin color, sex, gender, racial background or whatever else, must be personally destroyed. Quite frankly, even if I shared that goal, my different path to get there still means I have to be destroyed.

Just as a personal observation, Karlyn's ideological testicles (she has a husband and to my knowledge she's "happily hetero") are bigger than Tim Pool's. They're pretty much in the same part of the political spectrum, but at least Karlyn openly admits it.

Anyway, welcome Karlyn!

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COVID-19 observations

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I have seen many things over the past two weeks, let me detail them to you.

The good things I have seen:

  • Politeness in the midst of the frenzy.
  • People "coming together alone" to try and interrupt the spread of this virus.
  • People realizing that medical personnel, first responders and truckers are more important to them than celebrities.
  • A unity of national purpose I have not seen since 9/11.
  • People realizing that local and state governments can help them faster and better than the federal government could ever do so.
  • School systems at the local level pivoting literally overnight to deliver schooling to kids remotely.
  • Kindness, care and respect freely given to the elderly.
  • A collective awareness that everyone should be a "prepper" to keep their household fed in a crisis like this.

The bad things I have seen:

  • The mainstream media engaging in a level of panic-inducing and fear-mongering that I have never seen before, and they are doing their damnedest to lay the blame on Trump to try and make him defeatable him in November.
  • Leftists clamoring for Trump to take Dictatorial power to "save them," the same powers they have accused him over the last three years of already taking.
  • Politicians engaging in insider trading by using non-public knowledge to protect their own interests.
  • Empty shelves from panic buying, which is unwarranted at this point because the supply chain is intact and will continue to supply everything for another 2-4 months minimum.

The one funny thing I saw was beside the empty supermarket shelves, the gluten-free and vegan sections are untouched.

Through all of this, PLEASE be of good cheer and help others as best as you can. We are all in this together.

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Kicked in the Wallet

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This is too good to pass up

It seems that radical Leftists like Cenk Uygur is all for Unions, until they show up in his company. The Young Turks’ Progressive Founder Urged His Staff Not To Unionize.

First of all, workers generally don’t unionize unless they are part of the original “gig economy” like carpenters, electricians, plumbers, truck drivers, etc. The second reason is the workers believe they are being taken advantage of, like low wages, unsafe working conditions and so on.

So when there was an all staff meeting at The Young Turks on Feb. 12th, the discussion quickly turned to the staffs’ declared intent to form a union. This basically sent TYT’s owner Cenk Uygur into a hissy fit.

Then, two days after Cenk lost his primary bid for a Congressional bid (he came in 4th with 6% of the vote), we get this story: The Young Turks Union Fight Gets Nastier With Charges of Retaliatory Firing, Withholding Raises.

On his first day back in the office after taking his electoral thumping, Cenk fires the employee that has been the most critically vocal to management’s “injustices,” especially when it came to sticking up for his co-workers against management. Then, planned and scheduled pay raises and bonuses were withheld, but only for the employees who were trying to organize. Not for the union, “here’s your raise.” For the union, “sorry we got nuthin’ for you.”

I love it when a Socialist, trying to profit in a free-market Capitalist economy is kicked in the wallet by a cornerstone of the Democrat party.

Being the freedom-loving Conservative I am, I fully support any workers who feel they need to organize for collective bargaining. I’m also all for them striking, or even quitting en masse.

I recently left a job I really liked because of a bad supervisor. Three of six co-workers in my specific team left within the span of six weeks. The other two techs were with the company for 10-15 years. Right before I left, there was talk about unionizing, so I understand what they’re going through.

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12 Strawmen

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Yes, I know this video is almost a year old. First of all, it takes an order of magnitude more effort to refute BS than the effort to create it, second, I've had other things to occupy my time while I have been writing and researching this.

Robert Reiche, economist extraordinaire (just ask him), New York Times columnist and destroyer of nations put out a video in April 2019 which is nothing more than another rapid fire video, full of platitudes, carefully distorted half-truths that sound good and talking points that are totally devoid of any sustenance.

I pulled apart one of his points of his “The 7 Biggest economic lies” video in this post. Here I will tackle all twelve of these.

Before I begin, a couple of points so we have a common ground to work upon. First, Reich attempts to portray “The Rich” like Scrooge McDuck, like this:

scrooge mcduck
In reality, someone like Bill Gates (net worth $90 Billion or more) probably has less than 1% of his wealth in cash, either physical or in a bank. The other 99% of his wealth is in various forms of investments. Stocks, bonds, property and the like. These investments have a variety of degrees of difficulty to turn into cash.
Second, when you own something, it’s worth only what someone else will pay you for it, not what you paid for it. Say I have a house I bought for $100,000 ten years ago. If for whatever reason I try to sell it today and the best offer I could get is $30,000, then the house is worth only $30,000, no matter what me, the county property assessor or the appraiser says. The person who sets the value is the person who is willing to shell out the most cash. Also, the value of things go up and down. As I write this, shares of Microsoft are going for $178.59 and Bill has about 298 million shares, which works out to about $53.2 billion and 3.8% of the total company stock. If Bill did something stupid and caused the stock price to tank to $60, he now only has $17.8 billion in stocks, if he sold them. The same goes for cars, property, collectables and the like.

Third, you become wealthy by having a cash income greater than your expenses over an extended period. If you have $1,000 a week income, but you spend $1,100 a week (rent, utilities, food, other expenses, etc.) you will never become wealthy. If you have that $1,000 a week income, but you only spend $800 and put the remaining $200 into an investment (or even under your mattress), that’s how wealth is acquired.

Here is the video, be ready to be stupefied.


Here are my responses, point-by-point.

Myth 1 – A top marginal tax rate applies to all of a person’s total income or wealth.
I have to admit, he’s right on this point. The US has a regressive “last dollar” marginal tax rate. I’m sure Reich was deliberately correct on the opening point to get you to let your guard down because he “might be reasonable this time.” Fat chance.

Myth 2 - Raising taxes on the rich is a far-left idea.
Look at it this way. Since the establishment of the Sixteenth Amendment (the income tax) in 1913, we have seen five presidents enact some kind of lowering or restructuring of the income tax rates. Those presidents are/were Hoover, Kennedy, Reagan, Bush 43 and Trump. Kennedy proposed the tax cut, but was assassinated before it passed. It happened under Johnson and was considered part of Kennedy’s legacy. All of these tax cuts had success, some better than others. All were/are Republicans except for Kennedy. And while Kennedy was a Democrat, if you were to look at his 1960 stances on race relations, taxes, gun ownership and more, his positions viewed through the political lens of 2020, he could undoubtedly be called a Racist Republican Nazi.

Then Reich quotes an opinion poll showing the support of a general “tax the rich” proposal, including 57% of Republicans. All this tells me is Leftists like Reich have been effective in making the Liberal talking point about having the rich “pay their fair share” sound reasonable.

According to The Tax Foundation, in 2014 the top 1% of US households paid 35% of the total income taxes paid to the federal government.

The 90% top marginal tax rates in the 1950's is correct. But did you know there were less than 50 households out of a total of 60 million at that time which were subject to that tax bracket? That’s 0.00000083% of households.

Myth 3 – A wealth tax is unconstitutional.
Remember, the Constitution is a document that defines and limits the federal government. Property taxes are determined, assessed and collected on the city and county level and have zero to do with the federal government. State sales and income taxes also have nothing to do with the federal government.

Then Reich says, “But THE RICH hold most of their wealth in stocks and bonds, so why should these forms of wealth escape taxation?” This guy claims to be an economist, right?

You have already paid income tax of some kind (federal, state and local) on the money you used to purchase those stocks and bonds. When you sell them at a profit, that’s called INCOME and is taxed as capital gains. The same goes for losses. If you buy stock at $10 and sell it at $5, that’s a loss and can be deducted from any profitable trades you made in that year.

And when Mr. Reich brings up Article I Section 8, he neglects the last half of the clause: “…but all duties, imposts (a tax on imported goods, called tariffs today), and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;” Which means this doesn’t include taxing personal income, or profits from sales. It means a tax on imported goods and it must be equal for the entire country.

The Sixteenth Amendment modified the power of the Congress to lay and collect income taxes and reads thusly:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.


By that Amendment, Congress can tax personal income and set whatever tax rates they want, subject to the normal lawmaking process. Which includes capital gains tax rates.

Myth 4 – When taxes on the rich are cut, they invest more and when taxes on the rich are increased, economic growth slows. (Trickle-down economics)

“The Rich” have two things going for them that regular people don’t: accountants and campaign donations. Accountants practice the art of tax avoidance by structuring a person’s or company’s assets in such a way as to pay the least amount of tax possible. They do this by knowing the rules of the game (tax laws) and taking advantage of every deduction possible.

Campaign donations are really nothing more than an investment, in politicians rather than companies. By “investing” in politicians, the politicians write laws into the tax code that are advantageous to the donors. I don’t like it either, but that’s the reality of our present political system.

I have already spoken at length on “Trickle-Down Economics.”

I found a Pew Research chart that showed between 1981 and 1991, the group with the lowest income did grow by 1%, while the top tier income group grew by 2%. So yes, some people became poorer, but more got richer.

Now Reich brings up a chart saying that average real GDP growth between 1950 and 2010 averaged 2.1% for lower tax rates and 4% when the tax rate is 71% or higher. I verified his numbers, and they are correct. I see statistically equal samplings (18 years for the higher tax rate and 14 for the lower), but I have learned to never trust Bob when it comes to statistics, and I was justified in my distrust. Bob should go into magic, with his mad misdirection skills he’d give David Copperfield a run for his money.

You have to pay attention to what is being compared. Reich is doing the equivalent of comparing the length of women’s skirts in the US to the price of coal in India, i.e., these things are not related. Instead of comparing the whole GDP, why not compare each person’s share of the GDP? Because the population as a whole changes, just like the GDP itself. So I found the data for “Average Real GDP Growth Per Capita” (GDP divided by the number of people in the country), and lo and behold, his GDP growth for the high tax rate drops from 4% to 1.07%, while the number change for the lower taxation increases slightly from 2.1% to 2.33%.

Myth 5 – When you cut taxes on corporations, they invest more and create more jobs.

Reich then explains how corporations took the tax cut and bought back their own stock, keeping the stock price high. This is a shell game, and Reich is not explaining the rules.

The “Market cap” of a company (its price if someone wants to buy it) is determined by the number of shares issued times the share price. So which is a bigger company? One that has 1 million “shares outstanding” and has a share price of $100, or one that has 50,000 shares that trade for $2,000 each? They have the same “market cap” so the companies are considered the same size.

Corporations like to keep their stock price in a certain range to make them attractive to certain types of investors. Wal-Mart keeps its’ share price around $100 a share, while Google/Alphabet’s stock price is over $1,100. If the corporation grows, the stock price goes up (see math above). If the value goes down, same thing.
When the stock price goes out of the target range, the corporations can do several things:

  • Stock split: When the price gets too high, they “stock split.” What was one share becomes two (or three, or four, it depends). With a 2-for-1 split, that single $100 share becomes two $50 shares.
  • Stock merger: This is the opposite of a split. If you have two $50 shares, they become a single $100 share. Don’t ask about odd numbers, I don’t know.
  • Stock buyback: A corporation purchases and keeps shares to reduce the “shares outstanding” and raise/keep the stock price up. This is part of the first rule of economics, the supply and demand curve.

Mr. Reich gives you the impression that this is a “nefarious action.” But if you pay attention to the markets, all three of these are common occurrences.
“Enriching executives and wealthy investors but providing no real benefit to the economy.” This is one of these few times where the phrase “A rising tide lifts all boats” applies. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 shares or 10 million shares, you benefit from a higher stock price (when you sell it) and the associated dividends. So not just “executives and wealthy investors.” All investors benefit.
As a last point, looking at the recent unemployment numbers, the number of unemployed people are at records lows, like “the last 50 years” record lows. That includes Blacks and Hispanics, who historically have had higher unemployment numbers than the general population.

During Obama’s tine in the White House, seeing a business with a “help wanted” sign was an anomaly, on the scale with “hen’s teeth.” As I write this in 2020, you can’t turn around without bumping into a help wanted sign. In such a market, companies have to pay more to gain and keep good workers, so employee pay has been increasing since Trump took office. Yes, the pay of the top 20% of workers is rising, what isn’t reported is the pay for the bottom 20% is increasing more.

What was that again, Bob? I would call this “myth” a reality.

Myth 6 – The rich already pay more than their fair share in taxes.

Reich starts out by saying, “This is misleading because it only talks about income taxes.” Remember, wealth is acquired when your expenses are lower than your income for an extended period of time.

Reich then shows a pie chart with Income Taxes, Payroll Taxes, State Taxes, Local Taxes and Property taxes. Again, are we talking about federal, state or local taxes, or all three combined? He jumps back and forth, hoping to confuse you. Income taxes include those capital gains taxes paid by THE RICH. They file a 1040 like the rest of us and use Schedule D to figure out their Capital Gains (or Loss) and the taxes assessed from that form end up on line 11a on the 1040 form.

Payroll taxes (invented by Milton Friedman) are your tax pre-payments to the government that are taken out of every paycheck. What you paid in payroll taxes during the year is compared to what taxes you actually need to pay when you file. If your payroll tax withholding is too high, you get a big refund check (you gave Uncle Sam an interest-free loan) when you file your taxes. If you didn’t withhold enough from your paycheck, you have to send the difference in to get square.
So, federal, state and local income taxes all fall under that “payroll taxes” umbrella.

And wouldn’t you think THE RICH pay the same rate in property taxes?

In my county, there is a 1.38% tax on the fair market value of a property. A $75,000 house pays $1,035 a year, a $7,500,000 house pays $103,500 a year. Or does Mr. Reich suggest we should go with a regressive property tax system like our income taxes?

Myth 7 – The rich already pay capital gains taxes.

Reich says, “The rich avoid paying capital gains taxes because they pass their wealth on to their heirs.” Then he passes quickly over “unrealized capital gains.”
See paragraph 5 at the top of this article. An “unrealized capital gain” happens no matter if you hold onto it yourself or pass it to your heirs, any profits (or losses) made are counted when you sell the asset. If I used $100,000 of my money to buy an investment and a couple years later it’s appraised for $200,000, if I haven’t sold it, that extra $100,000 is an unrealized capital gain. It is not taxed nor counted as taxable income because I haven’t sold it yet. “Unrealized” is “ghost money” because if I (or the government) think it’s worth $200,000, but I can only sell it for $95,000, then I have a “capital gains loss” (I know that’s confusing).

Myth 8 – The estate tax is a death tax that hits millions of Americans.

I admit it, he’s right on this one. The estate tax doesn’t kick in until you have assets in excess of $11 Million for a single person, $22 Million for a couple, and a minuscule amount of estates are affected.

But you see, my positions on things like this are based on principles, not political ideology or which way the political winds are blowing. Would you want the IRS showing up at the funeral of your parent, their hand out asking for money? Once you realize the size of the estate is irrelevant, the side of the issue to be on becomes easy. Remember, the IRS will collect taxes when the property is sold.

Myth 9 – If taxes are raised on the wealthy, they’ll find ways to evade them. So very little money will be raised.

Now we skirt the edge of Constitutionality here. Reich states “Elizabeth Warrens’ 2% wealth tax will raise about $2.75 Trillion over 10 years.”  First of all, that’s an accounting trick. Let me put it this way, every year, Reich claims this tax would raise $275 Billion, which is about 7% of the annual federal budget. That’s what Leftists have previously called “a rounding error.” It’s also only about 20% if the annual deficit. It doesn’t really matter if you’re overspending by $4 or $5, you’re still overspending.

The Constitutionality of such a tax could be contested under Article I, Section 9, Clause 3 which reads, “No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.”
A bill of attainder is a law that is directed toward a specific person or groups of people. A “wealth tax” that would affect only the top 1% (about 2 million people or 0.00625% of the population) could bump up against this Clause.

A “loophole” is an imperfection in how a law is written or interpreted. Taking advantage of loopholes is called tax avoidance and is legal. Tax evasion is where you falsify documents to pay less taxes (or don’t file or pay them at all) and against the law. Loopholes can be accidental or they can be intentional on the part of the law writer. The more complex the tax laws are, the easier it is to have loopholes. And with the current tax law running over 75,000 pages, that’s a lot of loopholes.
This was one of the reasons for the Flat Tax proposal. There were no deductions, no write-offs, no exemptions, no targeted tax cuts. Line 1, “How much did you make?” Line 2, “Multiply Line 1 by the tax rate.” Line 3, “How much have you paid already?” Line 4, “Subtract Line 3 from Line 2. If positive, send this amount in.”
Then Reich give “for a 70% tax over $10 million” we would raise a whopping $720 billion over the next ten years. Again, per year that works out to $72 billion a year, or about a quarter of Warren’s 2% wealth tax.

Myth 10- The only reason to raise taxes on the wealthy is to collect revenue.

“Help us reduce the national debt?” Really Bob? Really?

Sorry Bob, the only way to reduce the national debt is if the federal government spends less than it raises in tax revenues. Just raising taxes (no spending cuts) is a horrible way to achieve that goal. In 1981, the federal government collected about $505 Billion in taxes and spent $578.8 Billion, leading to a spending deficit of $73.8 Billion. When Reagan left office in 1988, thanks to his tax cuts the government collected $949 billion that year. Thanks to Congress, the 1988 deficit was $155.18 Billion because Congress spent $1.104 Trillion. If Congress had kept spending level (or near to it), we would have been filling in that hole of the national debt instead of digging deeper.

Then Reich spills the beans by saying, “It’s to promote [income] equality and prevent oligarchy.”

So, a small cadre of people who get Political Science degrees in prestigious Universities and immediately enter into government service, then work to rise to positions of power in the federal government and basically dictating what is actually done, not necessarily what the elected leaders tell them to do, how is this not an oligarchy?

And if we confiscate the wealth of "The Rich," then who would have the incentive to start a small business with the intent of becoming wealthy? I mean, you put everything into your business, 80-100 hour work weeks, 3rd mortgage on the house, sell everything but the kids to keep things running until it takes off, then as soon as you become successful and get that big cash flow... the government takes most if not all of it.

Myth 11 – It’s unfair to raise taxes on the wealthy.

Let me put it this way. If you took every dollar, every asset of “The Rich” over $250,000, that would be about $1.5 Trillion dollars. At the current spending rate, that would fund the government from 12:01 January 1st until about April 30th at 8:30pm. There’s 244 days left in the year after we confiscate all the wealth of “The Rich.” And what are we going to do next year? There’s nothing left to take or tax from them. You didn’t shear the sheep and remove its wool, so it could grow more wool, you killed it, harvested its meat and other parts and there is nothing left.

Myth 12 – They earned it. It’s their money!

I just found a whole new level of stupid, and Bob’s his name. He sets up the strawman of Myth 12, then says, “[The Rich] couldn’t maintain their fortunes without what America provides… and a nation that respects private property rights.”

So he plagiarizes Obama’s “You didn’t build it” speech, then says we live in a nation that respects property rights. Literally 82 seconds after Bob is talking about overtaxing “The Rich” to provide “income equality,” he then says, “…a nation that respects private property rights.” This makes my brain hurt. I’ve heard the phrase, “The logic is inescapable” before, for this instance I’m going to have to say, “The logic is inachieveable.” Bob is needing you to have the memory of a goldfish (11 seconds) to swallow his BS.

When we get right down to it, what is money but private property? Money is a measure of the value of my work product. The more valuable my work product is, the more money I get for a given period of time. Doctors are paid more than plumbers because their work product is more valuable.

And there you have it. My article on “What is money?” should enlighten you a bit as well.

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Killing Butterflys

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I am angry that anywhere in the United States there is this attitude to do stuff like this. I cannot attribute it to evil, but there is an extremely twisted agenda at work, and the people who are moving that agenda forward do not care about the bodies and shattered lives left in their wake.

This was inspired by the story of James/Luna Younger, a 7-year-old boy who said, “I’m a girl!” at 3. Since then there has been a parental battle between the dad saying he’s a boy and the mom saying she’s a girl. I’m not choosing sides for or against either parent, my point is if this child goes through with this before they are an adult, the life of this person will be drastically impaired. Physically and emotionally this person will likely be a train wreck in 20 years.

I am angry about the unquestioning belief of a prepubescent child’s statement that they are transgender. Once a child voices this thought to an amenable parent or non-parental adult with authority (doctor, teacher, etc.), then these adults will start the process to dose the child with puberty-blocking drugs and scheduling gender reassignment surgery.

A child goes through a metamorphosis as they grow from child to adult, much like a caterpillar to a butterfly. Those of us who have had teenagers sometimes wish the teenagers would encase themselves in a cocoon until they emerge as adults. It would save us from a lot of yelling, slammed doors, Teen Angst and Boy Bands. 😉

A child is under the authority of an adult because children do not have the capacity of complex thought and how actions now can have consequences for the rest of their life. It’s been proven the rational part of the human brain isn’t fully developed until the mid-20s. When the Brain Starts Adulting. Children are depending on their Amygdala (otherwise known as the “lizard brain”) to react to situations they encounter to keep them alive. It’s all reflex and biological memory. The reasoning part of the brain (pre-frontal cortex) starts developing during the teenage years and finally starts to take full control by the time they are legally adults. The chaos of the “teenage years” is from the fight for control between the amygdala and the pre-frontal cortex. This is why teenagers are rational one moment and reflexive and emotional the next.

When you get right down to it, human beings (on the physical plane) are nothing more than bags of chemicals. These chemicals are used throughout the body to do everything. Clot blood, heal skin, move muscles, be happy, be sad, be in love, regulate organ function and so on. The organs that trigger and control the metamorphosis we call puberty are the sexual organs.

Someone please explain this to me. We have a child, prepubescent or going through puberty. If that child expresses that they want to have chocolate and Pepsi three times a day every day as their entire diet, the parent and society says “NO” because the child can’t see the result of taking such a course of action. On the other hand, if that same child expresses gender dysphoria (biological boy who thinks and believes they are a girl and vice versa), this has to be acted upon immediately, totally and irrevocably.

Would you break into a caterpillar’s cocoon and give it surgery and chemicals to change its’ final form from a butterfly to a moth? So why are we doing it with children?

My personal core belief of “Maximum Personal Freedom” applies here. I have multiple friends and acquaintances who are actively moving from one sex to the other, or have already completed the process and are physically of the sex that matches the sex they are in their head. I don’t understand their struggles and I cannot conceive of what they are going through. But I support them without criticism. I do not judge them for their decision. They are adults, they had access to medical procedures and medications that allowed them to do that. It was their choice and that’s all I got to say about that.

My point is, doing this massive hormonal and surgical intervention when they don’t have the reasoning ability to understand the long-term consequences of their decision, either before or actively experiencing puberty, is a bad idea. This is when their body needs those organs and hormones to grow into their full potential. To alter that process, you’re basically killing butterflies before they have a chance to become one.

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